MATTE: Looking at your work as a Director and Creative Director, you capture a wide range of diversity in regards to storytelling and creative approach. What intrigues and challenges you the most when it comes to capturing stories? How do you go about deciding to create a film of a story?

IO: I think that the more I look at my work, the more I realize that I'm fascinated by people, places, stories that somehow live on the fringes of society; characters that inhabit an inherent condition of limbo. Whether it's because of their gender orientation (Muxes) or of their social status and wealth (Fabolous James) or their closeness to a specific religion or religious practice.(The 1000 Days, Contra Daemones).

I'm always interested in people that have to deal with their identity in an unusual way, people that live in what are the cracks of the well paved roads of societal conformity. I guess I'm interested in the mythology of identity and how it can be scrutinized through stories of people that bravely embrace living on the fringes.

When I decide to create a film I'm mostly driven by personal curiosity. I guess there's a little bit of me in everyone or in every story I try to tell. I'm trying to understand them and myself at the same time.

MATTE: Do you work with inspirations or references when creating? If so do you have particular artists/directors who inspire you generally or do you source and inspirations based on each single project and subject? Describe your general creative workflow when kicking off a film from beginning to the final cut.

IO: Absolutely. I believe any kind of creative pursuit should start from a very strong foundation of creative research. I think creativity is a dialogue with whatever has happened before you.

I don't believe in approaching things without having the cultural context of what you're trying to do / which creative sandbox you’re trying to play in. Sometimes people that approach things in a candid, ingenious way are successful at it but it’s not the way I operate.

The references are definitely based on the single project and subject. The creative workflow is usually studying the subject itself and then finding references, visual inspiration and narrative guidance from directors or fine artists that approached the same themes. I then use those elements as a roadmap to talk to my crew and creative collaborators and align on what we are trying to do. Some things you like, some things you don't, some things you might want to improve, and for others you might have to come up with solutions. So yeah, I see references as a roadmap to reach the destination, which eventually is the final cut.