Could you introduce yourself?
I’m Ricardo Bouyett and I’m a filmmaker and photographer based in Chicago, Illinois.
What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?
My life philosophy is being as honest and straightforward as you possibly can. I’m very open and honest about what my work is about, how I got to create the work, as well as my relationship with my work. A lot of the time there’s this wall between artists and audiences and you don’t get to see either the process or who the artists are. Social media has been amazing for breaking that barrier down but it also kind of feels overwhelming. Like we have to keep up the appearance that we’re always inspired, always working, etc. Half the time I don’t like my own work and want to create something better and I’m pretty open about that and I think it just helps ground me, keeps me hungry for the next big project. It’s a journey, you know? Each film or photo series is a stepping stone to a better me.
Could you tell us what you think makes you stand apart in the film industry?
A lot of what I want in my work is for there to be a level of relatability that isn’t distanced by physicality in my characters. Everyone goes through traumatic experiences and I want to show everyone. I’m also emotionally driven, I follow my emotions more than I do my logic and it’s probably the reason why I’ve been serpentining all over the place but it’s who I am and it’s what makes my work this sort of idiosyncratic mess-not-mess of emotional journeys.
What is it about being a filmmaker that has connected with you the most, opposed to other mediums of expression?
The collaborative and team-oriented nature of filmmaking is what I connect with the most. From writing to directing on set I feel alive and the most myself. Getting to bounce off the energy of your actors and your crew (if there even is a crew) is a rush and it makes me want to keep creating more projects.
Could you walk us through the process of your newest film, "No Love For Fuckboys"? How do you feel this project has affected your life and your future work?
NLFFB was shot across three months. There wasn’t a script, just a monologue and it was an opportunity for me to re-introduce myself to Chicago as a filmmaker. I had recently moved back to the city in January and immediately started recruiting cast members for the project. I filmed a majority of it in the apartment I was staying at that was actually three blocks away from where I was raped. The project was a therapeutic practice and it gave me a confidence I had been missing for a while. It helped me grow as a writer especially and not just in spoken-word poetry or in scene direction, but musically as well. I partnered with Steve Matthew Carter on the score and I was as involved as I possibly could be while collaborating with him remotely. I sent him notes and examples and drove him crazy with my ideas and he composed some really beautiful pieces. That kind of partnership is what I loved about this film. Creating the music was just as much of a time commitment for me as writing and directing the film and this is the first time a 19 minute film of mine had original music from start to finish. So I felt like I hit a milestone and it makes me want be as involved in music curation/creation further down the road in my work.
What do you want your audience to feel when they watch your film? What are some themes you want them to question or think about long after they see the credits?
I want them to feel hopeful and like they’re not alone in their journey to find love. I want my audience to leave feeling less afraid of their sexual traumas should they have any. Thematically I want people to question rape culture, to really consider looking further into what consent is and whether or not they’re engaging with their sexual or romantic partners in a healthy manner. Very little things like ghosting someone can really isolate a person and while avoiding creeps is harmless behavior the whole point of the film is to be mindful of the fact that we’re all dealing with heartbreak, love, and some degree of trauma whether romantic, sexual, or personal.
If you could collaborate with any creative individual, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I want to collaborate with either David Fincher or George Lucas. David Fincher because I’m a fan of Fight Club and Gone Girl and really think we could create a mind blowing film together. I’d want to collaborate with George Lucas because Star Wars is my life and I really need there to be a cinematic backstory to Palpatine’s rise to power.
How does your environment in Chicago, Illinois inspire the direction of your work? What specific influences exist in your projects because of where you are?
Environmentally speaking, the lakefront really influences my work. I tend to overuse it in my photo work and I’m about to start using it more in my films now that I’m back. I love water and anything that resembles cleansing the spirit. My experiences in Chicago have been both immensely happy and immensely dark. For the longest time the happier moments have been overshadowed by the abuses I’ve faced while living in the city but as I’m growing older and recovering I’m paying more attention to the good things rather than the bad. Some might say the violence in Chicago influences me, but there’s violence everywhere.
Do you have any rituals you do before you start your creative process for a new project, to get your mind and energy in the right place?
I’ll listen to Florence + The Machine while eating a 5pc mild chicken tender combo with a side of cajun fries and a biscuit. No this isn’t sponsored or a joke, this is literally my process.
Tea or coffee?
I’ll take a Kiwi Strawberry flavored Arizona Iced Tea, thanks.
What’s a typical day for you?
Well a typical day for me would be working 8 hours at my office job and working another 8 hours at home marketing my personal work, writing new work, and editing. I’m constantly working and if I have time off I’ll spend it either at the lakefront, in bed, or out with some friends.
What are some of your goals for 2017?
I want to finish three more short films and get funding for my first feature film project so I can start production on it within the next year. I also want to be able to quit my day job sometime in the near future so I can focus on filmmaking full time..
What makes you happy?
Popeyes, family, friends, and mimosas on the beach.
Any closing comments?
I’m dying to see queer art by queer men that doesn’t revolve around jockstraps and socks