Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia gobble up most of the production dollars in the South, but a conference based in Miami Beach aims to change that. Since 2006, the Florida Media Market (FMM) has sought to assert Florida’s movie and media relevancy. Created to provide Florida’s independent filmmakers with a place to network, exhibit, and find distributors, FMM also provides a conference headed by experienced professionals. FMM 2013 takes place January 30th to February 3rd at the Shelborne Hotel in Miami Beach. MovieMaker got in touch with Kenneth O’Brien, previous winner of FMM’s “Best Short Film” Category, to tell us firsthand about the conference and festival.

Lara Colocino (MM): The Florida Media Market was created to provide independent filmmakers in Florida with networking and distribution opportunities. What kinds of opportunities has FMM provided for you?

Kenneth O’Brien (KB): Winning the ‘Best Short Film’ category has given a huge boost to my career. It’s led me to direct my first feature film.

LC: What excites you the most about festivals like FMM?

KB: It’s great to see other filmmakers’ projects and meet people with similar dreams. There’s also the chance of meeting people who could be future partners.

LC: Congratulations on the Latin Grammy Award Nomination for Best Music Video for directing Rakel’s “En El Tiempo.” How have your Peruvian roots influenced your work as a filmmaker?

KB: We are what we see and what we hear. I was born and raised in Cusco, a landscape full of intriguing patterns. There are colors and rhythms that without a doubt have influenced me from the beginning.

LC: The filmmaking business is often centered in Los Angeles and New York. Why have you chosen Miami as your home base?

KB: Miami is a great midpoint between the U.S. and Latin America. I’m always more than happy to shoot here.

LC: Many filmmakers stick to one genre of film, but you have directing credits on features, shorts, music videos, and commercials. What are the advantages of your versatility?

KB: It lets you enjoy different ways filmmaking. Going from one format to another takes away from the routine, and makes the approach to each project unique. It also sharpens your abilities as a director.

LC: If you had to pick one thing about filmmaking that makes all the hard work worth it, what would that be?

KB: Seeing the final piece edited together.

Starting this Wednesday, January 30th, FFM will be in full swing just a few feet from the bath-warm Atlantic skirting Miami Beach. To find out more information or to secure tickets to any of the events or screenings, visit www.floridamediamarket.com/festival.