Janett Salas was an intern at the Center for Science and Imagination, when a very special project landed in her lap. A man approached her with the idea of organizing a lifetime collection of pictures and videos for his family to remember him by. As Janett looked at the collection of old film and pictures she realized that this was not going to be an ordinary project.
She was looking at the life of a Secret Service Agent. The man, former Special Agent in Charge, Robert DeProspero, had just given her access to his life as an agent during the Reagan Administration. Salas, a Film and Media Production student at Arizona State University, already had a vast experience in short, feature-length, and documentary films, and knew DeProspero’s story had to be told. The result is the documentary, “The Man Behind the Suit.”
We had the pleasure of interviewing Salas, an eloquent Latina from Mesa, Arizona, with a passion for capturing real life on film.
Latinaology- You became the Producer for this documentary?
Salas – “Yes, It was going to be a small project, but the more Mr. DeProspero and I spoke about it, we both agreed it was more fitting to bring it to life in a documentary.”
Latinaology – What is harder when working in an independent film, getting the project started or being able to keep going?
Salas – “It’s harder to keep documentaries in production because of budget constraints and deciding which are the best clips and photos to use. That takes lots of man-hours. It took us a year to complete this documentary.”
Latinaology – Let’s talk about money. How does funding (or lack of it) affect your art? How much do you have to compromise as a filmmaker because of financial restrictions?
Salas- “In this project we had to travel to film the interviews and they start getting expensive. At one point we had planned to go to Hawaii, but finances just didn’t allow us. We ended up with a telephonic interview that didn’t work well in the documentary.”
Latinaology- What advice do you have for Latinos who want to get into the business of producing films?
Salas – “We need more! There are very few Latinos and there are so many stories that need to be told. I have so many stories I want to tell, and in this climate, I think that we should be the ones to tell those stories.”
Janett Salas’s new documentary, “The Man Behind the Suit” premieres at the Phoenix Film Festival in Scottsdale, AZ April 6th-13th.
About The Man in the Suit
It is often said that during the Reagan era, Robert DeProspero was the second most photographed man in the world, second to Reagan of course. There was almost never a moment when Reagan couldn’t turn around and see Agent DeProspero at his side. Being in such close proximity, Robert encountered assassination attempts, disagreements with other agents and even President Reagan regarding security measures, and moments where he had to act on his feet with his life and others in jeopardy.
Until next time,