We recently spoke with international filmmaker and editor Roy Arwas about his introduction into the film world and what inspired him growing up. He was also happy to share his thoughts on the state of the film industry as well as some wise words for aspiring filmmakers, here’s what he had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and when did you first get into
editing and film production?
My name is Roy Arwas. I was born in Israel, Tel Aviv. I later
moved to London, UK at the age of 12 where I spent most of my time at home
making films with my younger brother for fun and that’s when I found out
the uncontrollable passion I now have for filmmaking as a whole. I
went to college in Los Angeles, from which I also graduated and learned so much.
Having been to these countries has allowed me to see the different styles
of filmmaking, and that has influenced me deeply to try to figure out my
filmmaking style both as an editor as well as a director.
Who were your influences in this industry?
This industry is filled with tremendous talent, and each director and
editor, has shaped my style as a filmmaker. While there are the most
prestigious directors who have influenced me such as Steven Spielberg and
David Fincher. There’s also John Hillcoat, with his films “The Road”, and
“Lawless”, as well as most recently, the upcoming director Ryan Coogler,
with extraordinary films “Fruitvale Station” and his most recent, “Creed”.
What do you remember the most about your first project?
My first project, “Departure”, was a $500 dollar budget film that was
extremely dependent on visual effects, I spent a whole month doing the
visual effects, and while they didn’t turn out to be the most amazing VFX,
I am happy to say that it was the best and most rewarding challenge due to
the feeling of accomplishment I felt, after it. Departure later won an award
at the Firstglance Film Festival in Hollywood.
What has been the biggest achievement so far in your film career?
I would have to say that each and every film I have made was an achievement in itself, despite the unfortunate denials from festivals, each of them has given me a better understanding of film pacing, subtleties, and emotional arcs. One being “Joe”, a dramatic short film that was a six day shoot that took place in a cab and in post I spent hours cutting it down from a 30 minute film into a 16 minute film which was a killer, as most filmmakers call it, I killed my babies. The film was recently shown at the LA Shortsfest and that was certainly a pleasing return to the hard work the team has put into it.
Yet, the biggest and most unexpected achievement I have had in my film career
has to be the most recent film I directed and edited, “Gym Wildlife”. The
reason I say unexpected, is because it was a completely different style than my
usual and it was for youtube, so, to be honest, it is either a hit or
miss. Luckily for us, it was a hit and it has received worldwide
recognition as well as over 15 million views under a week of being released.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
I currently run a production company called Gearmark Pictures (gearmark.tv)
with five other extremely talented people (Guy Iorio, Tony Delgadillo,
Alexander Crews, Alfonso Cano, Chris Barkman), my main role in the company
is to ddit and direct. We have recently started our new project to make 12
short films this year. I will be directing and editing the next one in
February, called “Comrade Crunch”.
What would be your ideal project to work on?
I love to do every type of project, because it poses a new challenge and in
turn, teaches me more about the different styles of filmmaking. But if I
had to label the most ideal project for me, it would have to be a slow
narrative drama that relies heavily on the performances and editing of the
piece. By this, I mean that every single cut, every single beat, must move
the story forward and give us an insight to the inner conflict the
characters may face. The best example I can think of, off the top of my head
would be “12 Years A Slave”, the subtle cuts, and beats, seemed seamless,
and I can’t even imagine the stress, and joy, the editor (Joe Walker
went through making all of those moments fit together like a puzzle.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Hands down, John Hillcoat. He is my idol when it comes to subtle and raw
filmmaking. His work with Lawless and The Road were a big part of my
Are you pleased with the state of the current film industry or do you
think that more quality productions should be out there?
The past couple of years were severely lacking with “ART” when it comes
to filmmaking as it truly relied on making sequels and blockbusters for the
sake of money returns. But I am very pleased to see that the industry is
now accepting more independent filmmakers to come out into the spotlight. So,
I must say that I am very pleased with the state the industry is and will
What would your advice be to aspiring artists/producers?
I found that it can be very hard to keep focus on your goal and it’s as easy as a
blink to lose your focus. So, I could only say that if you want
it, take it, stay persistent, and stay focused, with, or without
motivation. Eventually, you will realize you have reached your goal, and
you’ll want more and nothing will stop you.