The impact of living in a small town
Robert Machoian was born in King City, California, USA. This fact of his biography has significantly influenced his perception of life, world and filmmaking particularly. The director says: “I think small town life forever leaves a mark on a person. The world surrounding you is small. Usually you know almost all people inhabiting this area and those who you are not familiar with are only considered to be frightening strangers. You just don’t know what to expect from them, they interfere with your small, already well-known world.” Such a town dictates its own rules. People there always care for one another no matter what happens. This is a main reason why Robert Machoian prefers to tell stories about families or small communities. He wants to transmit this cosy and friendly atmosphere of his home into his films.
About the involvement in the filmmaking process
Unlike other filmmakers, Robert has not been dreaming of becoming a director since his childhood. It was just a spontaneous decision that he made as an adult. The American filmmaker tells CineSud Magazine that he sees himself as a filmmaker, not just a director, as he knows the whole process of the production and is involved in it from the beginning to the very end. Of course, Robert uses the help of some other specialists. Still, he is always involved in every part of his project. He comments: “I am currently working on a feature film and I start to realize that editing a full-length movie is absolutely different from editing short films. It is so laborious in my point of view! Now I am considering to only do the directing in my next feature films.”
Robert Machoian attended California State University Monterey Bay, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in filmmaking. The American filmmaker tells that it is quite a small educational institution, therefore he got specific attention and support from the faculty throughout all his study. Cinematography used to be Robert’s favorite subject, he could spend the whole day capturing interesting moments and enjoying the intertwining of exceptional images. The most valuable experience the filmmaker gained during these years of studying was the establishment of a variety of new contacts. He remembers: “At Monterey I met Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, my partner and co-worker with whom I have been making films over the past ten years and I hope we keep it up! I think I went to university just to find him.”
Despite the fact that Robert Machoian has collaborated with other directors as well, he still prefers to work with Rodrigo. The process of their cooperation can be described like this: One of them comes up with an idea, then they push each other to develop it to a point at which it can be embodied on the screen. In other words, they are motivating each other in order to achieve the best result possible. Robert is fond of collaborations. He comments: “I grew up playing in music bands and when I can get someone to join my film band, I do!”
Robert says that his favorite films among his productions are always those which he is currently working on. He is trying to grow and get better, therefore he considers each new film to be better than the previous one.
Studying at California State University Monterey Bay was not enough for Robert Machoian. Therefore, he also got a Master’s degree of Fine Arts at the University of California, Davis. The American filmmaker says: “There were a few reasons why I decided to enter UC Davis. Firstly, I needed more time to study. Undergraduate school prepares you to understand the tools which are used in filmmaking, while graduate school gives you an opportunity to start exploring how to control these tools and find your own way to express yourself with their help.” Among the other reasons Robert mentions the fact that UC Davis has amazing mentors who are always willing to help, give their piece of advice and inspire their students. Robert needed these impulses. It was extremely important for him to do some work and then be able to talk about it with the mentors. It was an amazing experience for the filmmaker which he now makes use of in his projects.