In his short documentary House of Saints, Gerry Melendez tells the story of a local man and his love of music, as well as his appreciation for the healing it inspires. For more details, read below about the filmmaker local to Columbia.
What is your connection to the South?
I live and work in Columbia, South Carolina. I’ve been here for 12 years.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
I met Reggie while on assignment in his neighborhood. He was playing one of his instruments outside his home and something about him stood out. I ended up getting his contact information and met him later that month. That was almost two years ago. He had such a vast knowledge of Columbia and had wonderful stories to tell about life in the South. Reggie opened up to me after a few more meetings and the story that became the film took shape.
How did you start making films?
I’ve been a professional photographer and visual artist for over 26 years. I transitioned to video about six years ago and started experimenting with short films shortly after that.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Every day was an experience with Reggie. I could have picked numerous stories to focus on about his life. Reggie has an intense connection to jazz great John Coltrane and there was real gratitude on his part after visiting Coltrane’s hometown. We developed a strong bond. Filming the scene where Reggie stands in front of Coltrane’s statue and talks to him was a special moment. It was a reminder that we are all searching for some form of guidance in life.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I can’t wait to talk to other filmmakers and see their work. I’m sure I’ll be inspired and humbled at the same time.
Why should someone see your film?
Reggie (the film’s main character) called the film a love story. I agree. Everyone enjoys a love story, right? Although this one’s a bit unconventional. The film also touches on universal themes of music, faith and family. Finally, we all have a dark side in us and many of us struggle with various aspects of our past. I think viewers will connect to this imperfect yet fascinating man struggle with his past.