Ebby Magazine




Join us as we take an exclusive look into the imaginative realm of multi-talented creator Mario Garcia and his highly anticipated film, The Throwback. We’ll dive into Garcia’s directorial debut and uncover the intricate process behind crafting a comedic gem that delves into timeless themes of family and love.




Who is Mario Garcia, and what fuels his creative vision? With a diverse portfolio spanning from the critically acclaimed “Unread” in 2014 to the much-anticipated “The Throwback” in 2024, Garcia has firmly established himself as a multifaceted talent in the film industry known for his roles as a writer, director, and producer. Now, as “The Throwback” gears up for production in Tampa, it’s time to delve into the mind behind the laughter.

“The Throwback,” Garcia’s directorial debut, is set to captivate audiences with its blend of humor, nostalgia, and heartfelt storytelling. Starring comedy heavyweights Will Sasso and Justina Machado, the film promises to deliver a hilarious exploration of universal themes that resonate deeply with viewers. From the complexities of growth and self-discovery to the enduring power of love and family, “The Throwback” is poised to be a cinematic experience like no other.

But who is Mario Garcia beyond his directorial prowess? What drives his creative process, and what can audiences expect from his latest venture? Join us as we embark on a journey into the world of Mario Garcia, a visionary storyteller whose passion for filmmaking continues to inspire and entertain.

Mario, congratulations on your latest film. Could you introduce yourself to our audience and tell us about your journey in the film industry, particularly your roles in writing, directing, and producing “The Throwback” and “Unread”?

Happy to connect! I feel I’ve always been a storyteller in one way or another. After graduating from high school, I stumbled upon a book called “How to Write a Movie in 21 Days,” and it seemed easier than writing a novel, so I started writing really bad scripts, lol. Thankfully, my writing kept evolving, and eventually, I was able to get an agent and manager and even sell some of my scripts. A short I wrote called “Unread” was finally produced. “The Throwback” really came out of a desire to see one of my feature-length films actually get produced. I wasn’t planning on directing initially, but It just worked out that way, and I’m glad it did.


What inspired you to venture into filmmaking, and how did you transition from your previous work to becoming a writer, director, and producer?

I have always been interested in storytelling and fell in love with movies from an early age. Right out of college, I moved to Los Angeles and worked as an assistant for a Golden Globe-winning producer. This is when I was armed with a floppy disc of really bad scripts, but of course, I thought they were the best things on the planet. Hollywood has a way of letting you know where your scripts actually stand, though lol. So, I quickly discovered that my writing had to improve. My very conservative Cuban mom had a different idea for me, and she somehow got me accepted and enrolled in law school. During this time, I was always making side money doing graphic design, so when the internet became a thing, I started building websites for fun at first, then realized it could be a business. The business took off, and suddenly, I was writing less as I grew the company and started a family. The next thing you know, 20 years will fly by. But I never totally stopped writing, and a college friend who was a producer in LA always urged me to keep at it. We ended up making “The Throwback” together. Thus began my transition from just a writer to a producer and then to a director.











The director, Mario Garcia, working on the script for “The Throwback.”


“The Throwback” seems to blend comedy with heartfelt themes. Can you share some insights into the creative process behind crafting such a unique narrative?

I feel this story mirrors life in many ways, especially family life, where there are always laughs and tears. I never try to write “funny,” but rather let that come out organically through the characters or situations or their perspective on a situation. But I guess in my life, I’ve always loved movies where you can laugh and have those heartfelt moments. Billy Wilder, Neil Simon, Blake Edwards, and James L. Brooks were great influences of mine, and their movies always seem to have good comedy and drama.


As a multi-talented individual involved in writing, directing, and producing, what challenges did you face while bringing “The Throwback” to life?

So many! In many ways, writing was the easiest part, and that’s challenging enough. But facing challenges became the norm from the moment we decided to produce this ourselves. Raising money, getting access to actors, putting a crew together, and securing locations. And then actual production, of course, involved daily challenges with time constraints, a crew with many different personalities, and unpredictable Florida weather. Plus, throw in the fact that this was my first time doing any of this. Honestly, I can go on and on. There were many instances before we started shooting the movie where I thought this was the end of the road, but somehow, we found a way.


With the film going into production in Tampa, how did the location influence the atmosphere and tone of the movie?

I’ve always loved the Tampa Bay area. Even when I lived away, I missed it terribly. I was born and raised here, and most of my family and friends are all here. So it’s a special place to me for sure—not just the geography but also the people. I didn’t want just to shoot the movie there; I wanted the area to be part of the story. There’s such a sense of family and community in Tampa, especially in the large Hispanic population here. And that’s an integral theme of the film.


With a cast boasting names like Will Sasso and Justina Machado, how did you approach directing such seasoned actors while bringing your vision to the film?

Honestly, for a first-time director, having a great, experienced cast made the job so much easier. My approach was really to just stay out of the way, lol. I’m so impressed with how well-prepared and vested all the actors were in their characters. I gave them the freedom to make their own interpretations from their character’s point of view, and during production, they would contribute their own ideas to scenes. I’m glad that I was open-minded to different approaches, even if they differed from my original vision at times. And I feel this way about the entire cast, not just the top-billed. 



The synopsis hints at a comedic exploration of midlife experiences. Can you share some of the challenges and rewards of tackling such a relatable yet complex theme?

Well, I happen to be in midlife myself, so I suppose that a lot of it could be based on my own experiences or at least views on life at this point. I think most of my writing and stories explore something personal. Maybe it’s my way of dealing with things, lol. But I think it’s also an opportunity to put a lot of color into the things around me and awareness beyond just what I see on the surface.


Reflecting on your past work, “Unread,” from 2014, how do you feel your style and approach to filmmaking have evolved since then?

One of the things I tell younger writers is to keep writing. I mentioned my early bad scripts. Every time I wrote a new one, you could see my evolution as a writer. Even at this point, I feel every new script is better than the last. 

As a director, I watch The Throwback now and wish I could have done things a little differently. I will apply that knowledge to the next project. That’s why I think self-doubt is our worst enemy as creatives. Self-doubt is powerful enough to prevent you from starting a project or giving up early. But as artists, we have to be willing to put ourselves out there consistently and produce work. It’s the only way to get better. 


Can you tell us about any memorable moments or anecdotes from the set of “The Throwback”?

There are many memorable moments, but one that sticks out is one particular scene we shot. I had written the scene to be more comedic in tone, but the actors performed it more dramatically. We talked about it, and I expressed my vision for it. We did a few takes with more comedic elements for them. It wasn’t until I was in the editing room that I realized how much better their version was and how tonally it shifted the story and made their characters more real. It really is a testament to how collaborative this process is and how talented people can elevate a project.


Comedy often involves precise timing and execution. How did you ensure that the comedic elements in “The Throwback” resonated effectively with the audience?

It definitely helps to have Justina Machado, Will Sasso, and Bobby Lee when you’re trying to do comedy, lol. But I think a lot of the comedy in films comes from reactions rather than the actual punchline, so when we were editing the film, I found gold in the actors’ reactions, which I thought were more humorous. Of course, with comedy, you never know because it’s so subjective, but in our initial screenings on each coast, I sat in the theater, nervous, wondering if people would laugh. Fortunately, we got the same laughs in both screenings, so that made me feel a little better.

Mario Garcia with Will Sasso and Justina Machado: Creating Comedy Magic on the Set of 'The Throwback.


As the director and producer, how do you balance creative vision with logistical concerns during filmmaking?

 It’s interesting because, after completing this project, I’m constantly thinking like a producer when I write. One of the hardest things to do as an artist is to concern ourselves with logistical concerns, but it’s a necessity. Sometimes, to do good art, you have to do good business. I think it’s important not to compromise on the creative elements that as a storyteller are most important to you and the story. It’s sort of like picking your battles, and you’ll know what’s important to you when you find yourself fighting for it. The team that’s responsible for logistical concerns needs to be patient with you as the artist, and you have to be open-minded and patient with them as well. We had a good balance of that in this film. There were some scenes that had to change, and I was okay with that, but there were some things that I absolutely fought for, and we ended up finding a way to make it work.


“The Throwback” seems to blend nostalgia and contemporary humor. What themes or messages were you hoping to convey through the film?

 Someone wrote that The Throwback was a hug to moms, and I like that. But I think it’s a hug to anybody at the midlife point. And I hope the themes that emerge are ones of love and family and never giving up on your hopes and dreams. Even my story of making this movie at 50 after wanting to do something like this my whole life aligns with one of the central themes of the film: that age is a gift and there is no such thing as “too late.”


What do you hope audiences remember most about “The Throwback” after they leave the theater?

 I hope the film and the story of this family make audiences appreciate their own lives and their blessings because we all have them. I hope this movie puts a smile on their faces. Most importantly, if you’re ever in a place in your life where you wonder, “What if this is the rest of my life?” then I hope this story will resonate and remind us of what’s important in life.


What do you do to feed your soul? What’s your self-luxury?

I love the sound of water. It’s the most calming thing in the world for me. I have a waterfall in my pool, and I love to sit back there, close my eyes, and just shut down my brain, listening to the sounds of water. It’s an immediate reset for me when I get a chance to do that. 


What is your mantra? The words you say to yourself when you’re facing a challenge or need to push through something.

My mantra that I have said to myself for decades is “Fearless and Confident.” Life is full of challenges. Really, anything worthwhile is never easy, and when those challenges or obstacles seem overwhelming, I am constantly reminding myself to approach it fearless and confidently.