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Meet Charlene Bagcal of Rema in Glendale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlene Bagcal.

Charlene, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been interested in the arts from a young age. I majored in Fine Art Photography and was an editorial photographer, mainly fashion and music, for nearly a decade before I transitioned into directing. I first started directing fashion films because I already had connections in the fashion industry through my work as a photographer. My strategy was to get exposure this way, in hopes of gaining recognition to begin pursuing other types of commercial work. Fortunately, my fashion films did very well internationally in fashion film festivals and this helped a lot with gaining press. I was also a winner of fashion film competition by SHOWstudio which was a dream come true since I have always been inspired by Nick Knight’s work. I then started working with international brands such as DRESSLAB (Spain) and ended up doing three fashion films for the company.

After a couple of years, I really started to itch to branch out though. My first music video was for the musician, Chelsea Wolfe, for “Flatlands.” Chelsea and I had already been collaborating through photography so I was so excited to capture her via moving image. It was such an amazing experience to combine my love of film and music. I was instantly hooked on directing music videos from this point on.

About a year later, an old friend of mine reached out to me that was the Head of Development at a big studio. She was inquiring about having me pitch a narrative short-form digital series because she was creating a digital division there. I was excited and nervous about the possible prospect because I had never directed narrative film before, only commercial directing. I figured I needed to take the opportunity though because, at this point, I was becoming anxious to branch out of commercial directing and into film. So, I pitched my concept to the studio and they loved it and thus began my introduction into film and television. Since then, I have written and directed twenty short films and currently have three new shorts on the way this year. I begin principal photography on a western thriller tilted, Bury Me Not, that is set in the 1860s beginning in June ’19. I am also in development for my debut feature.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would not say it has been a difficult road but perhaps a long road. I have always worked hard to achieve my goals and maintained my drive to get there, no matter how discouraging this industry can get. I knew that I had to work harder than those around me in order to get noticed and I wasn’t afraid to put in the work.

I am grateful to have had the opportunities to work with all the studios I have. They have always been very supportive of me creatively and genuinely seem excited to add a female Asian filmmaker to their roster. I do know other women of color that have not had much luck in the industry though so I am glad Hollywood is finally trying to make more opportunities. We still have a long way to go but it is nice to finally see some change, slowly but surely.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rema – what should we know?
I am the Co-Founder of creative production company, REMA. We are creative risk takers and collaborators. Our goal is to create innovative, memorable, and fresh ideas to get our clients noticed. REMA are cinephiles who come from a diverse background in graphic design, directing, production design, photography, creative direction, advertising, and cinematography. We specialize in fashion film, music videos, branded content, commercials, film, and photography.

I am most proud of how far my production company has come since we first were established years ago. We have so many exciting new projects in our slate for 2019 from our first docu-series, features, shorts, and features.

What sets our brand apart is that we are not afraid to take creative risks. We are constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries and create meaningful and provocative work that resonates with audiences.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Definitely passion. Without it, I would have given up long ago. Not a day goes by where I am not thinking about some aspect of being a filmmaker. From strengthening my skills, writing, producing more work, watching cinema, getting funds for a project, and etc. If you are not obsessing about what you think you want to do in life every day, you should stop right there and start something new. There will be someone willing to work harder than you to get there so you need to give it your all, never stop learning, and be willing to put in the work.

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