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Puerto Rican filmmaker Raúl Marchand makes history with “Fantasy Island”

As if a fantasy were coming true in his life, the Puerto Rican filmmaker Raul Marchand is about to see this Monday, February 13, through the Fox channel, the premiere of the most recent episode of the television series “Fantasy Island”, which he directed and edited.

This is the first time in history that a local director is given the reins of directing an episode of one of the main channels in the United States during peak hours or “prime time.” “The opportunity that the producers and ‘showrunners’ of Fantasy Island have given me to direct and edit my own episode is a very great one that, God willing, can open the door not only for me, but for other local directors to work. in productions that are made here”, expressed the director of films such as “Golden brooch” and “12 hours”.

“In my personal character, I have been looking for an opportunity like this for years. I am used to making movies for Puerto Rico. I have had opportunities to make films in Spain and Santo Domingo, but the opportunity to be able to direct something for an international market is something immense”.

The second season of “Fantasy Island”, starring the Puerto Rican Roselyn Sanchezwas recorded on the island at the beginning of 2022 and it is already rumored that it could have a third season. Currently, all episodes can be seen through the Fox application, as well as Hulu.

“The episode I directed and edited is very interesting, because it’s like the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, where the same day is repeated over and over until a mystery is solved. That makes it very interesting, because I had to be very aware of the continuity of all things.”, explained Marchand, who was also in charge of editing two other episodes of the current season. “Everything has to be exactly the same as the day before. The rhythm, the language, the lighting, camera movements. The truth is that it turned out super well and I am very happy with the final result of the episode.

The first two seasons of the series “Fantasy Island” were recorded in Puerto Rico. (Supplied)

According to the director, for the past few weeks, the “ratings” of the program have been increasing, which is why there is already talk that there could be a third season, something that the filmmaker celebrates, not only because of the economic impact that this season has production for Puerto Rico, but because he could return to direct an episode of “Fantasy Island.” “They already told me that, if a third season comes, they are going to let me direct again. So far I understand that if everything happens they will give me several episodes, not just one “commented the union editor of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, an aspect that he considers important in this profession.

A key piece for the good reception of the series, as well as for its first two seasons having been filmed on the island, has been the actress Roselyn Sánchez. “In addition to being a wonderful actress, Roselyn is a person who gives 200 percent to everything she does. She is the rock that keeps ‘Fantasy Island’ afloat.”Marchand mentioned. “All of us in the local ‘crew’ feel proud and privileged to work with an actress as close as her, in addition to she feels pride in being Puerto Rican that she cannot hide. In fact, I would do anything she asked me to. Personally, I owe a lot to her for all the effort she has put in for me.”

From left to right, Aaron Costa Ganis, Jonathan Bennett, Roselyn Sánchez and Kiara Banks participated in the episode
From left to right, Aaron Costa Ganis, Jonathan Bennett, Roselyn Sánchez and Kiara Banks participated in the “Forever and a Day” episode of the series “Fantasy Island”. (Laura T. Magruder)

The Naughty Daniel movie is on the way

Another Marchand project that is about to see the light of day is the comedy film Naughty danielwhich he started working on two years ago, while the restrictions were still in place due to the pandemic. Starring the influencer, actor and singer Daniel Ruizbetter known as Daniel the Mischievous, this feature film was quite a challenge for Marchand due to the many different elements that he had to maneuver during production.

“The first of the challenges we had was how to adapt a series that Daniel has on YouTube and how to adapt it to a movie format that has a story that grabs the audience. The first thing I proposed was to get out of the house, where the videos for the series are always recorded, and create an adventure with the characters.”, explained the Puerto Rican who was in charge of this project, directing, editing and writing the script together with Ruiz. “The film begins in the house where he has recorded all the ‘shows’, but after the first 10 minutes it becomes an adventure on the beach and in the forest, where there is action, adventure, romance and a lot of surprises” .

In the same way, another detail that went uphill when filming for 18 days in beautiful places in Manatí and Parque Monagas in Bayamón, was having to do it with a single actor, playing eight characters. “The luck we had is that Daniel obviously knows these characters inside out, in addition to the fact that he is a tremendous actor”, detailed the filmmaker. “In addition to that, it was very difficult to frame the camera shots to have all the characters on the screen, interacting and talking. On the other hand, the vast majority of the recording was done outdoors, so looking to record with the same lighting with different characters was uphill, but we managed to do it.”.

According to Marchand, the final product fulfills one of the main goals in making the film: “If you’re a fan of Daniel the Naughty, you’re going to really enjoy it. But, if you’ve never seen anything from Daniel Naughty, you’re going to meet all the characters and you’re going to like them the same way. This is a comedy in which the audience is going to laugh a lot”explained the director.

Despite the fact that the film had already been finished for a few months, the release of the film had been delayed for various reasons, including pandemic restrictions on theaters and the large number of local productions that have been shown in theaters in the past months. However, The month of April is marked on the calendar for the official premiere of the film of Daniel the Naughty. However, this could change in the event of a “sweet” situation.

“The movie is probably supposed to open in April, like Easter, but there’s a chance that the movie will be acquired by a very large streaming service and go straight to streaming.”, added the Puerto Rican without giving clues as to what service it could be. “In my opinion, I think more people are going to see the movie streaming, so that would be a very positive thing.”

Puerto Rican filmmaker Raúl Marchand was in charge of directing the sixth episode of the second season of the series "Fantasy Island".
Puerto Rican filmmaker Raúl Marchand. (Supplied)

Good omen to the film productions on the island

For this respected professional, the local film industry is currently at a point where it has gained momentum and is in a positive rhythm, something that can be seen in the premiere of films such as “La pecera”, “Los mecánicos” and “Backwards”, among others.

“I feel that there is a ‘momentum’ and a trend in the last year where Puerto Rico is going to explode internationally. Recently ‘The Fishbowl’ was presented at the Sundance Festival, a series of Netflixone of Amazon Prime Video and more foreign films will come to be recorded here”said the editor of films such as “American Traitor: The Trail of Axis Sally,” with Al Pacino, and “Primal,” with Nicholas Cage.

“I see the opportunity for other local directors to enter the Union and be part of these international productions as positive. I think it opens doors for many people. In addition, Puerto Rico is definitely a venue with the potential to grow greatly in the coming years,” he said.

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