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“Former Self”: A Bronx kid does good

December 17, 2014 Written by | No Comments

Remery Camacho, a 20-year-old film student at St. Johns’ University has always had dreams of being a filmmaker. A native of the Bronx, Camacho comes from humble beginnings but has accomplished a lot through hard work and determination.
“I love storytelling; I’ve always loved being told stories and telling them as well,” Camacho says. “Film is just a crazy form of storytelling. All these aspects are working together and they all serve different devices through the storytelling.”
As a film student, Camacho does acknowledge to an extent that one does not need to go to school in order to become a successful filmmaker. “You can learn whatever you want to learn about online or writing; if you want to learn how to write, just keep writing,” he says.
But Camacho also agrees that going to school for film does have its benefits. “Film school is very helpful and necessary if you want to rent equipment and shoot your own stuff.” Studying film has also allowed Camacho to learn more about the camera, lighting and cinematography.
Camacho realized how passionate he was about film through his father. Starting at the age of 10, him and his father would watch films every Saturday night. “He introduced me to movies that I didn’t even know existed, Genres that I would never even bother to enjoy,” he says. “I just thought there was comedy, horror and action. But my dad introduced me to dramas and dark comedies, real stuff about the human condition and very accurate stuff about people and how they act.”
Camacho got to perfect his cinematic skills a bit more when he joined the Ghetto Film School at the age of 17. A non-profit organization in the Bronx, the Ghetto Film School helps young, aspiring filmmakers get a head start in their careers. Camacho was originally put off by the school’s name but later learned that the school actually had immense connections to the film industry. David O. Russell, Spike Jonze and Jason Reitman have all given lectures there.
At the Ghetto Film School is where Camacho directed his first short film, Former Self. “It was a great experience but also very overwhelming to be a 17-year-old and have a camera put in your hands and then being told ‘This is what we expect of you.’”
Camacho made Former Self a family affair by casting his parents and his two best friends in the story about a family man whose criminal past comes back to haunt him. Former Self was inspired by Camacho’s love of crime films directed by the likes of Sidney Lumet and Quentin Tarantino.
Former Self was selected as one of ten films from Camacho’s class to screen at the Walter Reed Theatre at Lincoln Center. The top three short films won a one thousand dollar prize from Google. Camacho’s film was one of them. “I got to get up on stage and give a speech and thank my friends and family. It was such an Oscar moment,” he laughs. “It’s one of my favorite memories ever.”
For the future, Camacho hopes to get an internship as a production assistant on a professional shoot in order to learn in depth the ins and outs of a film set. After college, Camacho plans to write and direct more short films and perhaps have them submitted to film festivals. “I want to make something so good so I can prove myself to others and say ‘Hey, I can make a film, I’m ready. I’ll pitch my idea right now and you’re going to produce it,’ that’s basically where I want to be after college.”

Categories: Films · New York City