Creating Monsters: Leonel Saenz

Since the 1800's, directors such as George Melies have created horror films like Le Manoir du Diable to play on the emotions and fears of their audiences. Senior Leonel Saenz hopes to not only inspire people through the films he hopes to create, but to also be the next big director through his immense ingenuity. His goal is to capture the imaginations of audiences everywhere and bring their nightmares to life.

Leo is attracted to the aspect of horror films that involves understanding how someone’s mind works and stimulating the many emotions that come with making monsters.

"I like making monsters because it’s so out there and invokes lots of feelings," Saenz said. "It’s fun to create and sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s okay, because it’s your own thing.”

Ultimately, he wants to create movies and make monsters to expand his ideas and put them out there.

Leo wants to inspire generations and be the next big thing.

“One day I hope to inspire somebody the same way I was inspired,” Saenz said. “I also want people to go to the theaters and be like, 'Whoa it’s a Saenz film!' I want to blow people’s minds. I want to be a household name like Tim Burton.”

With big dreams, Leo must have a driving force behind him. He said that he believes people shouldn't live to have regrets.

“Someday in the future, you’ll end up regretting time you can't get back,” Saenz said. “Good luck doesn’t really exist, it’s just a sign of effort. You’re the only person that can change your life.”

His hobbies include making sculptures and other art pieces, along with anything else related to the expression of creativity, such as film production and storytelling. His guest list for a fantasy dinner party includes Vincent Price, Alice Cooper and Guillermo del Toro, because he feels that he could learn how they achieved what they did.

Leo has been working toward his goals since elementary school, winning many art awards including the prestigious Golden Seal award last year.

“When I won the gold seal it was one of the most important moments in my life,” Saenz said. “It was the fact that everybody--not just people I knew, but everybody--was cheering. And I felt that finally, I belonged there."


From a young age, Leo has loved creating things. Eventually, his childhood hobbies took a new direction when inspiration hit.

“I started making little weird things out of Playdoh,” Saenz said. “Then I was getting inspired by movies. In my generation, Jurassic Park 3 had just come out and it was the first movie I ever saw in theaters, and I was like 'Whoa what is that? That’s a dinosaur.' And then I started with dinosaurs. Later, my older sister would try to scare me with movies like Critters, but I just started getting inspired.”


Below are some of Leos artistic creations from over the years: