“Investigation 13” is a new movie by Miami-based producer and screenwriter Rolando Vinas applied the skills he learnt in management to produce a new horror film. “Investigation 13” which is set entirely in a facility and starring genre staple Meg Foster, is released in September.
Producer Rolando Vinas recently discussed the film and more via an exclusive interview.
Megan Meehan (MM): Rolando, always wanted to be a filmmaker?
Rolando Vinas (RV): I recall loving movies from an early age, as a child I love movies. I would get dropped off at the local movie theater and 2-3 movies by myself. Growing up I knew I was going to be involved in movies somehow but I was unsure as to what it would be. I even worked at movie theaters, managed them for many years. That’s how much I love movies.
MM: Who gave you your start?
RV: I’d say the seeds were planted in high school when I was introduced to screenwriting by my cinematography teacher, Ms. Herzog. She asked me if I was interested in co-writing a short script with one of my classmates. We wrote the script and it was filmed by the seniors. That short film wound up placing in a state wide competition. We advanced and were given access to shoot a short film at Universal Studios. That was an amazing experience that stuck with me.
MM: What was the first thing you produced?
RV: Investigation 13’ is my first stab at producing. All my years with a background in management helped make the transition to Screenwriter/Producer a natural one.
MM: And you have a production company? Tell me about it?
RV: Our production company is GORILLA STUDIOS MIAMI. Myself and my business partner, Ofer Zosman formed it 6 years ago. Our goal is to produce horror and thriller content in the vein of Blumhouse. Jason Blum is the type of producer I aspire to be.
MM: How is the film industry in Miami?
RV: Some people say the film industry in Miami is on life-support. I prefer to say that it’s in hospice. Ever since the tax credits were not renewed the industry has been decimated. Aside from some commercial and music video productions, film in Miami is practically nonexistent. And it’s a shame because Miami has a lot to offer when it comes to film production. We used to be one of the top choices for studios and networks to film at. Now Miami isn’t even a consideration. It’s all about the bottom line. It’s a business. What can I say?
MM: Do you shoot all of your productions locally?
RV: It would be ideal to shoot productions locally because it’s more convenient for me. But truth be told, as a producer I’d be stupid to not take advantage of tax credits when it comes to future productions. It all boils down to the numbers if where the story takes place. If it makes sense to film in Miami then we will do so. But I’ll tell you what, Florida is making it easy for me to consider going elsewhere to film.
MM: Is there anything in particular about Investigation 13 that is traditionally and exclusively ‘Miami’?
RV: The majority of the movie takes place in the facility. The location itself is in an area of Miami called Wynwood. However, in the film we make it seem as if the facility is located out in the middle of the Everglades.
MM: The Mole Man urban legend… is that a real legend?
RV: The character of the Mole Man, a.k.a. Leonard Craven and the legend are pure fiction. We even had clearance done to vet and make sure that there were no killers by the name of Leonard Craven.
MM: How did you entice the wonderful Meg Foster into the movie?
RV: It was actually very simple. I reached out to her manager, sent the script. She read it and was taken by it. She had a few questions that she needed answered regarding the material. We talked for about an hour about the paranormal and and elements of the script that she found interesting. In the end it was pretty much a seamless process and the role is what got her to say Yes!.
MM: Is there more to the story? Could you see a sequel?
RV: Actually, we want to use this movie as a vehicle to introduce the Leonard Craven character so we can do a spin-off franchise series. And we’d love for Meg Foster to continue to reprise her role as Layla Parish.