Geoffrey Guerrero has earned many well-deserved accolades for his filmmaking. Behind the scenes, he’s also an astute entrepreneur on a mission to open doors for aspiring filmmakers.
In 2012, Geoffrey launched the Katra Film Series to showcase local New York City talent. Today, Katra is a thriving international film festival that offers emerging filmmakers a platform to display their gifts to industry insiders.
Some brilliant independent filmmakers often work in obscurity without ever breaking into the industry. Geoffrey created Katra as a platform to help those filmmakers jumpstart their careers and reach the next level.
For Geoffrey, this is more of a mission than a money-making venture.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that film festivals make a lot of money,” he explains to Inside Brooklyn. “There is a lot of trying to break even.”
The native New Yorker has first-hand experience climbing the ladder of success in the film industry. In 1999, he decided to go to film school. After graduating, Geoffrey worked in TV for a decade before taking the entrepreneurial journey to start his own production company. It made no money for the first few years, but his company steadily gained momentum after the startup stage.
“It was fun. It was exciting. It was risky,” he recalls about taking his entrepreneurial plunge.
Today, Geoffrey is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. His resume includes winning the 2019 Prosperity Nation Award, the Best Short Film “Fruit of the Vine” Award in 2008 at the Vine Shorts Film Festival in Santa Monica, and the Best Short Film “On The Edge” Award at the 2007 HBO New York International Latino Film Festival.
With film festivals popping seemingly everywhere, Geoffrey says this is a great time for indie filmmakers to break into the industry. He offers this advice:
Even though more film festivals are cropping up, Geoffrey has noticed a lack of diversity and longs for more inclusiveness. As Geoffrey and many others have noted, films by women and people of color are not fully represented industrywide.
“We are looking for quality stories from people of color. If it’s good, we’ll screen it. We don’t discriminate against anybody,” Geoffrey says about Katra. “I’m a person of color, and I don’t see enough stories about me growing up.”
To remedy that, he recently launched the Katra Latinx Festival, which empowers and highlights Latino short filmmakers across the globe.