Rene S. Duran is a documentary filmmaker who works in television post production in Los Angeles. He was co-producer, cinematographer and writer on STREET DOGS OF SOUTH CENTRAL, a documentary picked up for distribution by Lionsgate and scheduled to air on Animal Planet and the Oprah Winfrey network in 2012. Rene has also worked on television shows such as NANNY 911, HELL’S KITCHEN, THE BACHELOR, BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET, and most recently with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony on Q’VIVA: the chosen. Rene majored in The Studies of Images & Narratives, a special studies major that he designed himself with his advisor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
We wanted you to get a chance to hear more from this talented visionary who shared this film experience as part of the crew as the Director of Photography for The United States of Autism Movie.
Question: Why did you become involved in the US of Autism film project?
Rene: I became involved with the US of Autism because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to capture the stories of families across America who experience autism on a daily basis & share their courage with the rest of the nation.
Having been friends with Rich & Sugey since the college days I was honored when they asked me to join the US of Autism team. I believe in them and was delighted to contribute in the making of the documentary film.
Question: What was the biggest thing you took away from being involved in the project?
Rene: The biggest thing I came away with from working on this project was being able to see the resilience and strength of the families who live with autism. I was inspired by them. They stand as a testament to what is good in humanity. It was such a wonderful experience to be invited into their homes & share their lives with us.
Question: Did you have any knowledge of autism and related conditions before becoming involved?
Rene: My first hand knowledge of autism came from being friends with Rich & Sugey & knowing their autistic son Tommy. My knowledge of autism came from watching Tommy grow up and knowing his story.
Question: What was a “typical” day like on the road with the crew?
Rene: While filming the US of Autism there were typically two types of days that the crew experienced. The first type was shooting days. On these days the crew would rise early in the morning, get ready, and drive to the location. I always looked forward to spending the day with the families.
The second type of day the crew experienced were driving days. We saw many beautiful and breathtaking sunsets as we drove west from Pennsylvania. At every state border the crew would stop and film themselves dancing in front of the state sign. It didn’t matter the time of day or night. The crew was determined to dance across America.
Question: What projects are you working on currently?
Rene: I am currently working as an editor the show Q’VIVA the chosen & am in preproduction on the first of three short films. I will be making fairy tales. The first is set in South Central Los Angels, the second is a love story in the desert, and the third will be shot in Mexico & explore indigenous folklore.
It was a privilege to work with Rene on this project. He played an enormous role in cementing the vision for this project–arduously working alongside Director/Producer Rich Everts. We are excited to share their vision with all of you soon!