Posted 3 years 72 days ago ago by Benjamin Zaragoza (DCCD)
Mark and Angela Walley are a husband and wife documentary film-making team. Their collaborative film work has included over 40 short documentaries following the work of contemporary artists and local non-profit arts organizations. The pair is currently in production on their most ambitious film to date, Tia Chuck, a documentary following the life and work of the late artist Chuck Ramirez.
- How did the two of you get into the business of film-making? We have been working on films together since we met in high school in 2003.
After receiving our Associates from Northwest Vista College in 2007, we
transitioned into becoming full-time filmmakers. Our work started out as
experimental and narrative short films, but in 2009 we began producing short
documentaries. We’ve been very fortunate to work in series with non-profit arts
organizations and art galleries which have given us a platform to follow
contemporary visual artists in Texas. Over the past six years we’ve been able
to strike the perfect balance between making a living and producing films we
are passionate about.
- How is it to work with your spouse? Collaborating came naturally to us at the beginning of our relationship, so
we’ve been able to grow together creatively over the past twelve years.
Working together and being married can present challenges, but the benefits
outweigh the costs. We wake up each day and make films together, it’s literally
a dream come true. It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication to our craft, but
when you love doing something and you have someone you love doing it
alongside you, it motivates and inspires you to keep going.
- Is there a film that inspires your work? We've been inspired by hundreds of films we've watched together over these
past twelve years, but if we had to choose a film that was a significant turning
point in our work, it would be “Running Fence” by Albert and David Maysles.
The film is a documentary following artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. We had
the opportunity to see the film at a film festival and we met legendary
documentary filmmaker, Albert Maysles, who spoke of his love for the subjects
he follows. It was an inspiring experience that eventually lead us to start
producing our own documentaries following artists.
- What is your creative process like when working on a film? With short length artist documentaries we approach the subject with the
curiosity of a child. We imagine being our audience - what would we want to
see, what would we need to know to understand the work? We use our
interview with the artist as the foundation of our film and build our visuals to
compliment that story. The process of supplementing our interview presents
unique challenges, but we take all our experiences, from the first film we made
together to the last, to find creative solutions so the audience can gain the
most insight and appreciate the story we’ve chosen to share.
- Do you have another creative outlet besides filmmaking? Film became our medium of choice because of it’s really a multiple disciplinary
format, especially if you work like we do - wearing all the hats. We formed an
art collective in college and made work as visual artists, graphic designers,
musicians, photographers, and filmmakers. In 2008 we realized we were
spreading ourselves too thin and decided to focus on being filmmakers since
we could incorporate all those interests into our work. We still dabble in all
those interests in small side projects, but tend to focus the most on music as
our second favorite creative outlet. Mark writes and records much of the music
we use in our films and we continue to play together and with friends for fun.
- What advice would you give to the next generation students in San Antonio who are
considering film-making? Take every opportunity you’re given or find and make the most out of it. We
would always find a reason to make a film - scholarship contests, online
contests, class projects, as a gift for a family member, just for fun. Practice
your craft as much as you can, but treat it as something you love first. You may
want it to turn into a job or career, but your passion for it will be the most
enjoyable way to learn and get better.
- What would you say is one of the greatest challenges for the local arts community? The challenge for our community is making a good living doing what you love.
That is true for any creative individual, but particularly in San Antonio where the
market for buying art and investing in creative work can be limited. This should
never discourage anyone from pursuing a career in the arts, it’s just a challenge
you’ll have to find a creative solution for. Lucky for you, you’re a creative
- Where would you like to see San Antonio's creative community by the year 2020? We’re already so impressed with the growth of the creative community in San
Antonio. We have been immersed in the visual art community for the past five
years and so much has changed for the better. From now until 2020 we’re
looking forward to continued development which encourages everyone in the
city to participate in and support the arts.