The Brothers Garcia, Together as One 

Boise brothers keep their filmmaking all in the family

Andrew Garcia was 8 years old when he directed his first film. Using his bedroom as a set and a 1990's-era boombox to provide the score, it was a war film, starring his 4-year-old brother, Nate. Their mother's house plants created the perfect jungle ambiance to set the tone.

When Boise Weekly indicated that we'd really like to see it, Andrew was quick with his response:

"No, you really wouldn't."

The brothers are a lot more experienced in the art of filmmaking now and are, in fact, fresh off winning a number of prizes at this year's i48 short film competition. It was their third time competing and their third time taking home the first-place trophy (this year, they also scored a special Boise Weekly trophy for best in show, presented by BW film critic George Prentice). The brothers said they viewed the i48 competition, where amateur filmmakers have 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a film, as a "return home" to their Treasure Valley roots.

"We always think 'Why do we love this? Why film?' And then i48 answers that," said Nate. "It strips everything away and leaves pure instinct. You're making a movie, you're flying by the seat of your pants, and you hone in on your voice. There's no going back."

Their i48 film, 300, stars Nate as a bowler intent on achieving the perfect score of 300. There's only one line of dialogue in the three-minute movie, and the brothers said it took 15 minutes to write, but five hours to film, something they said is normal for their unorthodox process.

"We aren't actually huge into writing. We get bored," said Andrew. "We approach cinema visually."

Nate quickly added, "A lot of filmmakers get caught up in the script and the story. And they need to focus on just straight cinema. It's a different type of language, one beyond the written word."

In fact, that best describes a conversation with the two brothers: one starts a thought and the other finishes it, not awkwardly but seamlessly transitioning to the next question. They described it as a sort of "mind meld," in that more often than not, they don't even need to verbalize an idea to share an understanding.

In fact, the only bad part of working together, they said, is that their shorthand and synchronicity can make it hard for coworkers to keep up. Often, the Garcia brothers have already internally worked out the first couple of ideas and have moved on to steps three and four while their coworkers are still grasping steps one and two.

"So yes, you can say we like working together," said Andrew. "Separately, we aren't filmmakers. But together we are."

Switching back and forth, in rapid succession, between Star Trek and Star Wars references, the brothers explained that working together meant never dealing with "absolutes." Instead, they said, they stay "fluid and abstract" until they can achieve the perfect direction from one another.

"We usually co-direct," said Andrew. "I'm more on the technical side, while Nate is more tuned in to the performance. So we approach it from two different perspectives."

In June, the Garcia brothers travelled to Los Angeles to attend the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Media Summit, where they were invited to join the association and screen one of their films. They chose Hero, a short film based on their very first i48 submission, expanded from its initial three minutes to a total of 15.

The screening brought the brothers to the attention of NALIP Executive Director Ben Lopez who, according to the brothers, has taken them under his professional wing. That includes helping them get into all-important pitch meetings in and around Hollywood, as well as facilitating their search for funding and distribution for what they hope will be their feature film debut.

Meanwhile, the brothers continue to produce projects for commercial clients through their Nampa-based Ice Cream Entertainment company. For instance, they recently produced high-profile ads for Boise State University and the Idaho State Lottery.

They have big prospects in Los Angeles, but the brothers said it's important for them to continue their involvement in Boise's burgeoning film community.

"I wouldn't say the Boise film 'industry,'" said Andrew. "I'd say 'community.' And the Boise film community is great. There's talent here, there's passion here, and there's enthusiasm here."

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