A director hides behind his art.It all began with bicycle rides every Tuesday during the summer. He made his way down busy Browns Valley Road, past Westwood Hills, past Connelly Ranch. Veering quickly across the road and through the parking lot, he pulled up to J & P just before 11 am. He smiled and nodded as the clerk opened the door and turned on the lights. He walked over to the “New Release” wall to find something…anything to watch…

Gairo Cuevas loves movies (or is it film? Is film the correct term, or is it movie? I guess it depends on how pretentious someone is, but I digress) and always has…at least as long as I have known him. Maybe he hated movies before then, but I find that highly unlikely. He watches almost anything, both good and bad, and can usually find some redeeming quality about the worst films: “Yeah, that movie was pretty bad, but I can guarantee that the best boy assisted the shit out of setting up lights”. But this speaks worlds to Cuevas’ outlook on both cinema and life alike. He is willing to try something at least once and will usually have a kind word of some sort. Case in point, he and I had a conversation recently in regards to the new “Star Trek” film:

“So, what do you think about the new Star Trek movie coming out”.

“Oh man, that looks terrible. What the hell do they think they’re doing? Why is Kirk riding a motorcycle?”

“Yeah, it looks pretty bad…so do you want to see it with us on Saturday?”


“Yeah we’re all going to go as a group. You should drive into the city to see it with us. It will be fun”

“F*cking no, man! I don’t want to see that. Why would I drive all the way to the city, pay to get into the city, and then pay to see a movie that I don’t want to see at all?”

“Because it would be fun. You know we could just sit and make fun of it the whole time.”

And this is how it goes. Gairo lives and works for the experience, and he applies this experience into his creations. Though Cuevas may have an appreciation for all genres of film, he focuses most heavily upon “Horror” and a mix of drama, romance, and comedy which I have dubbed “Romantic Dramedy”. Actually, I don’t know if I came up with that but what the hell, I’ll claim it anyway. His first run of films (Deadite, Deadite 2, Deadite 1.5, and Deadite 3) paid homage to Sam Raimi and his “Evil Dead” trilogy. While there are a lot of similarities between the sets of demon-possessed-survival-gore movies, Cuevas spins his own creativity behind techniques and philosophies pioneered by Raimi. Next Gairo focused on comedic stylings with a short-lived (one episode) web show “Adjusting” which dealt with taking the next steps in a serious relationship, and internet shorts “Flip-Out-Frenzy” and “Broommate”.

For his first year grad film Gairo wrote, directed, and edited “Unplanned”. This short film was his most serious to date, as its plot revolved around a couple trying to be more adult than they really are, and breaking up because Hayley is pregnant with a baby that isn’t Brendan’s. Cuevas spliced the seriousness with comedy, as the roommates were trapped in the garage watching the whole breakup as it happened. Their running commentary serves to break up the tension of the quarreling couple. While Brendan and Haley honestly work through a real problem, the three roommates represent the varying levels of how someone might react: callously, sympathetically, and ambivalently. Ultimately, “Unplanned” played at the Red Vic Movie House in San Francisco, CA.

Cuevas went back to horror with his short film “The Rising Dead” which won best short horror film (judges’ selection) at Sacramento Horror Film Festival 2008.

Though making movies can be tiring and a lot of work for everyone on the sets, Cuevas makes sure that everyone has a great time. He primarily uses his friends and colleagues on his shoots, and as the hours tick by and the film rolls, Gairo creates a family of cast and crew.

Recently, Gairo shot and edited a music video for the song “Suzie” by the Midwest transplants AB & the Sea. The video will be out in the coming months. Additionally, Gairo just completed the script for his Graduate thesis film and will begin work on it over the next year and a half.

Gairo Cuevas was born in Oregon to Roberto Cuevas and Maria Salinas; he has one brother named Victor. He currently resides in San Francisco, CA. He works closely with his girlfriend/actress/co-producer Bianca Vidal. He is about to finish his second year of the graduate film program at San Francisco State University and really enjoys the show “Friday Night Lights”. He is an all around awesome person. Check him out.

By Ray Fender