Student Academy Awards

Jun 6

Meet Ryan Prows

Ryan Prows - American Film Institute - Narrative Winner


From Atlanta, Georgia, one of the first films that Ryan Prows made was “Garcia y Carlitos”, a short crime film for his high school Spanish class.  His assignment was only to record him and his classmate saying phrases in Spanish.  Around the same time, “Pulp Fiction” came out and made Ryan want to pursue film.  And “Pulp Fiction” became his gateway drug into many films, particularly those made by Scorsese or Cassavetes.

American Film Institute

To Ryan, AFI (and film school in general) is what one makes of it.  It was a huge part of his growth as a filmmaker, bringing him to LA and granting him the luxury of dedicating two years to hone his storytelling craft.  Ryan was able to buckle down and explore the types of stories he wanted to tell and characters he wanted to bring to life.   And he gained mentors and fellow filmmakers, who he’s hopefully formed life-long collaborations with.


The idea for “Narcocorrido” came from the music.  Ryan was researching current border issues, searching for a way to approach what he wanted to say without soapboxing.  He came across narcocorrido music— tough and folkish with yodeling and polka.  The whole team immediately got excited about the music and found it to be an interesting angle into the themes they wanted to tackle.  And they hoped to maybe introduce a wider audience to the music.

The filmmaking process was very strenuous.  Pre-production for five months, shooting for six days, and post-production for seven months.  All shot on 35mm, they shot all nights with a crew of 80 in the desert with no power.  The team pushed fiercely though all the stages of production and Ryan is amazed it all somehow worked.  

What’s Next?

Ryan is currently working on a couple projects, including a feature version of “Narcocorrido.”  He is a founding member of the comedy group Tomm Fondle and continues to make sketches with them.  

Check out more from Ryan Prows on his Vimeo channel.

Tomm Fondle on Funny or Die.

And a clip from “Narcocorrido.”