BUFF 2024: Exclusive Interview with Last Year’s Best Film Winner, Yamil Nassif-Sanchez

With more categories, more films, workshops, and special guests, BUFF offers opportunities for local talent to shine.

With the 2024 Butte Film Festival (BUFF) just around the corner, The Roadrunner caught up with Yamil Nassif-Sanchez, last year’s Best Film winner, for an exclusive interview. 

Yamil is a recent high school graduate from Inspire and will be attending Butte College in the fall.

The young director is one of our town’s biggest prodigies when it comes to moviemaking, and alongside with filmmaking, he enjoys Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, music, and spending time with his friends and family.

In our interview, Yamil recounted that his journey in filmmaking began with simple Lego stop-motion videos.

Over time, he discovered his passion for directing and cinematography, drawing inspiration from Linus Sandgren’s camerawork in “La La Land” and “Whiplash.”

When asked about directors he admired, he mentioned names such as Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig.

Last year, Yamil won Best Cinematography for his film “Passion” and Best Drama and Best Film for “The Art of Insanity,” co-directed with Wyatt Hervey.

Reflecting on BUFF 2023, Yamil fondly remembers the excitement of seeing his work on the big screen and the surprise of winning multiple awards.

As this year’s BUFF approaches, set to run from December 6 through 8, Yamil is enthusiastic about the festival’s potential. He believes that BUFF provides a fantastic opportunity for local filmmakers to showcase their work and connect with their community.

In our Q&A, Yamil shared insights into his filmmaking journey, experiences at BUFF 2023, and advice for fellow aspiring filmmakers. 

So enough introductions; here’s our very special Q&A with last year’s BUFF winner, Yamil Nassif-Sanchez:

Q: What got you into filmmaking? My first filmmaking experience was with Lego stop-motion videos using an iPod with an app made for stop-motion where I would take pictures of random action scenes and make short, few-second videos. Over time, I realized my passion for directing and cinematography.

Q: What are things that inspire you? When it comes to camera work I draw inspiration from Linus Sandgren’s work in “La La Land” and “Whiplash.”  I’m not sure I have a favorite director, but I really like Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig.

Q: What is your favorite movie? My favorite movie is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Q: What was your favorite part about BUFF 2023? Watching all the films and seeing my work on the big screen was thrilling. It was super cool to know that all of the movies we watched were made by the people sitting around me. Winning awards was a pleasant surprise, validating the effort and passion we put into our projects. 

Q: How did it feel to win the awards?  When we won Best Drama, I had a “Woah, what?” I was for sure surprised.  I had a similar reaction when we won Best Film, but even more happy and shocked. It felt like an amazing personal achievement.

Q: Why should people be excited for BUFF 2024? BUFF 2024 is a fantastic opportunity for local filmmakers to showcase their work and connect with the community. It’s a stepping stone for those aiming for larger festivals like Sundance.

Q: What’s the importance of student film festivals like BUFF?  They provide exposure, skill-building, and community-building opportunities. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and these festivals help connect like-minded individuals.

As BUFF 2024 approaches, the excitement for the festival builds, and we at The Roadrunner are really thankful to Yamil for giving us the opportunity for this exclusive interview.

His insights and experiences highlight just how important the festival is for aspiring filmmakers like him.

If last year’s festival was good, this year’s promises to be even better.

With more categories, more films, workshops, and special guests, BUFF 2024 will offer even greater opportunities for local talent to shine.

 So we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: 

BUFF 2024 promises to be an unmissable event!

Mark your calendars for December 6-8, for Northern California’s best film festival. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting event!

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
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