Angela Trivino takes audiences back in time with costume design in award-winning film “Tragiometry”

Growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, Angela Trivino was surrounded by yards of fabric in her mother’s studio; it was an upbringing that would lead to her destiny. The steadfast sound of a sewing machine was as familiar as a friendly voice, and slowly, clothing and fashion became a way of seeing the world. There was never a question as to what she would become later in life: she would follow her passion. However, becoming one of Colombia’s best costume designers needed more than passion, it required hard work and innate talent.

Trivino’s world continues to be filled with fabric and design. She is a true artist, lending her vision to countless films, stage productions, commercials, and music videos. She helps directors realize their goals in a completely visual way. Without her, time travel through the lens of a camera would not be possible, as clothing is vital to transporting an audience member to a different era. Her work was key to the success of the award-winning film Tragiometry, a dark comedy set in the 19th century.

Tragiometry was my first time designing a period film, and I loved the challenge of exploring concepts like femininity, elegance, comedy, and darkness in an era in which these words had a completely different connotation from the one they have today. It always feels great to escape from our world and travel back in time,” said Trivino.

Tragiometry revolves around an undertaker Mr. Vizor, who in the process of treating a dead Mr. Moore’s body, discovers that he’s very much alive, simply awakening from a lethargic sleep. To his outmost surprise, Mr. Vizor finds out that the man is utterly unhappy about being alive and he desperately wishes to go down The Gates of Hades, this time in reality. Two men, two different stories, yet the same questions — does death become a punishment for wasting every second?  Or maybe life itself is a greater punishment for someone who has a meaningless existence.

“I enjoyed this project so much. The energy on set was great, and the artistic conversations with every head of department were incredibly inspiring. On the other hand, the nature of the project gave me a lot of space to explore creatively, which is always amazing,” she said.

Trivino’s role of costume designer for the film required her to stay loyal to the time period and research the history, costumes, and cultural mannerisms extensively to ensure accuracy. The film is a comedy, and her costume design had to still portray that side of the film while being historically correct. After approval of her sketches from Tatyana Kim, the director of the film, and after taking the pertinent measurements to the actors, she built the period garments.

“Tatyana was such an inspiration during the whole process. We have very similar aesthetics and ways of approaching narratives.  She also understands costumes really well, you don’t always get to have conversations with directors that understand concepts like silhouette and fabric textures in camera,” said Trivino.

Leading two seamstresses and a costume assistant in the making of some of the garments used in the film, Trivino made sure her vision was met. During filming, she was on set to dress the actors, and make sure that every single garment was worn according to the period.

For Trivino, the biggest challenge for the film to be successful was to make interesting creative choices without risking justice to the period. In order to achieve this, she extensively researched not only the period, but also the characters and the comedy they carried within. She worked close to the cinematographer, which was key to achieving a well-controlled palette and beautiful, well-composed frames.

“Angela is a joy to work with from beginning to end. As a writer and director, I work with each character from its conception, and Angela has this incredible ability to come up with the perfect visual interpretation of this person that I created through words. Her character–based approach to costume design really digs into each personality and story to figure out what the costume needs are to help the actor inhabit that person. For Tragiometry we were working with a story set in the 19th Century, and Angela focused in not just designing a period accurate film, but in finding the character that lived in that period,” said Tatyana Kim.

This commitment and vision that Trivino carried with her on the project led to Tragiometry having immense success at several international film festivals. It was an Official Selection at Ciné Women Europe 2015, Los Angeles CineFest 2015, China Women’s Film Festival, Pasadena International Film Festival 2017, and the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner. It won Best Director and Best Actor at the TMFF Glasgow 2015, and was part of the Golden Drama Awards Austria 2015.

“I hate to say it, but I was not surprised that the film was so successful. From the moment I read the script, I knew only great things could happen to such a brilliant story,” Trivino concluded. “The real surprise was finding about Cannes, we knew it was going to do great but not that great.”

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Innovator Rosanna Peng’s Videography Inspires Creatives Across the Globe

Videographer Rosanna Peng
Videographer Rosanna Peng

Today videographer Rosanna Peng is known around the world for her remarkable ability to tell relevant and impactful stories through video. Her unparalleled creativity, the diverse nature of her work and her expertise in editing are a few of the things that have made Peng standout over the last few years, not to mention the high caliber of clients that have specifically sought her out to create visual content to showcase their brand in a way that grabs people’s attention.

Last year she created the videos for the launch of the J.Crew x New Balance 997 Butterscotch and 997 Cortado sneakers, edited EST Fest: The Documentary, which was featured on Trill HD and follows multi-award winning rapper Machine Gun Kelly at EST Fest and gives viewers a closer look into Kelly’s fan base, as well as created several video tutorials for the popular craft marketplace, ETSY, that teach users how to set up their own shop. On top of that Peng was tapped by Society 6 to shoot a series of photo stories that were featured on their website. Her work in 2016 alone has revealed her to be one videographer whose creative talent truly knows no bounds.

 

 

Still in her early 20s, Peng’s story is rather unique considering the level of international attention she has already received and the fact that she is primarily self taught. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Rosanna Peng first discovered her innate talent and passion for telling stories through videos while taking an editing class back in high school, and from that point on she was hooked.  

“I was a shy girl and being able to express myself through videos was something I became addicted to. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” admits Peng.

In 2014, Peng was tapped as the lead videographer for FREE, a Toronto-based creator studio and digital agency built for modern creative entrepreneurs and progressive brands. The first videographer at the agency, Peng’s work with FREE gave her the chance to really begin exploring her skill as a videographer without boundaries.

She explains, “I experienced a lot of creative freedom, which was essential to the videographer I am today… I dedicated my weekends and evenings to producing content for the agency and I was oddly satisfied with that, knowing I was crafting my own style with every video that I made.”

Her work as FREE’s videographer put her in charge of creating and editing all of the video content for The Creator Class, a cutting-edge online channel designed by and for creators around the world that brings viewers innovative content centered around music, art, style, culture and adventure. A collaboration between FREE and Canon Canada, The Creator Class has been featured by publications and online platforms such as Booooooom, Fast Company, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, It’s Nice That, Nowness and Vimeo, and has become a driving force in the social revolution of how users around the world approach creativity through photography and videography.

Rosanna Peng
Rosanna Peng shot by Mike Rodriguez

Peng says, “The Creator Class is a space for creatives to be inspired by one another, but also a platform for them to share their work with like-minded people. It is an important space for young creatives because they need to be reminded that even though there is an over-saturation of image consumption today, their vision and voice is still important.”

The videos Peng has created for The Creator Class over the last three years span the gamut in terms of subjects. From those that highlight the work of leading figures in the art and music scene, to the ‘Cheat Sheet’ segment of videos, which teach viewers how to use specific photography tools and achieve certain effects, Peng’s work has helped to both inspire and inform other creatives.

 

The ORIGINALS: Go & Get It w/ WondaGurl, ft. DJ P-Plus video she created, which has garnered over 600,000 views on Youtube, gives viewers a rare peek into the creative process, personal inspiration and unique path to success of music producer WondaGurl, who began making beats at age 9 and has since been tapped by the music industry’s leading artists, such as  Travis Scott, Jay Z, Drake, SZA, Young Thug and Kanye West, to produce some of the hottest tracks on the market today.

“I feel proud of the finished video because I’m happy to share young female creative’s stories. I think a lot of people, male or female, view WondaGurl to be an immense source of inspiration and aspiration. Being able to share her story was a very rewarding feeling,” says Peng about the video.

As the videographer, Peng was in charge of not only shooting the video, but like most videos on The Creator Class channel, she edited the entire work as well. Her unique way of capturing her subjects, combined with her expertise as an editor and keen sense of pacing and rhythm, has endowed each video with a deeply personal aspect that gives viewers the experience of feeling as though they are right there in the room having a conversation with the subject in the video.

“I am naturally an introverted and sympathetic person. When I experience situations, I usually sit back and observe. My personality type lends itself to be a great videographer and editor because of my tendency to express myself through videos,” admits Peng. “I have a natural sense of pacing and timing in telling the story. I am also drawn to catching moments that most people look past or ignore. This allows my work to stand out from other work that captures more generic imagery.”


Coming on board as The Creator Class videographer early on in the channel’s inception, the visual content she’s created has bolstered the channel’s social media following exponentially  and established the tone and style the channel has become known for. Considering that one of the main reasons people turn to The Creator Class is to discover information about a broad range of topics through the videos they publish online, videos that for the most part have been created by Peng, it’s not a stretch to say that her work is the foundation on which The Creator Class community has formed.

She says, “Every video was output through my computer to make sure the editing tone and aesthetic matched the channel’s. I have a natural understanding of what current video trends were and brought those elements to the channel growing them to the 40,000 plus subscription base on YouTube and 154,000 follower count on Instagram today.“

Thanks in no small part to Peng’s inspiring work, The Creator Class earned the prestigious 2016 Gold AToMiC Shift Award, which honors breakthrough achievements in the realm of advertising, media, creativity, technology and content.

Former FREE Channel Manager Danielle Reynolds says, “Working with Rosanna is always an inspiring experience. She always pushes the creative boundaries while still maintaining an attention to fine detail. It amazes me how she has been able to teach herself videography.”

While she is primarily self taught as a videographer, Rosanna Peng studied graphic design in college, an area of study that has undoubtedly come in handy as quite a bit of the visual content she creates for clients are embedded alongside stationary graphics and text online. Her understanding of how the style of the video she is creating connects with the attitude of the brand and the overall visual layout has been imperative to her unparalleled ability to create a striking finished project that commands the attention of viewers across the globe– something that can easily be seen through her work as a videographer for MTV FORA and as a photographer for Society 6.

Last year Peng was hired by Society 6, an online marketplace that connects international artists and gives them a platform to sell their work, to photograph the images featured within the popular articles  LA Photographer Fauxly On The Realness of the Hustle and Art in the Wild: A Photo Essay. Considering that Society 6 has a massive reach with 344,000 followers on Instagram and 476,000 monthly viewers on their website in the U.S. alone, Peng’s shots for each project gained quite a bit of attention.

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Photographer Fauxley shot by Rosanna Peng for Society 6

For the Fauxley feature Peng captured LA photographer Fauxly in a series of dynamic and architecturally intriguing shots that reveal her in a way that feels natural and aesthetically lines up with the overall layout of the interview on the Society 6 site making it visually pleasing for viewers to read.

Peng explains, “I wanted to shoot her organically without too much posing. This was my approach for this photoshoot because the environments I brought her to had a lot of symmetry in architecture. By balancing an organic subject with a structured environment, it made for a well-balanced juxtaposition between the two.”

Rosanna Peng
Photo by Rosanna Peng for Society 6

For the Art in the Wild: A Photo Essay she was tapped to translate some of her favorite Society 6 designs into photographs in various outdoor environments. The unique images she captured create a bridge between the natural world and the Society 6 designs in a way that is mesmerizingly beautiful. Clearly Peng’s creative eye extends beyond videography and her design degree has been put to good use.

Rosanna Peng’s innovative, inspiring and diverse work has definitely struck a chord with audiences around the world. Stay tuned for the release of her next Society 6 project, which is a lookbook video shoot slated to be released on June 1. She is also currently working on a promo video for Canon Canada’s macro lens, which will be released in August.

Ariel Zhang talks living her dream, the importance of acting, and dancing in CD-9’s “Get Dumb”

head shot taken by Gerard Alba
Actress Ariel Zhang

From the time Ariel Zhang was a child, she always wanted to be a performer. Singing and acting were always her passions, and growing up in Beijing, China, she began to explore these passions, by studying vocal music, dance, and stage drama. At that time, she enjoyed being at center of the stage, being in the spotlight and being admired. As she grew, she began to appreciate the nuances to acting more and more. She wanted a colorful life, where she could constantly have different experiences and see through many different perspectives. She came to truly appreciate Sir Alex Guiness’ words “Acting is happy agony.” This realization solidified her future, and acting became her true love. Now, she is an award-winning actress, with international audiences appreciative of her talent.

I bring life to screen. Being an actress, I can pass all my energy to the audience with my performance. The successful performance of an actress gives vivid and direct descriptions of the hero to affect the inner heart of all the audiences. It also means that I could have the chance to experience the eternity of time and space as well as the immortality of life, as I could have the chance to act in roles from the far past to the never-ending future,” said Zhang.

And Zhang has done just that. She has portrayed characters from the ancient times, like in the film Mo Zi when she had the leading role of Song. She has represented large companies, such as Citic Bank, when they launched a campaign and commercial to help Chinese immigrants coming to the United States. She has used both her singing and acting capabilities while teaching young children English and Chinese with the interactive computer game PreSchool Play with Skoolbo. And she has captivated audiences around the world with her award-winning performance as a schizophrenic in the film Consumemate. There is no limit to what this versatile actress can achieve.

“I think that being an actress is a great almost holy job, where you can redeem people’s souls, just like doctors do to save people’s physical lives. I think that a theater is like a church, where people will get their souls purified. Watching the work of the actors, the audience will be able to look into their own minds, from which they will view the world and the society with some kind of criticism. Staying in a theater for two or three hours, the audience can be there observing themselves from the depths of their heart with quietness. This is the charm of the stage drama, which communicates with the audience by the performance of the actors. That is why I hope to have such power to influence the audience by my acting,” said Zhang.

While Zhang tells important stories, she always enjoys what she does. She always has fun, no matter what role she is playing. And sometimes, she plays roles just to have fun, going back to that thought she had as a child, that when you act, each day is different. That is exactly what happened when she was a dancing girl in Mexican pop band CD-9’s collaboration music video with South Korean girl group Crayon Pop, titled Get Dumb.

“It was fun to be one of the dancing girls. This music video doesn’t really have a proper story line to follow, so your character feels freer to do whatever feels right. In a commercial or a film, you can experiment with the character, but you know where the story is taking you, so this was different and fun,” said Zhang.

As a dancing girl in the video, Zhang got to dance in a pool that was in a fancy car, just laughing and having fun. The video gave her the opportunity to keep expanding her horizons, and work with foreign singers, something the actress had never done before.

“I felt out of my comfort zone, since I was dancing a different kind of music of that I usually listen to. But I felt comfortable enough to be myself and have fun with it. Also, as a dancer, the floor is my world, but having the unique opportunity of doing it in water, it was a nice experience,” she described.

Fellow actress Sabrina Percario worked with Zhang on the video, and describes her as extremely pleasant to work with, a reputation she carries with whatever she works on.

“Ariel is a sweetheart and very professional actress. She is a unique, dynamic and much desired creative artist. She brings to her work both enthusiasm and creative magic, and she excels in many specific areas that take her beyond the range of most artists in her peer group. She is able to play very different characters,” said Percario.

The video, produced by Sony Music, has over 2.5 million hits on YouTube alone. It is an upbeat song, made for dancing. That is exactly what Zhang did when she first saw the final product, and it made the experience even better.

“I was really happy with the video. When I got to see the music video online, I was so excited, that I danced and sang along with it,” she said. “CD-9 and Crayon Pop have so much energy, it’s contagious. Even though everyone was working so hard, they never went off. They kept the set working in a positive way with a smile in their faces. Everyone seemed to be happy to be working there that day.”

You can watch the Get Dumb music video here.

XIANG NAN GONG ENABLES THE PRODUCTIONS THAT TELL THE STORIES OF CHINA TO THE WORLD

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It has been said that everyone has a story. In the world of television and film production, writers and directors are considered to be the creators of these stories. While this may be true, without the mastery of a technical director and producer…none of these tales would ever reach an audience. Having a vision is a very different thing from having the skills and knowledge to manifest it. Xiang Nan Gong has served this role for decades at Shandong Radio and Television, earning him the status as one of China’s most respected professionals in this field. During his time with Shandong he oversaw the multiple technical facets in the creation of documentary and scripted series. From massive scale variety shows to location documentary series which told the history of the Chinese people, Gong designed and facilitated lighting, staging, sound, and a myriad of other components which are essential to delivering the filmmakers vision. Xiang Nan might be the least well-known member the production team but he is definitely the most vital.

As with all cultures, the Chinese people are interested in the history of their ancestors and land. A country of such immense size and variety of inhabitants has many stories to tell. “The Story of Yili River” is a documentary depicting the Yili River from the perspective of the cheerful running water line.  It explores the Yili river people’s folk customs, rich life, and delicacy. Gong focused on his expertise as a recording engineer for this production, recording and placing the authentic music of the inhabitants of this region to tell the folk customs of the people on both sides of the Yili River.

Xiang Nan worked closely with the director and a small team of professionals in the studio to create and recreate the sounds of the Yimeng People for the “Shandong Report.” Layering a series of sounds and sound patterns, Gong created the sound design with a mixture of authentic music, location recordings, and studio sonics which depicted the hard lives of these people. This village is surrounded by high mountains and steep cliffs, streams, and other harsh natural environmental factors. To properly recreate and communicate what these inhabitants experience required a consummate expert like Xiang Nan.

As technical director and producer on Shandong’s “Sun Bin Military Strategist”, Gong aided this production which tells of a man who also lived through a difficult situation but persevered and elevated himself to the level of great respect. Famous for receiving the punishment of face tattooing and having his knee caps removed, Sun Bin later became one of the most respected and trusted strategist of his country’s era. While remarking that his difficulties were nothing compared to Sun Bin’s, Xiang Nan concedes that the equipment of the 90s which he used was less than desirable for this thirteen-episode historical series. He tells, “Historical dramas are grand in scale with many layers of sound. This is what makes it so believable to the viewer. While your conscious mind may not notice it, something in your unconscious tells you that you are really there amidst these battle scenes and different locations due to the small details. Today’s state of the art technology makes the process much less cumbersome but back when we made this series, it took many hours to achieve what can happen in minutes now. Regardless, the finished product is what is important and ‘Sun Bin Military Strategist’ was very well received and popular.”

Another of Gong’s productions, “44 Notes” received international and domestic acclaim. “44 Notes” won the first prize from the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of radio and television, the “Golden Bridge Award” in the United States, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other countries and regions, and was adapted for television drama production at the center in Beijing. This documentary shows the bicycling trip of teacher Du Xiangjun and forty- four of his students (of the Zibo Normal School in the Shandong Province) as they made their way to the capitol to perform a concert. Along the way, they sing and experience a number of hardships on their journey. Half way between reality TV and unscripted drama, “44 Notes” called upon Gong to be prepared for an unlimited amount of variables that could affect the filming and recording of this production. Its international acclaim is a testament to his expertise on this project.

As a loving husband and proud father of a daughter, Xiang Nan was especially happy to assume the duties of technical director and producer of Shandong’s “The Charm of Women.”

The program is the first female Chinese series about female characters with outstanding contributions from all walks of life. It introduces the work, study, life, and successful careers of each woman. Shot in documentary style, Gong took particular care to oversee the lighting and sound to present these women with the respect and admiration which their achievements deserve. While certainly not the most famous subjects of the many productions he has overseen, Xiang Nan professes that they are among the most important because they serve as an example to current and future generations like his daughter, exhibiting the great importance and impact that Chinese women have on their families and society.

As the professional who literally “sets the stage” and supplies the sounds on a wide variety of productions, telling the stories of China’s past and present; with international award-winning productions to his credit, the respect of his industry, and a long history at Shandong Radio and Television, Xiang Nan Gong is among the elite technical directors and producers who continues to bring new ideas to an ever expanding production community.

EVA YE IS CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED FOR WARM SMOOTH MEAN

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Conflict is a deeply embedded part of our lives; no question. It’s ironic that in an attempt to escape the day to day difficulties which we experience, we often find escape by watching the problems of fictional characters in films. Most of us are oblivious to the fact that the filmmakers who grant us this means of solace experience an ample amount of conflict themselves in their endeavors. Cinematographer Eva Ye experiences conflict constantly with her involvement in films. It might be hazardous conditions, inclement weather, differing opinions on set, and others factors. The main difference is that when Eva deals with these factors, budgets and artistic expression hang in the balance. Ye has a reputation for keeping a cool head while getting the desired shot. For anyone who has even been on set during a production, that’s much easier said than done. Whether she is the DP on a TV production, music video, film, or any manner of creative filmmaking, Eva’s small size holds big ideas and large talent. Come to think of it, she’s a bit of a contradiction herself with so much talent inside a small container.

Ye’s work on the film Warm Smooth Mean (Official Selection of First Look Film Festival) has received great praise. This film with its surprising reveal near the end is full of mystery and tension. Warm Smooth Mean follows Hunter Nelson, a young man troubled by the suicide of his father River Nelson. River was the singer of a legendary country duo named Silent Station. When Hunter receives a royalty check from his father’s work, he travels to a small town to give the check back to his father’s former bandmate Jerry Lee McCoy…and to search for the answers behind River’s untimely passing years ago.

Jess Maldaner (director of Warm Smooth Mean) and Eva worked extensively in preproduction to make their plan for the film. Past experience had taught them that having the film specifically and painstakingly planned out would benefit them later. While the industry has been around long enough to make it difficult to create a truly “original” premise, the look and stylized quality of a film can often set it apart. The first part of the film takes place in Oklahoma and the lighting appears soft, mellow, and yet somewhat cold as Hunter begins his journey. As the film goes on, the secret reveals, the fight ensues, and the filmmakers begin to use more harsh and warm light to construct the scene, which heightens the stakes.

Ye’s work is center stage in perhaps the most climactic scene of the entire film. She describes, “Because of my dance background, my strong ability to operate a handheld camera is something that makes a lot of sense to me. I’m not a strong person. I’m actually quite petite compared to a lot of operators, standing at 5’4” and 110 lbs. To be able to move a camera with my hand quite intuitively is something I’ve learned through years of dancing. The rehearsing was definitely crucial in achieving this shot. We spent almost the whole night shooting this scene. There were at least 10-15 times of me moving with the actors without the camera to test out camera positions. When it came to the actual shooting, I knew exactly where I needed to go. There were people spotting me from behind in case I ran into something when I was backing up. I backed up with the actor coming towards me and stopped when he stopped. I pushed in when he got a hit in the face and fell backwards. It all worked out really naturally. Planning and rehearsing was the core of getting the scene right.” Director Jess Maldaner augments this description stating, “Eva’s handheld camera operation in this crucial fight scene was flawless! Her creative instincts allowed her to deliver the perfect amount of camera movement in the shots to create a high level of tension for the viewing audience. Eva’s work was paramount to the final look and emotional effectiveness of Warm Smooth Mean. Her technical skills coupled with her understanding of how to convey an emotional experience visually was a huge asset to the final film. She is a master of camera movement. She is also that rare exceptionally talented artist who is completely free of ego. ”

Sometimes your talent is welcomed, other times it requires some convincing when opinions differ. While filming one of the opening scenes which required some very smooth and stable camera work, the production found themselves without a car mount for the camera. While Maldaner was convinced of the need for green screen to achieve the look for the shot (taking place on a bumpy stretch of highway in Palmdale), Eva was convinced that the quickly disappearing sunlight would not accommodate this. Arbitration was in process and Ye held to the fact that her abilities and ideas would get the desired effect with greater expediency…which it did. The finished scene shows a steady shot with the blurred flat desert outside the window. Conflict averted, artistic vision intact.

Part psychosexual thriller, part art-house film, Shen is a unique portrait of desire and domination in their most cerebral and bodily manifestations. Conflict abounds in the storyline and the imagery Eva produced for this film propels it. Shen’s life is irreversibly altered when she discovers an anonymous artist has drawn her in an erotic position. After a series of strange occurrences, Shen realizes this man is drawing her future. Though her obsession with him begins as a mere daydream, his continual re-appearance starts to make her question what is real and what is hallucination. Meanwhile, her relationship with her fiancé takes a turn for the worse as he suspects she is fantasizing about someone else. His desire to control her reaches a fever pitch after he invades her journal and uncovers her disturbing secrets.

Writers Jace Casey (also the director of Shen) and Abigail Flowers understood that they needed an exceptional DP to create the mood and look which the storyline evoked. Ye’s reel had suspense, romance, thrillers, drama, & music videos. The style of shots and feeling delivered in Eva’s camera language clicked with theirs. While Casey had a plethora of experience in theater and as an actor, having an accomplished cinematographer like Ye greatly aided his process for this film. Eva recalls one scene in particular in which she was able to use her abilities to aid her director recalling, “On set, we maintained communication and respect for each other constantly. There was one occasion when we needed to take a shot of the downstairs swimming pool through the point of view of the actor standing at the 30th floor apartment window. In Jace’s mind, he knew that’s what he wanted but he was unsure if the focal length of the lens, the height of the camera, and the tilt-down angle of the lens barrel were appropriate to convey the action. He was on the verge of eliminating the shot. My experience and knowledge of such shooting situation helped Jace to understand how we could achieve this particular shot, which turned out just the way he wanted if not better. I think it is the understanding of the fine line between a creative collaborator and a loyal supporter of his original vision that made us work so well together.”

The fruit of that cooperation among the two resulted in a film whose achievements include: Harlem International Film Festival “Top Short” (2016), Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival “Best Escapism Film” (2016), and Official selection of Studio City Film Festival, Laughlin International Film Festival, & Monarch Film Festival (2016).

While there are so many talented filmmakers in the industry these days, ability alone is not the deciding factor in regards to who other professionals choose to work with. Many times it is the proper combination of expertise, artistic vison, and temperament that win out. Eva agrees, “My ability to always find the right angle makes me incredibly versatile, yet I am also very strong and firm with my suggestions. I know what I want, yet am willing to consider alternative options. That is a courtesy I always offer to my fellow filmmakers as well. The willingness to listen to others while believing in yourself is an asset. I’d like to think that my calm presence on set helps create a balanced, mindful atmosphere for shooting. Even when things may not be going right, you should always find a way to stay focused, remain positive, and strategize.”

 

YVETTE GREGORY IS WINE TASTING

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While actress Yvette Gregory looks like Beatriz Jones, the character she plays in the Eros Panhellenios 2017 film Wine Tasting, the dichotomy is clear when you study each woman. It’s even more clear for the woman who becomes the other. The two may share some history with wine, Gregory’s family has a vineyard (Hentley Farm in South Australia) and Jones is in a relationship with a sommelier, but that’s close to the only intersection for these two. While Beatriz is a bit “tightly wound”, Yvette has been an artist seeking out challenges since her days as a child on set in her homeland of Australia. It’s ironic that it takes someone as free spirited as Gregory to convincingly portray the constrained Jones. It’s just one aspect in a series of counter intuitive preconceptions you might make about Gregory…which you’ll soon learn to realign.

Having already experienced a highly successful acting career in Australia and enjoying a comfortable living would be enough for most of us but for Gregory there is always a new mountain to climb. Entertainment is in her DNA (her mother was a model) and she was in front of the camera while still in her single digits. Acting was as everyday as…well, everyday life. While notoriety and financial compensation is the definition of success for most people, new challenges and the pursuit of her craft are paramount for Yvette. Leaving her stable and successful acting career, family, and friends in Australia; this actress headed to Los Angeles in search of success in Hollywood.

The pursuit of success and the conflict it can cause is the theme of Wine Tasting in which Gregory portrayed Beatriz Jones, the girlfriend of aspiring Sommelier Ed Tate (played by Josh Thrower). Wine Tasting follows four men who have struggled and sacrificed vast swaths of their personal and professional lives to become professional wine tasters. When all but one of them passes the incredibly difficult sommelier certification test, the ensuing conflict threatens to tear their close-knit group apart. Yvette’s character is one of the men’s girlfriends, and throughout the film she struggles to maintain their relationship as his wine-tasting obsession becomes overwhelming. Wine Tasting’s Award Winning script by Justin Samuels has won awards at Film Festivals including: the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival, Evolution and Mallorca International Film Festival, and is an Official Selection to the San Rafael Film Festival. The theme of success, community, and conflict is not foreign to Yvette or her chosen profession. She comments, “Of course we all have that little green monster inside of us. I would say it’s probably even more prevalent in the entertainment Industry. Everyone has their own path and if you stay in line long enough, your turn will eventually come. I have friends who have found success back home and in Hollywood very quickly and others who have hustled for decades. I know my biggest character defect is when I start to compare myself to someone else. It’s good to take a step back, look at what you have accomplished and find gratitude for everything you have achieved so far. The main difference is if you recognize these things in yourself or if you impulsively act on them. One of the great things about acting is that you do a lot of introspection, which allows you to not just react without thinking.” Gregory is much more actualized than the main characters of Wine Tasting who are sometimes defined by the situations that occur in their lives.

Yvette’s role as adult escort Stephanie in Amazon’s “Private Sales” couldn’t be further from herself or Beatriz but the role gave the actress a great deal of exposure, leading to opportunities such as her role in Wine Tasting. While “lady of the evening” may not cause you to think “girlfriend”, the producers of Wine Tasting recognized something in the portrayal that worked exceedingly well. Gregory agrees, “I think my role in ‘Private Sales’ played a big a part in this casting even though Beatriz who I was cast as in Wine Tasting couldn’t be any more different than the role I played in ‘Private Sales’! Beatriz is totally reserved and a bit of a prude with jealousy and trust issues about her boyfriend. I think I pull off the pretty nerd look and that’s Beatriz’ vibe, which helped casting decipher the role for me pretty quickly. Beatriz is a bit conservative and reserved but isn’t afraid to tell it how it is when it gets to the breaking point. She really loves Ed but is torn because he slowly becomes more and more distant, showing little respect for her time. Relationships are hard at the best of times but, when a relationship is new and other commitments seem to become more important, it really tests the trust and stability of the relationship. Beatriz is intelligent, articulate and loving but she is also a little emotionally immature. They both have a lot of growing up to do.”

The conflict that comes from a lack of time is not restricted to relationships and their love. Yvette was cast as Beatriz almost as filming was set to start. Even when you love what you do, a cramped timeline can lead to anxiety. Inevitable last minute changes occur, as in all productions, but the time afforded most actors to truly and deeply understand their character was significantly reduced for this actress…not that you would ever know it. Wine Tasting’s director, Josh Miller, declares, “Yvette is an exceptional actress with everything a director could want from a performer. Her ability to adapt to changes in the material is remarkable, and her talent for improvisation is second to none. Yvette was one of Wine Tasting’s most valuable assets.” You won’t hear any complaining about the twelve plus hour shooting days or lack of prep time from Gregory who is fully aware that she is living out her dream. Even though dreams don’t come easy, they do come with perks. Yvette remarks, “Shooting at the famous Saban Theater in Beverly Hills was a special treat. With all the history of the great actors who have performed there, it demanded excellence of all of us. If I were to be honest, that’s the reason I left behind what I had already achieved in Australia. I wanted to be working in a new setting that demanded excellence from me. Travelling to Hollywood to work alongside those who I perceived to be at the upper echelon of the industry, that’s what success means to me…and it feels pretty great.”

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A Star Behind the Scenes: Victoria Marino on Adventurous Filming Around the World.  

Victoria Marino
Production Coordinator Victoria Marino representing Brazilian Production Services at the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival

 

The rapid pace and apparent dangers of reality competition shows set in the jungle and outback might suggest that productions simply throw contestants into unchartered territories, leaving them to fend for themselves. In actuality, hugely successful shows like “The Wheel” on which Victoria Marino is a production coordinator, require a detailed set of procedures, top-notch crew, and a precise plan of action to coordinate. We sat down with Victoria to discuss the importance of her role, how she got to where she is in her career, and why she loves her position in the entertainment industry.

That Victoria has a diverse skill set is simply one reason why she has provided indispensable contributions to film and television productions, particularly those shows filmed in South America. It helps that the company through which she completes most of her assignments, Figura Media (aka Brazil Production Services), specializes in premium documentaries shot in Brazil and has been responsible for the Netflix hits “Chef’s Table” and “Fearless.”

“Speaking the local language, understanding the work culture, having the local contacts of competent crew, equipment houses, etc, and having knowledge of Brazilian locations is what allows me to do my job,” explains Victoria.

She also tells us that her bilingual skill set definitely sets her apart, explaining, “The fact that I am Brazilian, but have lived in the US for a few years now, speak perfect English and have knowledge of American culture allows me to completely understand the needs of my clients and deliver results up to their expectations or hopefully, surpass them.”

For the survival show “The Wheel,” which airs on the Discovery Channel, Victoria had the critical responsibility of being the production coordinator for two of the Brazilian shooting locations out of the show’s six. Because those two locations were the Amazon Rainforest and the Pantanal certainly would have added obvious challenges, not to mention that Victoria helped lead a team of 40 people employed over a period of three months to make this production happen.

Ultimately though, Victoria enjoyed overcoming such obstacles. “‘The Wheel’ was a project in which I learned a lot because it was so big and so fast paced. I had to be connected with the crew at all times, and be ready to solve any problems as fast and as efficiently as possible.”

Brazil Production Services not only works on reality shows like “The Wheel,” but as Victoria explains, acts for a number of other high-profile companies: “We serve a variety of clients for fiction, institutional and commercial projects, including but not limited to several shoots for the UFC, an institutional photoshoot for Addison Design and PEPSICO, a second unit for a Marvel Disney feature and others.”

That Marvel feature was just one example out of a large number of big-budget projects in which Victoria has played a critical role. She elaborates, “I love that I get to work on a variety of projects that have different a theme, size and scope, and allow me to learn about the many different aspects of producing while adapting to the specific needs of each job.”

It’s not just Victoria who holds the opinion that she played a key part in the success of these projects produced by Brazil Production Services. Jud Franklin, VP of Production at PIV who is also well known in the industry for his executive roles in UFC shows, proudly exclaimed that his team “could not have been happier with the expertise and critical role provided by [Victoria],” adding that they “look forward to [their] continued work with her at [BPS].”

So it’s probably safe to assume that there are more dangerous adventures coming up for this successful globetrotter.

“This year, some of the exciting projects we have coming up are a premium documentary about MMA for Netflix, an episode of the NBC show ‘The Voyager’ with Josh Garcia and the second unit of a Brazilian feature film shooting in Orlando.” She adds, “I am leading new marketing initiatives at BPS to get new Brazilian clients that want to film here in the USA also, since most of our clients are foreign clients that want to film in Brazil.”