Greg is a filmmaker, photographer and video editor from Peekskill, NY. Greg's interest in film began in his third year in college when he took a screenwriting class at SUNY Purchase. After that he would intern that summer at the Digital Arts Experience where a lot of production was conducted. It was from that experience he realized he wanted to go into Film and Video.
Greg would ultimately study Digital Cinema and Filmmaking at Pace University. It was at Pace where he took a course, Producing the Documentary in which he was part of a 15-person crew going into Cuba making a documentary about the U.S. and Cuba opening relations and how the times were changing in the island. Greg was a cinematographer and lead editor on the project titled, Cuba's Crossroads: Hope, Rock and [R]Evolution (2016). The short documentary would screen in multiple film festivals and go on to win many awards including the Gold Award in the Spotlight Documentary Film Awards in 2016.
Our Triumphant Holy Day is Greg's feature film directorial debut. Greg frequently collaborates with Amato Peace making his content including music videos, promos and highlight videos.
Greg has also worked with Double G Sports/In the Zone.io on their web series, Overtime documenting sporting events hosted by many professional teams, athletes and celebrities in the Tri-State Area including, the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter, David Wells, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Palmieri and CC Sabathia.
Greg's other credits include, An Undocumented Immigrant Story: Immigrant Data and 1986 Amnesty -- LifeUNdocumented.org (2018), The Null Hypothesis Prequel Episode 5: Cease and Desist (2019) and Super Team at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital - Super Bowl Ad (2017).
Learn more about Greg and his project: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt19760240/?ref_=nm_knf_t_1
1. Your film is entered in our Best Director Award. What is your
The film is about my journey on a Catholic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Israel and Palestine in January 2020 with 28 other pilgrims from my parish and young adult ministry and how we learn about the stories of Jesus and Salvation History. Throughout the trip we learn about the human side of Jesus and learn the true meanings of faith, suffering and love. This trip led to a deep conversion in my Catholic faith and life that I could never have imagined.
2. What are your ambitions with your project?
My ambitions are to inspire people with the messages behind these biblical stories and show what it means to have faith in something.
3. How was the shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
I’ve done a lot of run and gun filming along with cinema verite throughout my career but this time it was a much more extended version of that as this is my first feature film so it was definitely a challenge but it was really cool to be able to catch so much footage. I was pleasantly surprised by the landscapes I captured, I’ve never seen any as beautiful as the Holy Land and all the action that took place. I had no idea what to expect so everything that happened from the activities we did to the Masses and most especially the Mass in the Tomb of Christ really blew me away. These were big yet humbling experiences, the Mass in the Tomb was huge but it was in a very small place and was quiet. That’s Jesus and our faith in a nutshell.
4. For what target group is your film?
Of course a big target group is Catholics or Christians of any denomination but also anyone of faith and anyone who is specifically interested in the Holy Land. But I aim more for mainstream audiences because I want anyone to be able to get something out of these stories regardless if they practice religion or not, I believe anyone can relate to the stories of Jesus and the Bible.
5. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
I mainly do a lot of documentary style work but I also do music videos and event based videos. I also make some faith based videos as well. This was my first feature documentary and my directorial debut, this is of course cinema verite.
6. Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
In my college years I decided to go into digital arts because I’ve always liked movies, TV shows, video games and graphic arts. As I was journeying into this field, I was taking classes and doing internships related to film and production and I just fell in love with it more and more and that’s what made me want to go specifically into film. When I went to Pace, the film program was in it’s infancy and it was just an amazing program. I had the opportunity to take a documentary course that had us go film in Cuba in 2016. We were there the same time President Obama was visiting the country and reopening relations with Cuba and we got to see the Rolling Stones play their first ever concert in Havana to the tune of half a million people. That experience was unforgettable and really made me appreciate what it takes to make a documentary film. The film program at Pace has grown so much since then and I’m really happy to see that.
7. Who is your greatest role model?
I have a few, Jesus of course is the greatest role model of all but when it comes to filmmaking I would Steven Spielburg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese are a few because of their approach to filmmaking and how they’ve inspired others through their stories. Some other role models I also have are Sylvester Stallone and Mark Wahlburg because they faced enormous odds early in their lives and careers and there seemed to be no hope but they persevered and had their breakthrough. They are some of the most successful actors in Hollywood. Emmanuel Lubezki is also a major influence because of his revolutionary style of cinematography, the moving camera shots he creates and seams together is just indescribable.
Derek Jeter is also a role model I’ve had growing up because he too never quit and was always gracious in his career, he was humble yet confident. He was a true gentlemen as a player and now a Hall of Famer.
8. Which movies are your favorites? Why?
I have quite a few but some of my favorites of all time are Star Wars, Rocky, Lord of the Rings, some of the X-Men movies, Birdman, Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Dark Knight. I’ve always liked fantasy growing up and Star Wars was one of the first franchises I was introduced to at very young age. I just loved the elements of the story and had a lot of fun exploring it’s galaxy through the original trilogy and playing the video games. The music was also another big draw for me. Star Wars is actually very inspiring because of the story of a young farm boy being given the opportunity to become something greater and taking on the fight against the Empire. George Lucas’ journey in making the film was truly an underdog story, many times the film looked like it was doomed from the writing to the production itself but it beat the odds and is now one of the most successful and popular film franchises of all time. Rocky of course is another true underdog story with Sylvester Stallone being a struggling actor writing the script in three days and then creating an amazing film through and through. Rocky getting a shot to face the Heavyweight Champion of the world and going the distance is another story of overcoming odds. All these other films I’ve mentioned pretty much go without saying, the stories are well put together along with the productions themselves
9. Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
There’s a lot of different places I look. Besides looking at films themselves and documentaries, I’ll look at what’s going on around the world and hear about other people’s stories or activities they do through friends, news, social media or other places. Books are also sometimes a source of inspiration.
10. How would you rate current filmmaking?
Current filmmaking has become very unique in recent years. The style of cinematography and camera movement has really evolved. You don’t just see a lot of standard over the shoulder or two shots, there’s a lot more one take moving camera shots as I mentioned before with Emmanuel Lubezki shooting that style in films like Birdman, Gravity and the Revenant. It sets a new standard in filmmaking.
11. What are your next projects?
I’m currently working on a new documentary this time on another pilgrimage to Italy. We went this past October and this story is basically a follow up to Our Triumphant Holy Day where this time we go to the sites where the disciples and the saints evangelized and fully established the church. We learned quite a lot about what they did to spread the faith and how they were converted to the faith. What I’m doing this time however is since I’m a leader now of my young adult ministry, I’m also documenting our activities as a ministry and connecting them to what we learned in Italy. Our Triumphant Holy Day was about Jesus’ story and now this one is about discipleship. I’m also working on a hockey related documentary about a team I played on in Japan. I’m also working on projects with my friend and composer Amato Peace on his music videos and his content.