I caught the filmmaking bug in 1995 from my former business partner and collaborator James Lujan of Taos, New Mexico. Together we produced and directed the cult classic High Strange New Mexico, a documentary about the state's UFO subculture. Who knew you could have so much fun tracking down stories of alien encounters, abductions and cattle mutilations? Soon after, we launched Taos Communications Empire from my spare bedroom. Our original plan was to set up shop in Taos after winning the grand prize -- five acres of land overlooking the Taos Gorge -- at the now-defunct Taos Talking Picture Festival. That didn't happen, so we stayed in Albuquerque. I was still working at the Albuquerque Journal at the time, but I knew then that I would eventually make the transition to digital media.
"Filmmakers Oliver Stone and Spike Lee could learn from these two guys. Just present the material
and let it speak for itself."
Elizabeth Rose, Talent in Motion Magazine
Since 1995, I've been privileged to work with talented people from all walks. As one of the creators of Albuquerque's Duke City Shootout, the world's first filmmaking festival, I collaborated with Jim "Grubb" Graebner to organize and oversee one of the most exciting competitions in the world. Participants - selected via a script competition - were offered the chance to shoot, edit and premiere their movies in one week with cast and crews supplied by the festival. I was co-executive producer of 65 short films from 2000 to 2008. Dozens of writers and filmmakers from around the world got their first chance to see their creations go from script to screen, and hundreds more got their first opportunity to work on a real film set. Scores of them are still working in the burgeoning New Mexico film industry, and elsewhere.
"I became a regular attendee of the Duke City Shootout, an astounding array of international indie talent brought in to produce and shoot a film in a week's time…The stamina alone needed to pull off this intense schedule is extraordinary (not only during that crucial week, but during the whole year in preparation for it)
and Tony went above and beyond in every aspect."
Maggie Macnab, designer, educator, author
In 2004, I left the Albuquerque Journal, culminating a 25-year career in journalism, to pursue free-lance work in electronic media and marketing. I'll never forget the the day I was fired from my first marketing job. My boss' reason? "All you ever do is come up with ideas." True story. Less than a day later, while lamenting my fate and impending mortgage payment, I received a call from Michael Kamins, executive producer at the Albuquerque PBS affiliate, KNME-TV. The producer of their weekly public affairs show, "In Focus," was leaving, next week. Would I like to be the new producer? Oh sure. With my extensive lack of experience in TV, it was a no-brainer, right? But Michael convinced me I could do the job. I soon found there is no bigger adrenaline rush, or insomnia-inducing job, than producing a TV show. But I wouldn't trade that experience, or the opportunities I got to produce documentary programs for KNME, for anything.
"From journalism to filmmaking, over the last decade I have been fortunate to work with Tony on a number of different film and media projects. I was especially impressed with the Volcanoes of New Mexico doc he produced for us. A big hit, it was distributed nationally. Tony consistently impresses me with his knowledge, hard work, dedication, and courage. I am a big fan."
Michael Kamins, Executive Producer, KNME-TV
In the fall of 2007, I bumped into a colleague and friend from my days at the Albuquerque Journal, investigative reporter Mike Gallagher. Over coffee, Mike was catching me up on the latest gossip from the newspaper and telling me about his latest exploits reporting on Mexican drug cartels, when he mentioned something about "Mennonite drug dealers." I pushed re-wind on that remark, and long story short, that turned my dabbling in the screenwriting field into flesh and blood scripts. Mike and I have since collaborated on one feature film script about the drug trade, "Dead By Thursday," and "Kachina Roads," a TV pilot set in New Mexico. That led to other work with my friend and writing partner, actor Steven Michael Quezada of the hit TV series "Breaking Bad." Steven and I have written two feature film scripts, one an historical drama set in Las Vegas, NM, and the other a comedy about the marijuana-growing industry in Northern California. Now, the three of us are collaborating on a new TV pilot, "Duke City," and I've just signed up to write the opening monologues for Steven's late night talk show, "The After After Party."
Dead By Thursday is very smartly written. It’s refreshing to read a script like this which defies pigeonholing, but doesn’t give short shrift to any of its respective elements. It’s not a traditional actioner, because it’s thick with drama and character work. It’s not just a character piece, because it’s loaded with guns and locations.
It’s a sprawling, detail-heavy, genre/indie hybrid.
Sean Cardinalli, Camilitary Productions
A new chapter in my career opened in 2008 when I met Dan Latrimurti, a refugee from the corporate world, and his belly dancer wife, Leyla. Dan was trying to promote Leyla's dance instruction via online video and had an idea to use streaming technology to help independent filmmakers. He thought I might be of some help in that regard. Together, we hatched The Filmmakers Channel, an online pay-per-view distribution system aimed at independent filmmakers typically shut out of traditional distribution channels. Due to Dan's absolute and total dedication to the project, (i.e., he works 16-18 hours a day in his home office, only coming out occasionally to go to the store for smokes and pizza) The Filmmakers Channel is poised to take over the online distribution world for indie filmmakers and content producers.
"Tony was, and continues to be, a valuable and integral part of The Filmmakers Channel, and in all our collaborations, I've found him to be exceptionally creative, attentive to details, with a focus on providing quality work on time."
Dan Latrimurti, founder of The Filmmakers Channel
In the fall of 2009, I spent a two-month sojourn in Miyako, Japan. As I prepared to return to Albuquerque, I had no place to live, no work and no prospects. Thanks to some lovely friends, the housing situation was quickly resolved, but I was living off credit cards and reduced to applying for a low-paying and, no doubt, stressful substitute teaching position at Albuquerque Public Schools. In January 2010, one week from starting this dreaded job. Sherri Brueggemann, manager of the City of Albuquerque Public Art Program called and asked if I'd be interested in marketing the program and producing videos about various public art projects. Hallelujah! Touched by an angel, indeed.
"Tony’s professional work with the Albuquerque Public Art program spans almost two decades. His coverage of the program as a writer for the Albuquerque Journal presented the complexities of public art processes in an enlightening and informative way. In the mid-2000’s, Tony developed a highly creative series of marketing and educational outreach strategies for the program. Currently, the Public Art program is benefiting from Tony’s years of experience as he directs and produces public art videos that range from sit-down interviews with creative and academic thinkers to documentaries about artists, public art projects and Albuquerque’s history. Tony’s role as producer/director has brought the Public Art program out of the boring, static ages and into the dynamic world of moving picture storytelling."
Sherri Brueggemann, City of Albuquerque Public Art Program Manager
One of the most satisfying experiences of my life was coordinating a film-making intensive for students at Jimmy Carter and Truman middle schools in the summer of 2010 for a program sponsored by Youth Development Inc., of Albuquerque. The task for me and my fellow instructors? Create a curriculum designed to teach students how to write, act, produce and edit for film, design and build backdrops and shoot photographs. Oh, and create a combination film/play to be staged in just three weeks at the Wool Warehouse theater. The kids at both schools dazzled us with their talent and ingenuity and delivered a couple of excellent presentations. To recall how proud and excited the kids were to show off their creativity to a live audience still brings goosebumps.
"Mr. DellaFlora brings a fresh perspective to reaching youth and a passion and dedication to storytelling, writing, directing and producing high quality films and plays. I consider Tony a consummate professional and would work with him at every opportunity that presented itself."
Chris Baca, president/CEO of Youth Development, Inc.
In 2010, I was invited to help produce an Oscar night fundraiser for the Albuquerque Little Theatre. While walking to a 7-11, I came up with the idea to use that evening to honor New Mexicans in the film industry. With the help of the folks from ALT, I launched the first Luminaria Awards ceremony that year. It was such a hit, I was asked to do it again. In 2011, working with students Harrison Sim and Martin Montano-Pilch from DATA High School, and producer Nancy Baca, we produced short videos to honor each of that year's recipients at the event.
"Tony DellaFlora worked closely with the staff and other volunteers at Albuquerque Little Theatre to create our Luminaria Awards, an event designed to coincide with the annual Academy Awards television presentation. It was a creative means for the theatrical community to honor New Mexico's motion picture industry, which has made such an impact on our city and serve as a fun fundraiser for the theatre as well. Tony's vast knowledge of the movie business, his organizational skills, his writing ability and his creativity helped make this a dynamite event. We could not have done this event with out him, nor would we have wanted to."
Henry Avery, Executive/Artistic Director
Albuquerque Little Theatre