“Telefóto,” as the movie’s tagline states, is a different kind of ghost story.
The movie was filmed in Oak Cliff. It’s set here, and its cast is composed of Oak Cliff neighbors.
The feature-length film is about a family of artists, played by real-life Oak Cliff artists Opalina and Carlos Salas and their daughter, Paloma, who are being priced out of their neighborhood.
“It’s about working-class artists reckoning with the gentrification of their neighborhood,” filmmaker Richard Bailey says. “The landmarks and the heritage are falling away. When history disappears and you don’t find a future for yourself, then where you are in the present it’s like a ghost world.”
Bailey’s grandparents lived in Oak Cliff, and he worked at Red Bird Cinemas in the 1980s. He attended a Word Space event in 2015, where he met the Salas family and other artists in Oak Cliff, and he had the idea for this film.
They shot it over three months in the summer of 2016.
The movie cost about $4,000 to produce and about another $2,000 in post production. Bailey financed it himself. The cast and crew agreed to “deferred pay,” which means Bailey has agreed to pay them from any of the film’s future earnings. He thinks he owes about $17,000 for that.
“Telefóto” is not a documentary, but it does tell true stories about our neighborhood, Bailey says.
“It’s an interesting hybrid in that sense,” he says. “One could make five distinct feature-length films about oak cliff and never get the whole tapestry.”