When Julio Ramos was a teenager, he composed music. And even though he said that the music that he made was not very impressive, there was always an element of storytelling in each song. Little did he know that this attraction to storytelling would allow him to become a successful filmmaker later in his life.
Ramos is a graduate student in the directing program at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT). His film, titled “Â¡Una Carrerita, Doctor! (A Doctor’s Job),” is perhaps his most well-known work. Since its premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in March 2011, it has had at least one screening per week, as it has been screened at 40 film festivals across the world thus far.
It is also a finalist at the Manhattan Short Film Festival, which received 598 entries from 48 Countries. Only 10 of those submissions were chosen as finalists. The festival premieres today and runs until Oct. 2.
Ramos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. He said that when he was in college, he pursued journalism, but decided to drop it and in 2002 moved to the United States to study filmmaking.
When it came to selecting a film program, Ramos said that he chose UCLA over other film schools because of its commitment to storytelling.
“The first thing that attracted me towards UCLA was the emphasis on storytelling, and also the emphasis on the intimacy of these characters in these stories,” Ramos said.
According to Ramos, “A Doctor’s Job” is about a doctor who drives a taxicab as a secondary job, in order to make ends meet. Ramos said that he faced difficulties that he had not encountered before while shooting the film.
“Even though the story seems to be simple, the shoot wasn’t because we found ourselves shooting guns, chasing cars, running around from town to town, and to shantytowns,” Ramos said.
Furthermore, he said that he would not have been able to shoot the film in Los Angeles, given the budget that he had.
Ramos also said that his strong ties to Peru also heavily informed his artistic endeavors, and that it was the most interesting part of his life.
“Everything that I do, honestly, has to do with my Peruvian heritage. That’s the reason why I shot “˜A Doctor’s Job’ in Peru,” Ramos said.
According to Richard Parkin, a fellow graduate student in the directing program at TFT, Ramos has a knack for timing ““ a skill that seems to be tied with the aforementioned investment in music during his teen years.
“He has a pretty extensive background in music, so he’s really familiar with how rhythm works in film and in other time-based (media),” Parkin said. “His stories move at a very exact, precise momentum, and I think that is what engages people.”
Most filmmakers would consider themselves to be artists to some degree. Ramos, however, said he is reluctant to accept that designation.
“It’s very hard for me to call myself an artist in any way, and that’s because I have a lot of support for true art,” Ramos said. “I consider myself to be a storyteller ““I just happen to do it with a camera.”
Ramos said that there is no doubt that filmmaking is what he plans to pursue for the rest of his life. In fact, that ambition is expressed so well that his colleagues have been able to make the same conclusion.
“He’s extremely motivated and decisive with his work. I think that he has a clear idea of what he wants to do, both with his films and his career,” said Phil Klucsarits, the cinematographer for “A Doctor’s Job.”
Though different geographical settings played a large role in Ramos’s films, he said that his cinematic visions really came to fruition in the United States.
“Even though I feel like the stories that I want to tell come from where I come from, it was my experience here in the U.S. that helped me bring it out and find a voice, especially at UCLA,” Ramos said.