2013-11-06 / Features

Local-Express

Dennis Latos
BY NICOLLETTE BARSAMIAN

Dennis Latos’ film, Running Out, was featured in the New York City Greek Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image. His collaborator on the film, Petros Georgiadis, was our Local- Express guest last week.

Latos, 21, is a Greek American film director and editor who has studied film in advanced film workshops through New York University (NYU) and the New York Film Academy and he entered Hofstra on a Presidential Scholarship. But he has been studying the craft for nearly half of his 21 years. He started shooting video on a cellphone camera at age 12 and got his first Sony Handycam camera as a graduation present from his parents.

A former intern on the Wendy Williams Show, Latos was mentored by music video director and

WE OFFER COMPLETE editor Charlie Zwick, who introduced him to editing music videos. He worked on, edited, and assisted on music videos with artists including Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Jadakiss, Machine Gun Kelly, Red Cafe, Fat Trel and Wyclef Jean.


Director/Editor Dennis Latos. 
Photo Sarkis Delimelkon Director/Editor Dennis Latos. Photo Sarkis Delimelkon Latos won a national film competition (first place, finalist) for his short film, Stephen Antonakos, which was screened at the 2011 Gabby Awards on Ellis Island. Another short on Greek values by Latos was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Gabby Awards hosted in Los Angeles.

Latos said he is inspired by the directors Michael Bay, Quentin Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn, and his favorite actors are Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“Filmmaking to me is an expressive medium where I can use my talent to portray an array of emotions and reach out to people on many different levels,” Latos reflected.

NB: How did you two end up working together?

DL: We ended up working together after Petros messaged me on Facebook and told me he had read about me in the NEO Magazine I was featured in. He had also seen my work and was impressed. He mentioned he had a passion for screenwriting and it actually worked out great because I was struggling to find a good and consistent writer at the time.

NB: Why do you make films?

DL: I make films because I like entertaining people. I additionally like to tell people stories that they can apply to their own lives and even walk away from the film with a message or something they learned or took from the film. I like to impact people emotionally. I feel like every film should have an important message it leaves to its audience.

NB: What is the relationship between your past films and your current work?

DL: A lot of past films were very trial and error. They were more comical and at the time, preproduction wasn’t taken into consideration. Again that was because I was young and was beginning to test my craft as a filmmaker.

NB: When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

DL: I realized I wanted to make films at around age 13. I shot my first short mini movie on a cellphone with my brother, Stavro, and my cousin, Zachary, as actors. Ever since then, my passion for filmmaking grew. I started to mature as a filmmaker, and so did the quality of my work.

NB: How important is collaboration within making a film?

DL: There are typically many people involved in production.

NB: How do interpersonal relationships translate into working together to make a film?

DL: Collaboration on filmmaking is the most important thing. Without collaboration and teamwork, in my opinion, making a film is very difficult. It all comes down to having a good team and trusting that team in their respective fields to come together and merge their talents to create a work of art. There are positions that involve more work and are more challenging, but every person working on a film is an important asset. Strong relationships and trust are what you need. You need to trust and believe in your team and they must trust and believe in you. If everyone is prepared and plays their role, a film can get made successfully.

NB: What are your favorite films and why?

DL: I’m very inspired by the directing in the film, Drive, which was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The film is very dark and I like the way it was shot, lit and the way it was scored. I also grew up watching classic films, such as The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson. That film inspired me at a young age and Stanley Kubrick immediately became my role model.

NB: Do you feel that film is the best or most effective medium to work in? What other media have you worked in, and how do they compare?

DL: I feel that film is the most effective medium to work in for me personally. However, I don’t think it’s the only effective medium. I feel that there are other mediums where people can express themselves in different ways. I have also worked a little in TV, when I interned for the Wendy Williams Show. They compare in many of the technical aspects, behind the camera and also in postproduction.

NB: What is the hardest part about making a film?

DL: I don’t think there is specifically a “hardest part”. Everything about making a film is hard. From preproduction, to production, to postproduction. Every piece of filmmaking is a challenge. Personally I would say preproduction and production are the most challenging. preproduction because everything needs to be planned and synchronized so the shoot can go smooth. And production because now it’s time to execute everything that has been in the works for months or even years ahead.

NB: Do you consider your films art?

DL: I consider my films art because a lot of talent and skill needs to be used in order to make them. It’s a very challenging and competitive medium.

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