AXE has developed a creative mentorship program, called The AXE Collective, designed to give aspiring creators resources and platforms to showcase their talents. Now in its second year, the collective is working with musicians and filmmakers to help them get to the next level. After a yearlong, nationwide search for aspiring filmmakers, Venezuelan film student, Francisco Cabrera has been handpicked to join The AXE Collective.

Mark Duplass (L) and John Legend (R) join AXE Collective Vanguard Honours during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Mark Duplass (L) and John Legend (R) join AXE Collective Vanguard winner Francisco Cabrera (C) during the Toronto International Film Festival

Cabrera was chosen from hundreds of submissions nationwide by acclaimed film and TV producer/director/actor Mark Duplass and 2015 Oscar winner John Legend to be mentored by them before they – and more importantly their work – were showcased in front of the global community at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.


During the festival, Cabrera screened his short film Revolving Child about domestic gun violence.

We caught up with Cabrera and here’s what he said about his experience:

HOMBRE: How has your experience been working with the AXE Collective with John Legend and Mark Duplass?
Francisco Cabrera: Mark Duplass has been one of my idols for years, and now to be able to be mentored by him has changed my life. While talking to him, it was the first time I understood that I should focus on my strengths and continue to make films that capture and challenge the audience. And with John Legend, well, my father and I have always listed to his music together. I was very intrigued by how he works with directors to tell stories with music.


H: How do you feel this overall experience has prepared you for the next step in your professional career?
FC: Thanks to the mentorship provided by Mark, now I feel ready to work on a feature film. I also love the support that AXE as a brand with the AXE Collective initiative has given me to continue making films, and I got a taste of what it is like to screen at TIFF, which will motivate me to be an Official Selection.

H: How has your Latino culture influenced your filmmaking and the person you are today?
FC: Growing up in Venezuela for 11 years, all my actions and thinking was shaped by my childhood. In the film there is a scene showing violence on the television, I saw that in Venezuela, and I remember it clearly. But my family in Venezuela and here too supported me during Revolving Child. 58 people, families and friends, donated almost three thousand dollars in 17 days to create this film. The love that I have for my Venezuelan family is like no other.

H: What message would you give to other Latinos with a passion like yours looking to further expand their careers?
FC: When coming up with new ideas put a 30 minute timer on and FORCE yourself to come up with ideas. Most of them will be bad, but there might be a not so bad one, you can improve. Also, use social media, do not undermine the power of social media, I have met half of my crew because I followed them on twitter and we DM’d each other. As a Latino, stay true to yourself and your identity. When trying to fit in it’s very easy to become just like the masses, make sure to stand out.