The Future According to Hugo Perez

Posted on July 13, 2010

ITVS filmmaker Hugo Perez discussed the making of his latest work, the FUTURESTATES short Seed, with BTB. Watch the entire episode online and browse the site for a creative glimpse into the future. 

What got you interested in the subject matter of SeedI am a lifelong sci-fi geek who has always been interested in the intersection of science and society and how technology, for good and for ill, affects the world. The first time I read about the way that companies wield their GMO (genetically modified organism) seed patents as a bludgeon to force farmers into licensing their product, I was appalled and intrigued. When companies can legally “own” nature, they can control aspects of our lives that we take for granted. So I became interested in extrapolating what could happen in the future based on what was happening today. And seed patents are just the tip of the iceberg. Before this century is over, everyone will be paying premium prices for the water they drink and the air they breathe.

Tell us about some of your past work. Seed is the third narrative short film I've made and the third that I've been fortunate enough to have distributed. My first short, Julieta Y Ramon, was acquired and broadcast by Showtime. After that, my short script Betty La Flaca won the HBO/NYLIFF Short Film Award which provided the funds I needed to make the film, which was then acquired and boaodcast by HBO. I'm currently developing a few feature film projects including Immaculate Conception for which I was awarded a Tribeca Film Institute/Rockefeller Emerging Artist Fellowship, and with which I participated in the Tribeca All Access program and the NALIP Latino Producer's Academy as a Directing Fellow. And I'm also developing a feature-length version of Seed. On the non-fiction side, I recently completed Summer Sun Winter Moon, which was funded for completion by ITVS and aired on PBS last fall. 

How do you feel about working with ITVS? There are very few funders out there that support independent visions in filmmaking. I don't even want to think about how few fingers I would have to use to tally them up. ITVS is really unique not just in their level of support they can provide, but also in terms of the ongoing conversation they have with filmmakers they fund — a dialogue that ultimately makes for stronger films. In the case of Seed, I was overjoyed when I was asked to submit a proposal for the FUTURESTATES series and even more so when I was greenlit for production. As a sci-fi geek, getting funded to make a near-future sci-fi short was very gratifying to me. I mean ... who else is funding sci-fi shorts out there? 

What do you want your viewers to take away from SeedI hope they think "wow that was a cool 15 minutes. I'd like to see more." There is the obvious message that we should be concerned about how much power over our lives we put into the hands of profit-driven corporations. And also the message that we should be wary of the ways in which ideology and propaganda can be packaged as education. Those who control the young, control the future. Hitler knew it. Mao knew it. Right wing, left wing — it's all the same. I worry about what happens when ideologically driven people or groups begin to indoctrinate the young. And I think there is a great deal of indoctrination that takes place not just in totalitarian states around the world, but in the U.S. today. 


From our blog

  1. ITVS Welcomes Brandii Rice as Head of Business and Legal Affairs

    August 10, 2023

    ITVS is pleased to welcome Brandii Rice as our new Head of Business and Legal Affairs. In her role Rice will oversee business and legal affairs across the ITVS brand portfolio. In addition, she will guide licensing and business strategies to support ITVS’ content development, production, distribution and audience development goals. She will join ITVS

  2. Carrie Lozano Will Lead ITVS as President & CEO, Succeeding Sally Jo Fifer

    June 7, 2023

    Carrie Lozano joins ITVS from the Sundance Institute, where she served as director of Documentary Film and Artist Programs, supporting boundary-breaking filmmakers across the globe. At ITVS, she will continue to protect independent artists’ voices, editorial control and copyright while elevating nonfiction storytelling as an essential strategy

  3. Lisa Tawil Joins the International Board of INPUT

    June 1, 2023

    Discover how Lisa Tawil's appointment to the International Board of INPUT strengthens worldwide collaboration in public media.