1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
A little over two years ago, I was art directing at Atlantic Records and was asked to direct the official music video for Toyboy & Robin’s newly released track, "Save Me Now." The concept for the film was to let the music drive two main characters, a dancer and an animation. All the shots with the dancer (Taylor Lashae) would later be animated over (Delcan & Co.) and filming while keeping in mind the animations that would eventually be in each scene kept us all on our toes. Save Me Now was later awarded a coveted Vimeo Staff Pick, which I was proud of.
2) How did you get into directing?
I come from a design and advertising background, and put in some time art directing and writing for ad agencies. I would see stories I had written and art directed be given to directors to film and finish, and I knew immediately that I had to switch teams: I wanted to be on the production side, writing and directing work from concept though to color. I buckled down and began writing and directing my own pieces, and moonlighting as a director.
3) What is your most recent project?
My most recent project is a political and poetic short film, released early this year. Based on the viral poem by Maggie Smith that seized the mood (and social-media accounts) of so many people in the tumultuous year that was 2016, Good Bones is the fantastical story of a mother trying to navigate how to shield her daughter from the injustice and disillusionment of the world she’s brought her into. Written, directed, produced and post produced by an all female team, the 4 minute film was made for Motion Poems Season 8 and aims to capture the power, political strength and courage within women and mothers.
4) What is the best part of being a director?
The best part about being a director, by far, is making things and coming up with ideas (at times even seemingly unfeasible ideas), and being able to bring them to life and problem solve them with an amazing team of people. I am always in awe at the talent and expertise in each person I work with on set and in post. It is humbling to be part of something larger than yourself.
5) What is the worst part of being a director?
Directing is like a doorway into many different worlds, and staying flexible and adaptable is important. I would say the most challenging parts of being a directing can also be the best parts: problem solving on the fly, and finding the best ways to communicate ideas to many different personalities (clients, crew, talent) can take a lot of resilience.
6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
My current career focus is in commercials and branded content. With that said, my “after hours” and “weekends” are usually filled by my personal projects, a short film or new screenplay.
7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I don’t have one specific mentor, however I do love to stay surrounded by people who remind me and show me what “not giving up” looks like. I suppose I could also add that when I need an extra push of inspiration or motivation, I instagram-stalk Reed Morano, a fellow female-mom director whose not afraid to hold up an Alexa while 8 months pregnant. She’s an inspiration.
8) Who is your favorite director and why?
Oh man. This question always feels like a trap: I love Wes Anderson and always will. His dialogue and characters are like poetry, and his color palettes and production design are like a pandora’s box of candies. I am now closely following the work of Sean Baker, since I fell in love with his film The Florida Project.
9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite TV shows are Vice News and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. My favorite movie is currently The Grand Budapest Hotel, and my favorite documentary is Visages Villages, which just came out and I highly recommend.
10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up with one foot in New York and one in Rome, Italy. My family is a herd of Roman antique dealers, painters and illustrators. In the past I have worked in the music industry, art directing projects for a variety of artists including projects for the Grammy Award Winning Skrillex & Diplo album Jack Ü.
Anaïs La Rocca
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