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

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.

Instagram Takeover at Wonderful Machine


I had the pleasure of taking over the Wonderful Machine Instagram account for 3 days last week.  I used the opportunity to feature some of my favorite and lesser known San Diego landmarks.  I ended up posting about 36 images. Below are several of my favorites.  To check out all the images visit the Wonderful Machine Instagram stream. To explore futher follow me on Instagram - @feriiiphoto

 The southwestern most point in the continental United States. The western end of the US Mexico border fence. Great surf that day, BTW...

The southwestern most point in the continental United States. The western end of the US Mexico border fence. Great surf that day, BTW...

 Chicano Park under the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge is one of my favorite under appreciated San Diego locales. This year the city officially recognized it as a skate park too.

Chicano Park under the iconic Coronado Bay Bridge is one of my favorite under appreciated San Diego locales. This year the city officially recognized it as a skate park too.

 Workers prep for the impending Apocalypse - adding mulch to the cliffs at Swami's to reduce erosion. SoCal is in a state of panic as we prepare for the potential of the greatest El Niño in the history of history this winter.

Workers prep for the impending Apocalypse - adding mulch to the cliffs at Swami's to reduce erosion. SoCal is in a state of panic as we prepare for the potential of the greatest El Niño in the history of history this winter.

 Sitting along the coast at the Northern most point of San Diego County just before the sprawl of The OC is the recently decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Current negotiations center on who should pay for the shut down and where the spent fuel rods should be stored. It's an icon on the I-5 drive between San Diego and LA.

Sitting along the coast at the Northern most point of San Diego County just before the sprawl of The OC is the recently decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Current negotiations center on who should pay for the shut down and where the spent fuel rods should be stored. It's an icon on the I-5 drive between San Diego and LA.

 Progress, always progress. In all my years in San Diego construction cranes have always been a fixture of the downtown skyline. The only exception to that was the first few years of the "Great Recession". All those cranes seemed to disappear one night in early 2009. But as the economy has come roaring back, so has the progress….

Progress, always progress. In all my years in San Diego construction cranes have always been a fixture of the downtown skyline. The only exception to that was the first few years of the "Great Recession". All those cranes seemed to disappear one night in early 2009. But as the economy has come roaring back, so has the progress….

 Suburbia

Suburbia

 Desert Bound - Hwy 78

Desert Bound - Hwy 78

 The Mt Soledad cross sits atop the highest point in the posh San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla. The cross itself has undergone 2 "resurrections" and most recently a restoration. There have been 3 different crosses on the location since the original was built I 1909. The current cross is embroiled in constant litigation as it sits on federal land, formerly city owned. Opponents argue for its removal based on the separation of Church and State. A Korean War Memorial was built directly under the cross as a way of appeasement. But numerous courts have ruled for its removal. At last check, the cross still stands…

The Mt Soledad cross sits atop the highest point in the posh San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla. The cross itself has undergone 2 "resurrections" and most recently a restoration. There have been 3 different crosses on the location since the original was built I 1909. The current cross is embroiled in constant litigation as it sits on federal land, formerly city owned. Opponents argue for its removal based on the separation of Church and State. A Korean War Memorial was built directly under the cross as a way of appeasement. But numerous courts have ruled for its removal. At last check, the cross still stands…

 The quintessential late night drive-thru fast food in San Diego is Roberto's or one of his "cousin's" joints. First opened in 1964 in San Ysidro  Roberto's is a culinary icon in SD. Too many imitators to name have spun off all ending in `bertos. Albertos, Alibertos, Filibertos, Aibertos, Gualbertos, Jilbertos, Hilbertos, Adalbertos, Roybertos, Rambertos, Hambertos, Humbertos, Rubertos, and Rolbertos, and my personal fav, Juan Bertos. Open 24 hours - who amongst us hasn't made the late night stop (read drunken) for a wet bean and cheese burrito or 5 rolled tacos w guacamole at least once. This Robertos is in OB, my favorite little beach community.

The quintessential late night drive-thru fast food in San Diego is Roberto's or one of his "cousin's" joints. First opened in 1964 in San Ysidro  Roberto's is a culinary icon in SD. Too many imitators to name have spun off all ending in `bertos. Albertos, Alibertos, Filibertos, Aibertos, Gualbertos, Jilbertos, Hilbertos, Adalbertos, Roybertos, Rambertos, Hambertos, Humbertos, Rubertos, and Rolbertos, and my personal fav, Juan Bertos. Open 24 hours - who amongst us hasn't made the late night stop (read drunken) for a wet bean and cheese burrito or 5 rolled tacos w guacamole at least once. This Robertos is in OB, my favorite little beach community.

Rogo Family Portrait

At the east end of the Waipio Valley, along a mile long stretch of black sand beach, at the base of a 1500 foot cliff, with waterfalls spilling into the ocean, in the late afternoon, the light is just so... it's the perfect time and space for a Rogo family portrait.