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People Power: An Interview with Hector Eduardo Rivera

Please tell us about the projects you worked on before making ‘People Power’. How did you start, and how did you learn to make animation?

This is my first time producing and directing a Full Feature Musical Animated film. I am a music writer/producer and have worked with animators in the past creating animated music videos for songs I have written/produced/recorded. I am not an animator per se but I oversaw the production and direction of People Power. I worked closely with Danielle Hébert, who illustrated and animated the film. Danielle is an accomplished musician and writer, as well as a sculptor, painter and graphic artist.


Tell us about ‘People Power’. How do you describe it?

People Power is an animated musical saga that tells a story about common people living in a world where intolerance and division, fostered by social and ideological differences, are rampant. People from different backgrounds and with different views meet each other. Through open communication and a series of events, they discover that they agree on more than they ever thought they might. Together they work towards making this a better world for us all and to help end global wars and division, showing that it is possible to find common ground through empathy and communication. The healing starts at a personal level and it propagates to the collective. People Power addresses some of the polarizing issues facing global society nowadays, from Economic Struggle to Immigration, LGBT and other ideological differences that result in the ultimate consequence: War. People Power offers a positive outlook on the possibility to find solutions that lead to harmony and peace.

People Power was originally conceived as a music album which I wrote with band co-founder Mona Seda. The music was arranged and recorded by our band: No Matter What! The completion of the album took several years as it was entirely self-produced on a shoe-string budget, while simultaneously working unrelated full-time jobs to pay day-to-day living expenses.

The music album morphed into a Concept Album when I created a story that would be told with the aid of the songs we wrote. During that process, Danielle made illustrations and an animated music video for one of the songs on the album. After seeing the result of the video she made for that particular song I asked if she would be interested in doing illustrations for a Comic Book/Graphic Novel for the entire album. She agreed and we started the long process remotely. I was living in Los Angeles and Danielle (Canadian-born) was living in Turkey at the time.

Once the Comic Book production was completed, I asked Danielle if she would be willing to animate the entire story. I also reached out to my father, who lives in Mexico, to see if he would record the Narrative part. They both agreed and we started the process. The initial goal was to make an Episode Series where each Song and related Narrative would be a separate episode. After the Episode Series was completed and ready to release, I decided to make it into a Full Feature Animated Musical Film.

It took 12 years to complete the entire project which, as described above, evolved organically from the writing/recording of the initial song to the completion of the film in its final form. The entire project: Concept Album, Comic Book, Episode Series and Movie were also created in Spanish: “Poder Del Pueblo”.


Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.

I like all sorts of films. I was also influenced by Japanese Anime Series throughout my childhood in Mexico. Many films had a great impact on me, to name a few in no particular order:Ikiru – 1952 – Akira KurosawaMany films by Steven SpielbergThe Truman Show – 1998 – Peter WeirEternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – 2004 – Michael GondryHappy Accidents – 2000 – Brad AndersonBig Fish – 2003 – Tim BurtonForrest Gump – 1994 – Robert ZemeckisThe Fifth Element – 1997 – Luc BessonRat Race – 2001 – Jerry ZuckerIdiocracy – 2006 – Mike JudgeRocky – 1976 – John G. AvildsenStar Wars Saga – 1977-2005 – George Lucas21 Grams – 2003 – & Birdman – 2014 – Alejandro González IñárrituEverything, Everywhere, All At Once – 2022 – Daniel Kwan & Daniel ScheinertThe Boy and the Heron – 2023 – Hayao MiyazakiAnd many more…As far as Anime, many Japanese series were popular in Mexico. I used to watch them as a child and was inspired by them. To name a few:Mazinger Z – 1972-1974Mach GoGoGo (named Meteoro in Mexico) – 1967-1968Astroboy – 1963Gatchaman (named Fuerza G in Mexico) – 1972Grand Prix no Taka (named Grand Prix in Mexico) – 1977-1978Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji (named Heidi in Mexico) – 1974Kyandi Kyandi (named Candy Candy in Mexico) - 1975Later, already living in the USA, I discovered:Cowboy Bebop (Anime Series) – 1998-1999

If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?I would love to build on People Power. Write a sequel, new songs and incorporate new characters and situations into the story.


Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?

I would make sure that collaborators are paid generously. I would establish a schedule with specific deadlines which would be agreed-upon by all, knowing that sometimes there are setbacks and there would be flexibility allowed if/as necessary. I would constantly keep said deadlines at the forefront for everyone involved to be aware at all times.


What was the hardest part of making ‘People Power’.

Self-producing the entire project while maintaining an unrelated full-time job to pay for day-to-day bills and dedicate economic resources to the executive production of the project. Finding the right people to collaborate with, who would believe in the project and who would be willing to realize it on a shoe-string budget. I must say that I am extremely blessed and grateful to have worked with an incredible team of highly creative and talented individuals.


If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?

I have started production of a sequel to People Power, writing and producing music and writing the story. Hoping to be able to complete it in less time than the first one. We shall see. The will and the effort are there. I would also like to tour with our band No Matter What! where the show would be a combination of screening the movie while playing the music live.


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