Written by: Em Tagorda / Interviewed by: Em Tagorda
Photos by: Klarisse Tagorda

With multiple photography projects out and the drive to finally delve into film as another medium of expression and creativity, we finally had time to sit down with The Full Circle Collective’s own Hilario Gilbuena. We talked about the inspiration behind his recent short film, Melt, and the ins and outs of his creative process.

What was your main inspiration behind Melt?

Music. I thought if I ever made a short, these two songs would be the premise of it. “Unf*cktheworld” by Angel Olsen and “Start to Melt” by Peter Bjorn and John were the catalysts that helped bring what I had in my mind into an actual, physical, and visual thing.

Photographer: Klarisse Tagorda / 

Are there any styles that you compare yourself to when it comes to short films? Any directors?

Director wise, I don’t have a straight answer. It’s because I come from more of a photography background, so I try to emulate from my favorite photography. But photographers - off the top of my head - Kyle Thompson, Dan Schultz, and Manny Revawitz. Especially Manny, with the way she lights her photographs, it brings out a certain sincerity and it’s no bullshit.

But this was my first short and it was pretty dark, so I tried to pull inspiration from dark

themed movie photographers. For my next short, [it] would be less dark, but I don’t know

where to pull inspiration from that.

Switching onto you and your creative process, when did you realize that this is something you wanted to do and how did you get to where you are now?

When I was young, I started with art -- mainly painting. So art transcended into music and music into photography. I guess the natural progression from that is film. That’s how I got to where I am now.

What separates film from the previous arts that you were part of?

[I don’t think] it’s separate.They all have one thing in common and it’s the visuality of all those mediums, including music. For me, when I listen to music, there would be visuals running through my head. So when I’d hear a song, I’d see if that would be something that I’d like to bring to my photography or even as an idea to bring to a film project. This way it all sort of loops back together.

So what is the secret behind your creative process?

No creative process. It’s mainly just a loop of inspiration between photography, art, and music. It’s mainly music because it provokes a lot of visual things in my head. So photography and film is [my] way to translate that from music into a visual.

So there’s no specific point where the process starts? No unique catalyst or medium?

Nothing in nature is built in a straight line. It always branches and curves. That’s what I think about all these mediums.

With this being your first short film, how do you feel about it?

Mixed emotions because it’s really easy for me to fall out of love with things. Like with past photography projects, I would get really excited about it and then not like it not too long after that. But the thing with this film, I got excited, it dropped, then came back up as high as it was before. Now, I feel like I’m at a consistent pace with my excitement because of my constant involvement in every aspect of this film project. I’m involved in the color correction, editing, music -- and it’s good for me because that keeps my psyche on the project at a constant pace. But now that it’s done, I’m not looking back and [I’m] more excited for future stuff.

That brings us to the last question. What do you think is to come and what do you have envisioned for yourself?

I definitely want to do more short films, but I would like for it to snowball in a way from the short films into some kind of film that we could possibly feature or submit. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter. There’s no one direction that I’m following. Just as long as I’m producing -- if it’s photography, video, music, art. I actually just bought a couple of paintbrushes to try it out again. To me, as long as I’m exercising the creative part of my brain, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing.

After leaving the interview, the saying,“There are no real rules when it comes to art” took on a whole new meaning for me. Hilario easily persuaded me that art shouldn’t be separated, but celebrated as parts that intertwine with each other for the purpose of creative expression. It was also here that I felt inspired to reach out of the box with my own creative process, because creativity isn’t a straight pathway or a ladder you climb step-by-step, but a non-linear pathway to push you to greater and more rewarding heights as an artist.