Alonso Mayo spent his childhood traveling back and forth between Lima, Peru and Lawrence, Kansas, spending 6 months at a time in each country. He studied film & journalism in the University of Lima, and after a few years of shooting institutionals for mining and gas companies in remote areas of Peru, he directed the short film “Silencio” (2002), which landed him a spot at the American Film Institute’s Directing Program.
His AFI thesis film, “Wednesday Afternoon”, participated in dozens of international film festivals and won a Student Academy Award. He participated in the 2005 Tribeca All Access Connects program and in the 2007 Film Independent Directors Workshop. In 2008 he directed “Viva La Causa”, a documentary about the early days of Cesar Chavez’s farm worker movement that was short listed for the 2009 Documentary Short Subject Academy Awards.
In 2010 he directed the unscripted web drama “Untitled Fiction Project”. Alonso teaches screenwriting & directing at New York Film Academy, Universal Studios Campus. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and sons.
I was very lucky to have been contacted by Luca Matrundola asking me to watch and review The Story of Luke. He also set up the opportunity for me to have a conversation with Alonso Mayo, the director! Mr. Mayo was nice and very polite. Even when I messed up and got nervous. I liked talking with him.
Here is the interview:
Alonso: My mom made a school for kids with disabilities so I grew up around it.
Maymay: Is the movie based on a real person?
Alonso: Not exactly. Its based on my experiences with Autism.
Maymay: When you made Luke’s family not understand autism, was it to show awareness or was that just how it came out?
Alonso: Hopefully awareness comes out of it, but that wasn’t the main reason. It was based on what I experienced with Autism.
Maymay: I like the way you showed someone with autism and how people treat them. I don’t like how people treat me sometimes and I think when people see it in the movie they will not treat people so bad. You made it seem realistic about how people treat people with autism. They say the “r” word, act mean. I have those experiences and I like that you showed that in your movie.
Alonso: Thank you. (He was talking to me, and I was so interested in listening to him I forgot to write down what he said. I’m sorry.)
Maymay: Do you have a family member that is autistic, or do you know someone that is?
Alonso: No I don’t, but I do know people with autism.
Maymay: How many films have you made?
Alonso: While I’ve made other movies, The Story of Luke is my first feature film.
Maymay: Who was the most fun to work with when you were making the movie?
Alonso: I’d have to say Lou Pucci, the guy who played Luke. He spent time with multiple kids on the spectrum to learn how to play his part, and the different types of autism. Seth Green was hilarious. He’s a really funny guy and a great comedian.
Maymay: I liked that the movie showed people on different ends of the autism spectrum. That made me happy.
Alonso: I wanted to show the different sides to autism. How different people are.
Maymay: Who was your favorite character in the movie?
Alonso: I’d have to say Luke because the story is about him but other than Luke, Aunt Cindy. She showed the most change. The time she spent with Luke changed her behavior towards him.
Maymay: I liked how Cindy changed too. I like that she warmed up to Luke. I didn’t like her yelling at him, and she became a sweeter happier person with Luke.
Maymay: At what age did you realize you wanted to direct a movie?
Alonso: When I was a kid whenever I saw a camera I just wanted to pick it up and play with it. In high school I took a media class. I was 15-16.
Maymay: How long does it take to film a movie? How long did it take you to film The Story of Luke?
Alonso: It really depends on the film. The Story of Luke took us 24 days to film, along with six months of editing and extra stuff that needed to be done.
Maymay: Are you in the process of making any other films? If so, what are they?
Alonso: I am writing one now. I’m working on several. I would like to make some comedies, or dramas.
Maymay: Thank you for letting me interview you for my website. This made me very happy.
Alonso: I’m glad you could interview me. When you get older do you want to be a film critic? Is that something you want to do?
Maymay: Yes that’s what I would like to be.Its what I want to do.
Alonso: Good Luck. Just keep writing. Review a movie a day and you will get there.