LEVI'S "Wear and Tear" spec commercial

David Kestin

1) How did you get into directing?
I’ve always taken photographs, made music, and written stories. I inevitably began combining these mediums which led me down the path to filmmaking, where I landed as a director, and couldn’t feel more at home.

2) What is your most recent project?
My last two short films, The Air Mattress and Open House, recently premiered at the New York Film Festival.

I’m currently writing a television show, a couple feature films, and directing music videos and branded content.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
Knowing that whatever you put into a project, you will get out of it. Often times after a grueling project you are exhausted, but when you see an audience connect with the work and have the experience you set out to create, you are rejuvenated by the human connection you’ve just formed, and you rush out to make the next project, because you feed on this connection that cannot be achieved any other way.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
This is a trick question; it’s the best thing in the world.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
In the same way that nothing in life has clear lines, neither do I envision the exploration of it. I’ve always found balance by immersing myself in the widest range of people and places I can reach, and so too do I know I will achieve balance by creating TV, movies, commercials, branded content, and all the other yet-to-be-discovered forms that the world is about to throw at us. One might say this is not possible, but I sleep very little, so I’m pretty sure I can pull it off.

6) 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 most with you?
Obviously my mom because she’s probably going to read this. And my dad and brother. They’re in different fields, but all brilliant and inspirational in the philosophical way they approach even the most technical quandaries. And I’ve been fortunate to have been bestowed the knowledge of my professors at NYU, Laura Belsey, Mick Casale, and Ken Friedman, just to name a few.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
Me. If what I wanted to see was already out there, I wouldn’t bother making it. But there are a lot of people that come in a close 2nd.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
If I name a favorite, I know I’ll wake up 5 times tonight in a cold sweat debating whether I should change my answer.

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
Born in New York, grew up in Cincinnati, moved back to New York. From age 14 worked as a pizza cook, Subway “Sandwich Artist”, retail clothing salesperson, telemarketer, Epson printer salesperson, etc. Grew up on skateboarding, hip-hop, electronic, and punk music. Love animals.