C21 Restaurant

Danielle Levitt

Tool

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
I directed a film for HP a few years ago.

2) How did you get into directing? 
I have been a photographer for my entire adult life. I love documenting people and youth culture and through the photographic experience you end up learning a lot about your subjects. They open up, start to chat and share, but it does create a moment that is inherently singular. Your audience doesn’t really get to participate in all that story telling and sharing. When the first photo camera came out that was able to record video, I bought it and just started taking the time to interview my subjects on camera. It took time to teach myself how to use the technology, but it allowed me the opportunity to bring my exchange with my subjects to the wider audience so people could see what I saw.

3) What is your most recent project? 
I just made a film on my mother whom I love and I wanted to immortalize her spirit.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 
I love the creative process of being a director, I love telling stories, I love getting the opportunity to have people listen and watch. Making stories move is exciting.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 
Overnight shoots!

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.? 
I am not limited right now, I am still in the exploration phase. I love directing and while I love a doc, im excited to do a narrative.

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 dont have a mentor although there have been quite a few people in my life who have shown so much generosity that Ive learned from them.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 
Kahlil Joseph--his work is visual poetry, haunting, honest, political and soulful. He refuses to mind rules and creates stories nonlinearly.

I'm so impressed by Ava Duvernay, she is a game changer, amazing story teller, beautiful visualist who pushes and disrupts and makes us feel so much.

I love how Steve McQueen started out the world as a artist and parlayed his vision into films ignoring all the rules of what he was supposed to do by either art world standards or commercial film standards. 

Barry Jenkins’ approach to Moonlight moved me to the core with its poetry and vision.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
I love how Nike uses it’s platform across the board. I think they make beautiful commercials, beautiful web spots, I think they have really great ethos for their story telling. What they try to convey through their web and commercials I am very inspired by. I also loved Lauren Greenfield “Like A Girl” Campaign. I love her work. I love John X Carey’s Dove beauty spots. Something that moves me, I’m a sucker for that.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I moved to New York at a young age to pursue my dreams. I worked as a street style photographer and a printer for the NY Post and got my start in fashion doing editorials with Vice Magazine, back when it was not a huge media company. I never assisted, and I didn’t go to college. I moved to NY and threw myself in it. I published my first monograph book “We are Experienced” by Powerhouse books and that was essentially a catalog of my running around the US photographing any odd outsider that would let me. I never thought twice about being a photographer. I felt and still feel born to tell stories through imagery and I am very lucky that my hard work was met with skill and talent. I feel blessed.

Contact

Oliver Fuselier, Tool

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