To Infinity and Beyond
When Cristian Torres joined NewTV in the summer of 2016, he did not know exactly what he would end up producing. He only knew that he was passionate about filmmaking and wanted practice creating a thematic series that could last for a longer period of time. What began as an idea based on the style of Baraka (a documentary directed by Ron Fricke and created solely with visuals and music) evolved into The Edge of Infinity, a documentary-style series profiling a variety of creative individuals.
Cristian grew up in Waltham but also spent a portion of his life, including his college years, in Puerto Rico. While studying education, he spent the weekends working on video projects. For the most part he was self-taught, learning from books and applying the knowledge out in the field. Most significantly, he wrote, produced and directed a film called Coplas. After graduating, he lived in Santa Barbara, CA and worked on a film called The Bet directed by Finola Hughes, an actress on General Hospital. Cristian recalls, “It was a different world [and] I missed Boston. I personally felt like a year in California was enough for me.” So he moved back east and about a year and a half ago he found himself in Newton.
Once he was settled, he knew he wanted to continue working on his skills as a videographer and editor. “I had always heard of NewTV any time I was on the east coast. I knew a few people that mentioned that it was a really excellent place so when I moved to Newton I was curious to see what they had to offer, and I thought it was amazing.” After he determined the focus of his show, he was able to produce it using NewTV’s equipment. “I felt that it was state-of-the-art everything and everyone [was] very helpful and very professional.”
Luckily, Cristian has connections to many local artists and has found artists to feature via word of mouth. He said, “I found a lot of funky people. This seemed very interesting so I thought I’d delve into this world a little bit.” The type of artists helped lead him to the show’s title: “I love science and I love art. It…came together because I wanted to use the word infinity in there and to portray something that was a little outside of mainstream art, so that’s where the edge comes from.” The show itself is a form of art, as it is very stylized. Cristian was inspired by a documentary called The Fog of War, which he loves, and other indie documentaries from New York. He notes, “I liked the fact that they were having fun with the world they were in so when I was putting [The Edge of Infinity] together I was hoping [to do the same].”
Each episode takes about a month to produce, with three to four weeks spent shooting and one week spent editing. The first step is a meeting with the artist where Cristian can find out what they are working on, if they have anything coming up that they want featured and how their story can best be told in a half hour. Next, he follows them around to gather B-roll. Once he has a lot of footage, he begins to prep the artist for the interview, sending them questions to look over. By the time the interview is shot, they are usually essentially finished with everything else. The final step is for Cristian to edit everything together. He does all of this while teaching Spanish full-time to middle school students in Somerville.
Going forward, Cristian has a few more episodes in mind, featuring more non-traditional artists. After that, he plans to “see what direction the series goes in or what direction [he] wants to go in terms of new things [he] wants to do at NewTV.” So far, he has had an extremely positive experience and is grateful for the opportunity to create The Edge of Infinity. “Before I joined, I felt like I knew a lot about editing and filmmaking and I was very surprised that I learned a lot more being here. I feel very fortunate for NewTV and for everyone I’ve worked with – Katie, Kathleen, Jenn and others because everyone has been really nice, really helpful and really patient. I have been to other places, but I haven’t seen any other place like this.”