We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriel Theis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriel, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Pursuing filmmaking was never a “choice” that I made, it was never an option that I took. It was “the” option, it was the only thing I pursued because it was the only thing that ever felt right for me. Growing up, I was a shy and introverted kid that had a hard time in social environments. So film, and art in general, was my main form of expression. Watching and making films wasn’t something I just did, it was something as natural to me as anything else. So pursuing it as a career was never a choice I made along the way, because there’s nothing else I ever entertained. I was going to be in this industry, no matter what got in the way, how little money there was to it, or how many rejections and harships I would face.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The journey to producing and releasing my debut feature film is one of just sheer willpower. While I had supportive people in my life, I’d faced enough rejection, either from universities or film festivals, to start doubting myself. Again, if I had treated filmmaking as a “choice,” I’m not sure if I would’ve stayed with it. But it wasn’t a choice. It was soemthing I had to do. So, I kept producing short film after short film, getting a little better, making more connections, and discovering my voice with each project. So far, I would describe my style as a blend of genre elements, with a (hopefully) healthy dose of dark humor. My first couple of shorts were straight horror/thrillers, but since I’ve tried to experiment with blending horror tropes with other genre conventions. My short film, “Nitelife,” is a blend between the slasher and superhero genres.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Midtown has my favorite spot in Houston. On one corner alone, you have the Continental Club, Sig’s Lagoon, Natachee’s, and so many other wonderful places. Then I would recommend the EastEnd, where some amazing restaurants and bars have opened up in just the last few years. Rodeo Goat, Vinny’s, and Indianola. And then there’s the classics, like the Moon Tower Inn. Oh, and you have to go to Ninfa’s. Hangout spots would include Axelrad, Bohemio’s, and Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people to thank. Filmmaking is a difficult vocation, and I had a true support system of family, friends, and mentors that guided me along the way. First, there’s of course my parents, who introduced me to the world of film, and continued to support me even though film is not the most lucrative career choice. My father was a film critic for the Houston Press, and my mother helped curate many film screenings while she worked at both the Orange Show and Discovery Green. In fact, my parents met at the premier of Robocop 2, which was filmed here in Houston. I’m grateful to anyone who has worked on my projects, but I have to give a shoutout to my Cinemetographer/Editor Lucio Vasquez, and my lead actor Alec White. We produced my feature film, “The Curse of Professor Zardonicus,” and they dedicated so much time, effort, and skill to get that film produced, despite it’s micro-budget. I also have to thank my mentor Brad Rushing, a cinemetographer and Houston-native whose credits include music videos for Brittney Spears, Moby, and Justin Timberlake. Brad started mentoring me a few years ago, and I can’t imagine where I would be without all the work he’s put into supporting my career. Currently, we’re working to develop a sci-fi/thriller screenplay, along with director Shaun Paul Piccinino. Then, I’d like to thank my girlfriend, Iuliana. She’s so supportive to my career that she worked with me on my early short films. Again, there are so many people to thank that I can’t name them all here. But to anyone who’s ever given me a chance, worked with me, and been there when I needed it, I’m honestly grateful to everyone who’s helped along the way.