How many people do you know that are a member of The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, The Los Angeles Film Society, The Austin Film Society, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers? No one that you know? Then let me introduce you to Johnathan de la Luz, a local entrepreneur and veteran of Hollywood who is placing his bets on Austin to rekindle his filmmaking career. He’s the subject on this week’s (extra long) edition of “Austin Creators.”
De la Luz got his start as a film producer in 1989 with “Meet the Hollowheads,” also known as “Life on the Edge.” The film, a comedic sci-fi about a “Jetsons”-like family directed by Thomas R. Burman, the makeup effects artist from “The Goonies,” was fairly well received but ended up landing in obscurity despite featuring then-popular comedian Bobcat Goldthwait and renowned actress Juliette Lewis in a pre-Oscar role.
Around the year 2000, de la Luz formed his own production company called Azisa Pictures. His first production, “The Hunt,” was directed by Fritz Kiersch, better known for his work on “Children of the Corn.” De la Luz also worked on that project with Gray Frederickson, the Oscar-winning producer of “Godfather Part II,” and entrepreneur John Simonelli.
While “The Hunt” wasn’t quite the success they were looking for, de la Luz’s collaboration with these men laid the groundwork for his present-day dealings. He went on to write and direct the studio’s next picture, “Agenda,” before founding his Austin-based production company Luzworks, where he partnered up with Frederickson and Simonelli. Today, de la Luz, as sole producer, is busy completing “Harbinger,” a horror film about a little girl whose nightmares manifest into reality.
Taking advantage of what Texas has to offer, and with an all-Texan cast, “Harbinger” chooses stay home to scare the crap out you. His next film, which is as-yet untitled, will film in Germany.
There’s a lot to digest in de la Luz’s interview below. If you’re a creative professional, soak up what he has to say. Following our conversation, I actually changed my official title at my company, Mocha Latte Productions, because his practical advice just made that much sense. Check out the short cut below, or the full 45-minute interview on YouTube…
Ultimately, Luz’s optimism about his ongoing projects is deeply rooted in the vibrancy of Austin’s creative scene. In a sense, he’s placed a bet that this town can help reignite his filmmaking career. And that sounds like a good bet to me.
Until next time,