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

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.  



The Group Shot II


    Sometimes the group shot happens organically.  It all comes together with little or no production.  It's more of a feel, an emotion. Pride and satisfaction can be a great motivator.  Everyone proud of their part and happy to share that with peers.  This is part of the crew that built the Isla Bella - shot several hours prior to launch.  There's a formality and familiarity to these groupings - one that seems  passed down from generations of shipbuilders. This is one of 3 frames, no compositing, no production.

 

Sometimes the group shot happens organically.  It all comes together with little or no production.  It's more of a feel, an emotion. Pride and satisfaction can be a great motivator.  Everyone proud of their part and happy to share that with peers.  This is part of the crew that built the Isla Bella - shot several hours prior to launch.  There's a formality and familiarity to these groupings - one that seems  passed down from generations of shipbuilders. This is one of 3 frames, no compositing, no production.

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.

Dominique's Story

Here's a recent portrait I did for the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons of a very courageous woman with an incredible story. Here's an excerpt:

One evening in San Diego, February 2011, a throng of guests walked out of a nightclub and into the balmy night. The next moment, screaming and carnage - as a taxi inexplicably veered off the street and onto the sidewalk, raking through the disbelieving crowd.

One young mother - Dominique Gambale - sustained the most serious injury. This is her story, and how an orthopaedic surgeon who had served in Iraq called on his wartime experience to make sure Dominique's leg would get another chance.

You can read the rest of Dominique's story in her own words here:

http://orthoinfo.org/dominique/index.html

The Women of Azucar

I've been in many kitchens over the years.  Big ones, small places, 5 star establishments and greasy spoon joints. First as a server and now as a photographer.  For me, there's nothing like the energy of a kitchen abuzz with activity.  There's something magical about a team with a common goal.  Working together to produce something that we all crave, yet many of us take for granted.  Food and eating.  I've posted previously about Azucar.   I focused on the process and the ingredients they use to produce these wonderful desserts.  But there is a special core of people, women actually, that bring these sweets to life.  Azucar is a small kitchen, to say the least.   It also has the greatest vibe I've been around in quite some time.  And it is because of the women that work there.  The energy would be totally different if there was a male in the mix.  We tend to alter the balance of things.   The 3 women that work in these tight quarters are Elodie, Jolene, and owner / chef Vivian.  They love what they do and that feeling radiates from the kitchen.  Not only in their laughter and banter but in the incredible confections they create. Below are a couple of portraits of the women of Azucar...

Elodie

Jolene - who has since moved on to open here own place. I can't wait to see what see has in store for us...!

Vivian - Owner | Chef