This month SCH had the pleasure of talking with Joaquin Fernandez, filmmaker, director, producer of commercials, documentaries, educational and marketing videos regarding his career, projects and vision for future work.
SCH: Joaquin, our founder and publisher, Erica Galindo is a homeschooler and when she read about your newest film, IndoctriNation, it resonated with her own philosophy and Christian worldview. Tell us about your educational background.
JF: I was born in Miami, but my school years, 1 through 12, were spent in the Dominican Republic where I attended Catholic schools. In college I studied TV, marketing and advertising arts.
SCH: Tell us about the origin of this film; whose idea was it?
JF: I heard an interview with my now co-director Colin Gunn, in which he expressed interest in making a film about public education in America. I was working for a ministry that calls parents to remove their children from the public schools. We spoke briefly after that and the rest is history.
SCH: Have you had opposition during your efforts to distribute the film and, if so, from whom?
JF: Some groups have tried to boycott the film and some on-line news sites, such as Mother Jones have been critical also. Some resistance has come from other Christians who believe that we need a Christian presence in the public schools. But to the latter, after seeing the film and hearing what is actually being done in the public schools, many of those parents have radically changed their minds when they see the content of what is being taught to their innocent children.
SCH: How long did it take to make the film?
JF: It was three years in the making. Colin took his wife and seven home-schooled children on a big yellow school bus, all over America doing a series of interviews and testimonials as to the origins of American compulsory education and its status now.
SCH: What did they find on this journey?
JF: That what we call education is really an organized program to fragment the family, undermine the Church of Jesus Christ and the Great Commission.
SCH: How is the film being accepted over all?
JF: It is a best-seller on some retail sites. You can also get it on our own website (www.indoctrinationmovie.com) and on Amazon.
SCH: How challenging is it to get funding for a Christian film and how is it done?
JF: It is very challenging to even make a living as a documentary filmmaker. You have to start out by funding the first films by yourself and then after some success, many of us get investors.
SCH: What was the budget for your latest project?
JF: It was about $100,000.
SCH: What are some of the most important Christian film festivals?
JF: The most significant one is the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. God willing, we will be there in February with IndoctriNation.
SCH: Joaquin, tell us something about your family. How do you stay motivated in your Christian walk?
JF: My wife is Cuban and we have three daughters and one son. We live in Wake Forest, North Carolina. As to how we stay straight with the Lord, we have daily, family devotions, and immerse ourselves in the Word. Also by the preached Word and seeking to apply it to our lives.
SCH: Our publisher, Erica Galindo, is a gourmet chef and thinks it’s interesting to find out who does the cooking in the family and what is the favorite family meal.
JF: My wife and daughters do most of the cooking; we like homemade pizza, salads, veggies as well as the occasional Cuban food.
SCH: Is there a restaurant in your area you that prefer?
JF: Yes, we love Los Tres Maguayes, named after the cactus.
SCH: What is a fond food memory from your childhood?
JF: In the Dominican Republic, Holy Week is celebrated by sharing casabe and frijoles con dulce with our neighbors as part of tradition. Of course, no one made these like my mother.
SCH: Joaquin, do you have any advice for young filmmakers?
JF: Start by training with an experienced filmmaker. Unless you feel a strong leading in the direction of becoming a filmmaker, run from it. Remember James 3:1 – “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” We have enough filmmakers; we need better husbands, fathers, wives and moms.
SCH: That prompts me to ask the next question. What do you see as your mission?
JF: To glorify God as a husband, father, Christian brother and filmmaker.
For more details about Joaquin Fernandez’s movie, IndoctriNation, check out the Christian Film Database.