Filmmaker Portraits at the San Diego International Film Festival

Independent filmmakers are by nature creative, tenacious and passionate. They embody all of the elements of craft, hard work and dedication that have inspired me to photograph and explore workers from all walks of life. I present here a selection of the passionate independent filmmakers featured at the 2017 San Diego International Film Festival.  

Selling Isobel Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell "What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Selling Isobel Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell

"What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Dog Years Writer and Director Adam Rifkin Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

Dog Years Writer and Director Adam Rifkin

Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

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Resistance is Life Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi Audience Choice for Best Documentary

Resistance is Life Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi

Audience Choice for Best Documentary

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The Lonely Italian Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber Winner Best Comedy Feature Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

The Lonely Italian Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber

Winner Best Comedy Feature

Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

GUN Writer / Director / Producer Sam Upton   What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

GUN Writer / Director / Producer Sam Upton  

What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

The Last Animals Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy Winner of Best Documentary  A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

The Last Animals Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy

Winner of Best Documentary 

A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

Butterfly Caught Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr.  Winner Best Ensemble Film

Butterfly Caught Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr. 

Winner Best Ensemble Film

Juggernaut Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

Juggernaut Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

And Then There Was Eve Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

And Then There Was Eve Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

Apache Warrior Pilot Allen Hahn Winner Best Military Film

Apache Warrior Pilot Allen Hahn

Winner Best Military Film

The Streets of DC

I’ve been in DC a couple of times this year.  I love the city.  There’s an intensity there.  The politics, obviously. The young go-getters. The hustle. Even the weather.  But there’s also a calm serenity grounded in the throngs of tourists who slow the pace to their own agenda. Set to a backdrop of intense security, these groups commingle and collide daily among our national treasures.  

Torso - The National Gallery
Standing Guard at the National Gallery
Moving Walkway
The Metro
Zoo
Washington Monument
The National Mall
The White House
Flowers & Roses

The signs of the Women's March

Some of the signs from the Women's March in San Diego, CA.

San Diego Women's March 2017  

Stay Nasty San Diego

Without Immigrants Trump would have No Wives

Putin-Trump - Not My President

I won’t Sit down, Shut up, or Behave

Because I Love God, I Dissent

Hear Our Voice

I am here for the Women of Juarez for the women of Iran, Iraq, India Women of Tibet, Chipas & Guatemala, Women in the world that have been killed pursuing their human right.  Give us respect. Treat us with dignity.  Ni una mas!

Rise Up

Dear World: We are so sorry!  Sincerely, 65.8M Americans

NO: Racism. Xenophobia. Sexism. Homophobia.

I got a bad feeling about this

Trump is mean

Proud American Woman

Paint the future in vivid color

Real men respect women

Unpresidented Putin Puppet

Love is the Answer

We the people defend dignity

Shine On!

Pussy Grabs Back

Women’s Rights are NOT up for grabs

Stop the Bullying Scapegoating and Denial of Facts

Keep your tiny hands off my Health Care

Peace Begins with Me

Rage Against the Patriarch

We Can Do It - Women Power

Resist - Say NO to misogyny & discrimination - Let your Voice be Heard

I’m with Her

Putin’s Apprentice

Support your Sisters, NOT your Cisters and their Misters

A Woman’s Place is in the Rebellion

We will not mourn. We will Organize

Organize

I went to Planned Parenthood and all I got was:  A breast exam, physical exam, STD testing and treatment, information and counseling about my sexual and reproductive health, cancer screenings, a pregnancy test, prenatal services, and access to affordable birth control.

Hate does not make America Great!

Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries

Impeach Trump

Make America Think Again

Our Bodies Our Minds Our Power

Not this Pussy!

Trump Loves Nickleback

Maybe some day my uterus will have as many rights as your GUN

We Speak - The Environment

President Trump…What a joke!

Keep your tiny hands off my Obamacare

Love Trumps Hate

Dear Trump, U-Ugly

Here’s to strong women - May we know them, raise them, Be them!

Russian Puppet

Pro-Choice - The hardest decision a woman can make is not yours

Women’s Rights = Human Rights #NotMyPresident

Roe v. Wade Must Stand

Women for Climate Justice

Fight Like a Girl

What is it with old men & Women’s Reproductive Rights

Free Melania

A Woman’s place is in the House and the Senate and the White House!

= ? Y not!

Our Bodies. Our Minds. Our Power.

“I raise my voice not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard” - Malala Yousafzai

We Are Still Here

I Stand with Planned Parenthood

This is the Wall

This isn’t Normal!  Respect your sisters mothers wives aunts - Health Care Matters

Give a Damn.

Stop the War on Women

I don’t like to protest but… WTF?

We the People are greater than fear

Class of 2018 to the rescue!

I cannot believe I still need to protest this shit.

Break the Chains. - Feminist Comic Book Club

Trump Pay Your Taxes

Rights. Access. Visibility. Protection. Pay. Power.

Keep your laws off my body

What the F*** just happened!?

Who's Your Butcher?

Butchering a whole animal is an artful skill.  I worked at a restaurant in New Orleans years ago.  It had it’s own butcher in house. It’s still one of the only restaurants I’ve know to have it’s own in house butcher.  I remember being in awe of how quickly and efficiently he could break down an animal, dress a hen, filet a fish.  He taught me to filet fish without gutting the animal - simply following the bone line down the back to remove the filet from each side of the fish.  It seemed like magic, and so simple, when I finally learned to do it right.  

Butchering an animal can be violent and strenuous.  There is a lot of finesse to breaking down an animal.  It’s pretty remarkable to witness. The butcher knows the lines, muscles, and bones of the animal intimately.  Sides of beef can weigh several hundred pounds.  Moving these beasts around takes strength. And not every cut is intricate.  There are also the saws, and the large cuts, where brute strength is required.  

Grocery store “butchers” are not in fact butchers.  They are meat cutters.  A butcher has the ability and skill to break down an entire animal.  He has to know the animal.  He has to know the bone structure, the muscle structure.  So called grocery store butchers receive select sections of an animal and cut them down to serving size filets.  They do not require the skill to break down a whole animal.  

There is virtually no waste in the shop.  It strikes me as a Native American approach to food.  When the shop receives a side of beef they’ll break down all the regular cuts, the tenderloin, the ribs, etc.  What’s not used for the case or primary cuts is used for in house deli meats, sausages, bacon, and stock.  There is very little waste of the animal.  And there are no preservatives or chemicals.  It’s a very wholistic approach to animal consumption.  

Local butchers know their suppliers and know where the meat they sell comes from.  They’ve often toured the farms and ranches that supply their meat and have personal relationships with the farmers and ranchers.  They get the best quality meats because it’s their product, their reputation on the line.  They have their hands on every animal that makes it’s way through the case.  If it’s not up to par, they’ll know it before you do.  

The prices are still high.  You pay a premium for hormone free, chemical free, non GMO and grass fed.  There’s no way around it, yet.  The industry is set up for cheaper and faster production, delivery and consumption: the CostCo / Walmart approach.  The tide is slowly turning.  Consumers are making their voices heard by seeking out organic and chemical free options.  We have a long way to go and price is still a huge component of the equation.  The more consumers opt out of hormone and chemical fed meats the more the scales will tip.  

We need to support those that bring these great products to market.  Thanks to Heart & Trotter for opening their shop to me and teaching me more about whole animal butchery.  James Holster is the head butcher.  Stop by and say hello next time you’re in North Park.

A few of the best images I saw in 2016

As I think back at 2016 there are a few images that jump to mind.  This is by no means an extensive year in review, simply a handful of images I personally found impactful and meaningful.  So in no particular order: 

This image of Usain Bolt makes me smile every time I see it.  There's a great backstory on how photographer Cameron Spencer captured it in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics.  This photo is a perfect example of the power the still image.  As video shares became more and more prevalent in 2016, this image resonates because it is a frozen moment in time.  The video of Bolt smiling as he smokes his fellow competitors is compelling, but it's Spencer's still image that creates the enduring visual.   

This image of Usain Bolt makes me smile every time I see it.  There's a great backstory on how photographer Cameron Spencer captured it in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics.  This photo is a perfect example of the power the still image.  As video shares became more and more prevalent in 2016, this image resonates because it is a frozen moment in time.  The video of Bolt smiling as he smokes his fellow competitors is compelling, but it's Spencer's still image that creates the enduring visual.   

"Powerful" is how photographer Jonothan Bachman described protester Ieshia Evans. I find this image powerful on so many different levels.  The more I look at the image the more I find, the more I examine, the more I question, which is exactly what the most powerful photography does. Evans is detained by law enforcement as she protests the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016.

"Powerful" is how photographer Jonothan Bachman described protester Ieshia Evans. I find this image powerful on so many different levels.  The more I look at the image the more I find, the more I examine, the more I question, which is exactly what the most powerful photography does.

Evans is detained by law enforcement as she protests the shooting death of Alton Sterling near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016.

Mark Peterson's work on the 2016 campaign trail is amazing. There are many great images in Peterson's Political Theater project, but it is the overall body of work that had a lasting impact as it unfolded throughout 2016.

Mark Peterson's work on the 2016 campaign trail is amazing. There are many great images in Peterson's Political Theater project, but it is the overall body of work that had a lasting impact as it unfolded throughout 2016.

Nadav Kander is one of the greatest working photographers today.  He is a master of the craft. His portraits are a constant inspiration for me.  And his portrait of president elect Donald Trump for Time Magazine's Person of the Year is a tour de force.  It's subtle but impactful.  It's subversive message is well chronicled.  I found his own words describing the controversy and image insightful and humble.

Nadav Kander is one of the greatest working photographers today.  He is a master of the craft. His portraits are a constant inspiration for me.  And his portrait of president elect Donald Trump for Time Magazine's Person of the Year is a tour de force.  It's subtle but impactful.  It's subversive message is well chronicled.  I found his own words describing the controversy and image insightful and humble.

 

 

Back to my Roots :: Street Photography, NYC

When I was in school and early in my career I fancied myself quite the street photographer.  My heroes were Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, Robert Frank and Walker Evans among many others.  Earlier this week I found myself in New York City.  So I spent a few days wandering the streets, getting in touch with my roots....  

Liquor Store, West Broadway

Liquor Store, West Broadway

Along the High Line

Along the High Line

Silver

Silver

Ped Bridge, Holland Tunnel

Ped Bridge, Holland Tunnel

Train Station, Long Island Rail Road, MTA

Train Station, Long Island Rail Road, MTA

Motorized Bike, Midtown

Motorized Bike, Midtown

Street Scene I

Street Scene I

Jesus Christ Loves You

Jesus Christ Loves You

Psychic Visions

Psychic Visions

Street Scene II

Street Scene II

In n Out in NYC

In n Out in NYC

Sheriff Woody Pride

Sheriff Woody Pride

Selfie Times Square

Selfie Times Square

Minus

Minus

Greenies

Greenies

Stickball in Little Italy, San Diego

Ever since I moved my studio to Little Italy I've heard about the Stickball tournament on India Street. And every year it seemed like I missed it.  In fact I couldn't have told you when the tournament actually took place.  All I knew was it was one of those events I wanted to check out.  Well this Memorial Day my son tells me he's playing in a stickball tournament in Little Italy.  "The" stickball tournament in Little Italy I replied?  He didn't know... but he did let me know I should check it out.  Well it turns out this is not "The" tournament, that one is on Labor Day weekend and attracts teams from both San Diego and the East Coast.  It is, however, the same organizers and most of the same guys, but just local teams.  The games and tournament were as cool as I expected - a bunch of guys hitting a racquetball with a broomstick on a city street.  What's not to love.  And it's been a long time since I've seen a guy dive head first on asphalt to score a run! Can't wait til Labor Day!!

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SDX Portraits


I’ve been a member of the SDX Board of Director for several years now.  I was recently tasked by the Communications Committee to create portraits of my fellow Directors for use on the SDX website.  The board has grown in recent years to 30+ members. It's a strong group of passionate individuals from the San Diego advertising, marketing and media fields.  Given the large group of creative individuals I wanted to present the individual portraits as a complete, stand alone portfolio.  I presented a mood board with candid black and white portraits.  My approach was a theme that is popular with my corporate clients right now.  I call it the "Moment between the Moments".  It is that split second when the subject has let their guard down and is no longer "posing".  Many of my corporate clients are looking for something a little different for their executive and staff portraits.  The standard headshot is out.  The environmental office portrait is waning.  This candid approach has proven quite popular.  I was pleased the Communications Committee approved the creative direction. All of my subjects bought into the concept as well.  Everyone arrive inspired and ready for anything. In addition to the website, SDX created a series of ads featuring select portraits to run locally.  The above ad features fellow Director Miguel Fenton, VP of Sales Local at Entravision.  Below are the other portraits.

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Special thanks to Angela Hess, Amy Richardson and Justin Galloway (the photographer of the photographer) for their help in the production.