Chicago’s Eliaz Rodriguez to screen at Cannes, again

Rodriguez' "Silica" premieres at Cannes May 17

Rodriguez’ “Silica” premieres at Cannes May 17

Chicago filmmaker
Eliaz Rodriguez will light up
the Cannes Film Festival
for the second
year in a row
when his 2018 short,
“Silica” premieres
at the Court Métrage

In 2017, Eliaz Rodriguez’ award-winning and hilarious Think Twice took him to Cannes and 50 other festivals. This year, his sci-fi/comedy about the toll of cellphones on relationships, Silica, will have its world premiere on May 17th at Cannes in the Court Métrage.

The Cannes Film Festival has taken place almost every year in Cannes, France since the end of World War II, and it is arguably the most-prestigious international fest.

“It is an amazing resource … to be able to go and attend,” says Rodriguez.

While Silica is not one of the ten films to be in competition for the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes, it may have the opportunity to be purchased for distribution.

“In Europe, they actually buy short films,” Rodriguez explains. Those films are then shown on television or in theaters.



Rodriguez adds, “There is nothing else like (being) at one of the biggest film festivals, have your film in it, and be able to connect to people who want to buy it.”

For Rodriguez, another one of the most rewarding aspects of Cannes is “networking with filmmakers from all around the world who are just as humbled to be there.”

He is also excited to meet up with fellow Chicagoan Kyle Leland. Rodriguez reached out to him after learning Leland was going to Cannes as well with his short film HAMMERSMITH: Hurdle Of Dreams, which won Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project.

Also Read: Chicago-made “Hammersmith” going to Cannes

Rodriguez states that he is “blown away and humbled” to be accepted into Cannes for a second year in a row, but this time he has a much clearer idea of what to expect than with Think Twice.

Also Read: Don’t “Think Twice”: watch this short

Eliaz Rodriguez in Cannes
Eliaz Rodriguez in Cannes

Think Twice is a tightly knit comedy skit that wraps up in six minutes. Silica is a personal film anchored on a true story that features mostly improvised dialogue. Silica’s final run time is a quick 11 minutes that leaves audiences wanting more, but the original cut was 22 minutes.

The improvised dialogue in Silica sparked serious challenges in editing. Post-production took more than three years to complete.

However, to be fair, much of that time went into developing Stosh Tuszynski’s slick sound design and Tony Scott-Green’s essential score that brings the cellphones to life.



Still, it was editing the improvised dialogue that took the most work. While immensely proud of the final product, Rodriguez laughs, “That’s definitely the last time I’m doing that.”

For the viewer, Silica’s dialogue is smooth, natural, and drives home the film’s solid story. The diligence and attention to detail in post-production certainly paid off.

While pumping out award-winning work, Rodriguez continues to emphasize the value of having a large network of filmmakers to lean on.

Rodriguez on set
Rodriguez on set

Rodriguez recommends to all editors, “Be vulnerable, and let your filmmaker friends give you their notes. You don’t have to take them all. I had someone completely tear apart the 22 minute version.”

He credits much of the quality of the final product with his sharing of the original cut with numerous filmmakers, including Teresa Dabback, Curtis Matzke, Jeanne Tyson, and Robert Bruce Carter.

Both in Chicago and abroad, Rodriguez never underestimates the value of his fellow filmmakers on his own growth as an artist.

Between his streak of successes and his willingness to learn and grow, it is hard to imagine that Silica will be Rodriguez’s last film at Cannes.

For more information, visit Eliaz Rodriguez’s site.

Contact Joey Filer at or follow him on Twitter @FilerJoey.