It takes a village to make a movie
That’s the lesson Taylor Carmona wants people to learn when they talk about independent filmmaking. The founder and leader of one of the first film studios operating in Corpus Christi, Carmona wants Pomegranate Studios to bring together local filmmakers.
Film hasn’t been a lifelong passion for Carmona, she didn’t even consider film until after her first year at Texas A&M University – Kingsville.
“I started out studying Marine Biology but quickly realized that it wasn’t the science I liked, but rather the people filming the scientists and the ocean life they studied,” Carmona laughed. “I transferred into Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as they were just beginning their film program in 2012; which made us the guinea pigs.”
As far as movies from Corpus Christi, most people think of “Selena,” “Pearl Harbor”, or even, “The Legend of Billie Jean,” but Carmona thinks that Corpus Christi has way more to offer. “We have the beach, a beautiful cityscape, and a rich cultural heritage that has remained mischaracterized,” Carmona said. She believes that these features need to be utilized.
“I want to, ultimately, use my work to educate people on the artistic and cinematic value that our city has,” Carmona said. “It is a film-friendly city, we just need to step up and show people that.”
The Beginnings of Pomegranate Studios
One degree later, Carmona, having become aware of the lack of production industry in the South Texas area, wanted her work to hit the screen and become more than just words. “I thought that making films here wasn’t attainable,” She said. “The film community here wasn’t thriving in 2016 and we have never been the home for innovative artistic creation.”
She wrote four script pitches, all short films, that she had completed after graduating. She then showed them to her colleague Jonathan Swindle, the founder of HRMG, a local media group; who invested in the start of her production company to make the films a reality.
Thus, in 2017, Pomegranate Studios was born with a mission to lay the groundwork for a community of thriving filmmakers and creatives.
“To successfully grow a company in the Coastal Bend, you have a responsibility to support others with your successes,” Swindle said. “That’s why we founded AXOM to create a home around the idea of collaborative growth.”
That said, starting a company doesn’t mean that making a film is any easier.
A Short Film in Production
For the past year, Carmona has been hard at work on her second short film and her most personal to date; entitled, “El Poeta”. The Spanish-language short film comes on a wave of films that seek to capture an authentic look at Mexican-American influenced life.
The film is based on a story her grandfather, Reyes Rivera, told her about from his late adulthood; when he met a locally known poet in a Kingsville bar in the 1960s. For Carmona, a 5th generation Mexican-American, the film showcases an authentic recreation of a story from the life of a Corpus Christi native.
The film has been in production since early 2018 and has tested Carmona in every way possible. Over seven different drafts, a year of pre-production and making the most out of what little she had, Carmona is beginning to see the vision finally come to life.
The film was a challenge for her from the start after she made the decision to film solely in Spanish, a language she doesn’t speak. As luck would strike, a local Del Mar College student, Jamie Garcia, attended an AXOM Foundry event and offered her Spanish language expertise.
Still, as is life, not everything works in your favor. “Something always goes wrong, but I had such a phenomenal crew behind me and they all worked exceptionally well together,” Carmona said.
Pomegranate Studios also partnered with local production company PRODUCE® to further bring the vision of “El Poeta” to life. “Our cast and crew really have been putting everything into this project and you can see it in their performances on screen.”
This is Carmona’s second film after a musical she did in 2017, entitled ‘One for my Baby’, which enthused her passion to produce more creative work. Now, as her second film approaches the end of post-production it begins submissions into the festival circuit. Carmona and her team are also preparing to make the leap into their broader goal of helping foster a growing community with more projects under development.
To learn how you can become involved with productions and support the works of these local creatives, contact Taylor at Taylor@Pomegranate.Productions.