The reputation of editor and VFX artist Andres Vergara gets a boost as the documentary film "Stray Dog" continues to receive international acclaim.
Online PR News – 12-March-2015 – Los Angeles, CA – Film editor Andres Vergara has proven once again that his skills in the editing room extend far beyond one genre as the documentary "Stray Dog" gains worldwide attention.
As a film editor and visual effects artist, Andres Vergara has amassed an impressive list of credits over the course of his career. To put it simply, when it comes to selecting the perfect shots and cutting scenes in a way that make a film's story flow with precision, and seamlessly merging visual effects, Vergara is a genius.
While these talents are incredibly important in the production of fiction and non-fiction feature films, documentary films require an editor who can effectively tell the story using unscripted footage alone, an area Vergara thrives in as well.
"Stray Dog" premiered in the U.S. last summer at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it received the Best Documentary Feature Award, and in the UK at the BFI London Film Festival. The film also received the Festival Prize at the 2014 Twin Cities Film Fest, and was nominated for a Golden Eye Award at the 2014 Zurich Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award nomination at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards.
Shot between Branson, Missouri and Mexico City over the course of three years, "Stray Dog" opens viewers to the unique world of Vietnam War veteran Ron "Stray Dog" Hall. A leather clad biker who owns and operates the At Ease RV Park in Southern Missouri, Hall spent years living alone with the exception of his small dog-pack until he married Alicia.
This insightful documentary follows Hall's experience of life after war, and the process of integrating Alicia and her two sons, who recently emigrated from Mexico, into his life.
According to Vergara, "The documentary makes a strong social commentary on American and modern society without the need of explaining or narrating things to you as a viewer."
"Stray Dog" was directed by multi-award winning director Debra Granik who is best known as the director of "Winter's Bone," which garnered a Academy Award nomination in 2011 and starred Jennifer Lawrence.
About working with Granik, Vergara says, "She communicated her vision and ideas in a way that was profound enough for me to understand the core idea of the documentary; this was a fantastic tool to have for such a complicated, almost existential real-world story to be made and still knowing what I was looking for without feeling lost."
The colossal responsibility the film's editors were tasked with becomes painfully clear when considering that the documentary was compiled from footage shot consistently over three years. Not only was Vergara able to sift through and select the perfect shots to tell the story Granik envisioned for the film, but thanks to his fluency in Spanish he was able to tackle the Spanish speaking portions of footage as well.
Granik wrote about Vergara's contributions in a letter of recommendation saying, "Andres identified themes from the footage and selected and edited valuable material that enabled me to “play out” different scenarios of how to present the core vision of Stray Dog’s story within the context of Mexican-American cultural communication, which was crucial for me as a film director…"
Vergara was also an editor on the feature film "Growing Up and Other Lies," which is set to release in U.S. theaters on March 20.
A relatable laugh out loud comedy, "Growing Up and Other Lies" follows a group of guys who, after a long absence, reunite in Manhattan for a day with plans of walking the city from top to bottom in an effort to relive their memories.
Written and directed by Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs, the film stars three-time Teen Choice Award winner Adam Brody, three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner Wyatt Cenac and Josh Lawson.
During filming the directors incorporated the use of improvisational techniques, a risky choice, but one that paid off thanks to the seasoned comedy backgrounds of the lead actors.
As an editor of the film, Vergara says, "It was without a doubt one of the most challenging experiences I've had in a narrative feature. For editorial and post, when having improvisation as the main acting method, "acting ques" are usually very different between takes, lines are different between shots, so it makes it very hard to get smooth continuity right off the bat when putting the story together as you would with the conventional way of shooting a narrative."
Last year the film received an award at the Newport Beach Film Festival and was chosen as an Official Selection of the St. Louis International Film Festival and the Napa Valley Film Festival.
"For me, the film proved once again that through creative editing in film, everything is possible," admits Vergara.
Beyond his abilities as an editor, Andres Vergara's forte as a VFX artist has put him leagues ahead of his contemporaries. He has been called to apply his VFX prowess to several big budget blockbuster films including "The Twilight Sage- Breaking Dawn part 1," "Safe House," "Immortals," "The Thing" and others.
In 2011 he lent his VFX skills to two-time Primetime Emmy nominee Peter Berg's film "Battleship," which was released by Universal Pictures. A military science fiction film, "Battleship" starred Rihanna and Oscar nominee Liam Neeson.
Vergara recalls, "The film involved many intense action scenes between navy fights and Alien spaceship/creatures, so I was responsible for integrating many of the CG Aliens and Robots into the live action footage of the film with a photorealistic look."
A testament to Vergara's talents as a VFX artist, "Battleship" received a nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Film from the Visual Effects Society in 2012.