By: Kristin Brown
Photos By: Tier One Photography

Joe Lujan The City Magazine El Paso

The mysticism of the borderland breeds something within each of us—the Southwest with its picturesque sunsets, purple mountains and waves of endless sands that wisp in the wind all instill in us an image of beauty that we often translate into the aesthetic forms of our art, regardless of medium. Joe Lujan took that idea a different route and we are all thankful for that. Joe has amassed a running list of credits to his name in the film world, especially on the eerie side of things. Horror and fantasy have been his bread and butter and he shows no signs of slowing down. One of our own was able to sit down with the man himself and dive deeper into what creativity, El Paso and comic books mean for him.

Kristin Brown: Let’s talk about how you got started… you’re from El Paso…

Joe Lujan: I’m originally from El Paso… I graduated from Montwood High School and EPCC with a degree in media production and technology. I actually had plans to become a veterinarian, but my older sister snuck me out of school to see Resident Evil and it completely changed me. I decided then that I wanted to become a film director, and I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now.

KB: What I love about you is that you’ve been making big change in Las Vegas, but you always come back to El Paso and support your hometown. You always have free movie screenings, signings, etc…

JL: I love El Paso. Since it’s my hometown, I love to bring all of my work and showcase it to everyone here. I will be having another screening here in October for the Immortal Wars 2.

KB: So, how did you actually get started? You leave El Paso and move to Vegas…

Joe Lujan The City Magazine El Paso

JL: I moved to Vegas and worked on different production teams. I worked on sound, set, lights, whatever I could do but at the time I had already made about 40 short films on my own. Right now, I’ve already surpassed 107 short films actually! I finally made my own film called Rust (1 and 2) which will actually be coming out in the fall via distribution. I then made Atelophobia…

KB: That’s amazing! So, I know we’ve talked before and you really focused on the horror genre, and that actually has brought you into what you are working on now…

JL: Yes! So, what happened was my team asked if I had something else for a broader audience, as my previous stuff is not kid friendly. In college, I was actually doing a comic book series as a hobby that I would put online. When my producers asked if I had anything else, I went back to those sketches and pitched them. I went home and wrote three scripts in three days and created the Immortal Wars. It’s a trilogy, and a month after that we went into production on the first Immortal Wars, which took 25 days to shoot. We have Eric Roberts, Tom Sizemore and Bill Oberst Jr. in the film as I learned that it works to cast celebrities. It helps bigger studios pick up distribution and it reaches a bigger audience. It took me an entire year to edit the film and eight months of that was CGI (computer generated imagery) work which I did myself. I originally had a crew for that but they were pulled onto another project and I volunteered myself and totally threw myself under the bus. I learned how to do the editing via teenagers on YouTube! Thanks to them.

Joe Lujan The City Magazine El Paso

KB: So, you truly created an entire universe for the films and comics!

JL: I did! I actually wanted to mention that all of my films cross paths… even the horror ones. They are all in the same universe. The creepy, sci-fi, action, all that… work together. This year I’m working on quite a few films. I’m actually going to start filming the first script I ever wrote called My Little Nightmare. What’s exciting about that is that I am bringing production to El Paso. We are shooting in LA, Vegas and El Paso. I want to utilize the talent here locally.

KB: I love that you are going to be doing that! I think El Paso has so much to offer and I love that even though you work out of Vegas, you are bringing it back to your hometown. It’s a full circle! So how does coming back home make you feel? What advice would you give to anyone here in the arts?

JL: I would say to never let your fears hold you back. If you dream about something, jump in and do it! The worst that can happen is that you are told no, which I am told all the time. If you let your fears and insecurities take over, you are stuck in the same routine. I am constantly learning but I will never let my fears take over. I will always go back to my family for support and I keep pushing forward.

Joe Lujan The City Magazine El Paso