THE DIRECTORS STATEMENT
Born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Central Florida, Samuel Gonzalez Jr. showed an interest in film at an early age. Spending most of his youth making home movies with neighborhood friends, Gonzalez never had any doubt about his path to storytelling in film.
After graduating high school and without a way to pay for film school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Immediately following Basic Combat Training, Gonzalez was deployed to Iraq, and was thrown into combat at the forefront of the war. While stationed in Baqubah, Gonzalez endured a horrific, nighttime ambush; which unfortunately resulted in the loss of his best friend. Due to his bravery and sacrifice during the attack, Gonzalez was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with Valor. Despite his loss and hardship, he grew from his experiences and began documenting his day-to-day life with video cameras sent from home.
Following his return to the states, Gonzalez enrolled in the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. While there, Gonzalez developed a unique cinematic identity that caught the eye of revered Hollywood photographer, Matthew Rolston, who shortly after began mentoring him. Consequently, the mentorship led Gonzalez to many new opportunities in film, TV, and music. Notable projects include,“Two Way Street” for Grammy Award Winner, Kimbra (Warner Brother Records) and Doritos Supberbowl Challenge where Gonzalez was nominated for a Nacho Ad award.
Amidst a professional shooting schedule, Gonzalez was able to shoot 22 short films and several commercials. One in particular, Novel, starring James Deen (The Canyons), led him to a Natural Born Artist award for Filmmaker of the Year. Additionally, the film called the attention of Academy Award nominee (Top Gun, The Thin Red Line), Billy Weber. Weber recognized Gonzalez’s cinematic artistry and capacity for storytelling. The partnership recently led to collaboration with acclaimed producer Ed Pressman (American Psycho, The Crow). The three are currently in developing Gonzalez’s Madison Avenue, his personal account of survival during the Iraq War.
Gonzalez graduated from Art Center College of Design in August 2013 and joins other recognizable alumni such as Michael Bay, Zach Snyder, and Tarsem Singh.