“Funny Pains” is a new movie by Jorgy Cruz that was released in May of 2020 by Passion River Films. The film tells of the ups and downs of being a stand-up comic. Director Jorgy Cruz recently spoke about the difficulties of working on films with people who keep making you laugh via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Where’s home for you, Jorgy?
Jorgy Cruz (JC): I have two homes, the Dominican Republic where I was born and Boston where I live now and quickly became my new home.
MM: And is that where you started your career?
JC: I started my career in New York City after I went to film school. I shot my first short films, did some commercial work and started writing my first scripts.
MM: What was the first thing you shot?
JC: Well, the first thing I shot happened when I was around 10 and my dad had a VHS camera, it was huge! we went on a long hike with my cousins and brother and he finally let me use it, I looked through the viewfinder and recorded my family members running down a hill. That was it, I was hooked!
MM: How different is it shooting a documentary like “Funny Pains” to a traditional feature?
JC: You are not in control, it’s very freeing, you just go, listen and pay attention to what’s in front of you. You need to decide when to just be there and when to come in with a question or just an expression in your face that can let your subject know “hey, I’m here”.
MM: It must be hard deciding what to cut?
JC: My first cut was five hours long. You feel so close to every shot, you go back to those moments and do not want to let them go, but I’m very mindful of what we are doing here and that at the end of the day I’m trying to tell this story to a bunch of people I don’t know, so when I get in that state of mind it’s easier to cut stuff out that I love but that does not serve the movie.
MM: Is there a bunch of deleted scenes out there?
JC: I’m very economical when it comes to shooting, in fiction and documentary form, I never end up with hours and hours of unused footage, but in this case, I do have a lot of footage that was not used. You need to leave out things that at the moment may seem funny, powerful, or important, but once you start editing those same moments can confuse or send the wrong message to the audience.
MM: How much laughing was done during the making of the movie?
JC: Some days my jaw hurt! I mean comics are constantly on. Even when Wendi was going through tough times, she would make everyone laugh most of the time.
MM: How did Nikki Glaser get involved in this one?
JC: We reached out to a number of comics through my EP Krystyna Hutchinson, we wanted to talk to the comics directly, I edited a short video about the doc and why I wanted them to be part of it for not a lot of money. Nikki’s case was hilarious, Wendi decided to DM her on Instagram since we didn’t hear back from her when we reached out the first time and she was like “Hell yeah, I’ll be there!” and then there she was! We have a lot of crazy stories like that from this doc.
MM: What are your hopes for the movie?
JC: I want as many eyeballs as possible, I want people to take this wild comedy ride with Wendi, in a world usually dominated by men she along with other women comics are thriving, and I also want the audience to go along on the deep dive that we took about translating tragedy into comedy. Comics give us a lot.
MM: What are your plans for the future?
JC: I already started with my business partner and director of photography, Pablo Minier to shoot a new project. I’m attracted to stories about women in male-dominated worlds, in this case, I took on independent professional wrestlers. These badass women are teaching me a lot about it means to be a woman and I’m here to learn.