by JESSICA MacCALL
More than two years ago an Austinite fueled by passion and curiosity packed his suitcase and took his dreams to “The Big Apple.” Today, the 25-year-old Hays High School graduate is busy at work, making movies in the city that never sleeps.
Growing up on the stage, Brandon Polanco received his Bachelors of Fine Arts in performance from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Shortly thereafter the young performer took his talents overseas where he studied European Theatre Performance and Direction at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, London as well as Theatrical Gesture Performance at Real Escuela Superior Arte de Dramatico in Mardrid, Spain according to the City of Austin, Cultural Arts Division.
As Polanco continued to expand his studies in cinema a sharper focus developed.
“Even though I spent my time working in theater, I started to pursue the necessity to create film,” Polanco said.
With no budget and only a small cast and crew, Polanco produced his first film, “Snap Shot,” last summer.
“It was true guerilla filmmaking style where we had a camera, a script, some actors, and we all made it work,” Polanco said.
Working as an assistant director and production manager, Polanco quickly gained a positive reputation, rewarding him with a new support system in the city.
“I pride myself in keeping good relationships with people and instilling trust,” Polanco said.
With his newly acquired support, Polanco got to work on his second film, “Passing By,” this past April.
“I received my lighting equipment for free, and was able to use my resources for different necessities,” Polanco said.
With a small budget just over $2,000 and Anthony Sweeney, executive producer, Polanco’s second film pushed the line between his life and his art.
“It started as a chance to tell a wild New York story; however, it became a rigorous piece of art therapy,” Polanco said.
As Polanco continues to write, direct and produce films in the city, he often returns to his Texas roots for the grounding support of his family.
Polanco said his mother, a math specialist at the University of Texas, has always been a big part of his strength and his father, a football coach for Hays CISD, has always shown him what passion and drive can do.
“They are always a part of every project; from inspiration in writing to telling me to stay strong,” Polanco said.
For the young filmmaker, the biggest challenge is balancing time and finances. Working on sets to make money to pay his bills, while devoting time to his own projects, is a struggle he said he must constantly be careful about.
Polanco, who will return home later this summer for his sister’s wedding, will have his eyes on Hays High School for that next dose of inspiration.
“Every story I write or shoot is created from the world I surround myself with and use as inspiration,” Polanco said.