John Francis began his career as an editor of broadcast television promos and one man band producer of marketing videos. After his short documentary, “The Creation of Torrit Smoke” garnered awards from festivals, and feeling burnt out by the marketing world, he decided to quit his day job and dedicate himself to learning the art and craft of narrative filmmaking. He enrolled in the MFA Film Production program at Florida State University and is currently honing his skills and developing his voice as a Directing student. Portraying honest emotional moments for conflicted characters in moments of crisis, and exploring themes of faith, family, and class are of particular interest.
John Francis’f film, Apalachicola, is playing at the 2015 GI Film Festival.
Where are you from and what is your film background?
I’m originally from Richmond, Virginia. I first became interested in film making in college when I discovered the cinema of the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism. After college I began to work as an editor in television promos in Washington, DC, and then began producing for the web. I recently earned an MFA in Film Production from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts, and have since returned to Washington DC, working as an editor and continuing to write and direct.
Who are your biggest influences in film and why?
My biggest influences in film are Jeff Nichols, Richard Linklater, and Alexander Payne – to me, these filmmakers take places and people that are ordinary on the surface and explore the depth of the desires, conflicts and failures that make us and our community unique and extraordinary.
What was the hardest part about getting this film made?
The hardest part about getting “Apalachicola” made was balancing my responsibilities to family with the intense workload that the film required.
What do you want viewers to take away with them after watching your film?
I want viewers to think about the tension in their own life between work and family responsibilities.
What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?
A fun fact about me – I like to hike in the rain.