Independent filmmaker Jorge Delarosa explores new ‘Mutant’ territory


Jorge Delarosa, an independent filmmaker with The Slow Mutants, sits in the Stone Tavern in Kent before showing the film “Shivers” on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015.

Jamie Brian

Jorge Delarosa used to carry home armfuls of VHS tapes from the movie rental store across the street. It was an early passion and one that he has transformed into a business. Now, he doesn’t just watch films, he makes his own.

“I grew up watching movies with my family,” Delarosa said. “My father would have me on the weekends, and we would go see films together. I always looked forward to that — just going to see films and talking about them with my dad.”

Having filmmakers for uncles, Delarosa was bound to catch the cinema bug at some point.

His uncle, Arturo Delarosa, won an Ariel award for best cinematography in the 1999 film “The Other Conquest,” while his uncle, Jorge, directed the 1977 film “Fantoche.” 

With movies being such a significant part of his life, it made sense for him to take a hobby and turn it into something more. Delarosa graduated from Kent State in 2012 with a degree in electronic media production.

Since then, he’s formed The Slow Mutants, an electronic media production company that produces documentaries, science fiction and horror films, in addition to filming stand-up comedians.

The name stems from a chapter in Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger,” the first volume in The Dark Tower sci-fi fantasy series.

Delarosa cites King as well as “great music and great filmmakers” as influences to his work.

“I guess if I had to say one filmmaker who every time I watch his stuff I’m mesmerized, it’s Stanley Kubrick,” he said. “That’s not to say there aren’t other great phenomenal filmmakers. I really like Oliver Stone’s political stuff like his film ‘Nixon.’ I love that movie; it’s in my top 10.”

Every Wednesday, Delarosa transforms The Stone Tavern in Downtown Kent into a showcase of his favorite pieces. The projector screen is pulled down, drinks are poured and friends gather to watch independent, rare and classic films.

“We’ve been talking about it for a year or so, and nothing gets done until you just kind of force it and do it yourself,” Delarosa said.

Movie nights at The Stone Tavern are a new project that started with an initial screening hosted in January 2015. There’s a new theme every month, bringing something different to the table each time. 

January kicked off with Japanese-themed movies; February was an “Anti-Valentine’s Day horror” theme; and Italian movies are up for March. Whatever lays ahead, it’s sure to encompass a spectrum of ideas.

When Delarosa isn’t sharing his love of films with the folks at The Stone Tavern, he is busy at the helm of The Slow Mutants’ projects.

The Slow Mutants made their first documentary in 2012 titled “Gangrene: The Dink Documentary,” which chronicled the rise and fall of the 1990s punk band. Since then, they’ve produced “The Rest is Very Boring,” a 2013 documentary on the life of Frank Bochard and a narrative feature-length horror film “Mantua.”

“I didn’t want to move to Los Angeles and be a part of a system,” Delarosa said. “That’s not how it works anymore; I can do it myself. Both my father and my mother are entrepreneurs, and I grew up with that spirit.”

As an independent filmmaker, Delarosa has the challenge of finding a way to handle all the logistics of the business.

“I never wanted to be an editor, and then it became clear to me if I wasn’t doing the editing, it was never going to get edited,” he said.

One page of script equals one minute of film time, and behind that apparently seamless minute lies a director at work.

Continuing in the Delarosa spirit, The Slow Mutants are working on a new documentary titled “Destroy Cleveland,” which follows the hardcore Cleveland music scene from 1987 to the present with interviews from more than 30 musicians.

“A lot of these guys don’t get along, and it’s going to be fun because we’re putting them all in the same movie,” Delarosa said. “This was a scene that was known for its violence and destruction, and I’m hoping that this translates into a crazy premiere.”

They also hope to begin production on their second feature-length horror film this summer, titled “The Funk.” 

First and foremost, Delarosa considers himself to be a filmmaker, but he’s taken to stand-up comedy as a side project and as a kind of therapy.

“It’s helped me to build my self-esteem and self-worth,” he said. “It feels good when you make people laugh, and I’m doing it as a way of staying in the scene and being a peer with these people who I want to work with as a filmmaker.”

The Slow Mutants have filmed stand-up performances for comedians including Mike Bowser, Bill Squire and Jeremy Sheer. When Delarosa is not behind the camera, he’s on the stage himself at local bars like The Venice Cafe and Euro Gyro. 

With new technical equipment and a 500-page handwritten script for a new film, he’s ready to keep the projects rolling. The Slow Mutants are delving into topics others won’t, and Delarosa hopes to continue defying expectations.

“I’m hoping to be in Kent, Ohio with a small film studio,” Delarosa said. “I like this town, and I want to make movies here. If I get an offer to make a movie somewhere else, I’ll go there and then come back here.”

Contact Jamie Brian at [email protected].