Where are you based and how did you first get into this line of work?
Before coming to Los Angeles, I used to be a professional ballet dancer with the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, in Switzerland. Even though dance played an important role in my life, the transition into film somehow felt natural, and I decided to just go for it. I went back to school, got my BFA at the New York Film Academy, Los Angeles, and since then, I haven’t stopped trying to pursue my passion for this medium.
How did you get the Land of the Strays project?
My wife, Adrienne, (we have the same name) showed me an article written by Elizabeth Claire Alberts for The Dodo about this incredible sanctuary. I was immediately inspired and wanted to help. So, after saving up, and with the help of family and friends, we set off to film this documentary.
What gear/cameras did you use and why?
The Director of Photography, Paul Theodoroff, and I agreed on using the Alexa Mini with Cooke Anamorphics. Cooke Anamorphics have a certain nostalgic quality and warmth to them, not in color, but in feeling. There’s a dreaminess there that we felt best evokes the innocence we all feel around dogs.
Did you plan out the story structure from the beginning or did it come out in post?
I definitely had clear objectives and questions in mind before going in, but because of a non-existent budget, I didn’t have the luxury of time or the flexibility of figuring out what to do upon getting there. Even though nothing we captured was staged or rehearsed, I knew what and where I wanted to film beforehand.
What do you do differently from other filmmakers?
There are so many filmmakers out there, it’s kind of hard to see or think of myself as different from the rest. I just do the work and focus on trying to be genuine. I just do what comes to mind and hope people will like it.
If you had to go back and do it all again, how would you get a foothold in the business?
If you don’t have any contacts in the industry, all you have is your work. So if I could go back, I’d just work much harder.
What’s the one secret tip, go-to trick that you use often that takes your work to the next level?
It’s definitely been a process, but the one “trick” I had to work on was being open to second opinions. Because no matter how much I love a take, a shot or an edit, if it’s not working… it’s not working.
What has been the hardest part of doing what you do?
Patience. Getting projects off the ground is a struggle that takes a lot of time, and I would often find myself this close to giving up.
What is currently the best part of doing what you do?
I enjoy the creative process; finding that idea or story, and watching it grow into something audiences can hopefully enjoy and relate to is the most gratifying part of my job.