Slick

Gregory de Maria

How did you get into directing?
I started directing about two years ago. For me, it was the direct path from my artistic background. I have been working as an art director in motion graphics and postproduction for eight years now. I have been passionate about filmmaking since my teenager years. All of the aspects of it are a sort of pinnacle of art to me—writing, visuals, music, etc. So logically now, I’m spending all my time and energy to conceptualize and produce complex and unique film projects. I am constantly working on artistic projects while preparing for future ventures.

What is your most recent project?
My latest project is called “Slick.” It’s a fully 3D animated piece for the London-based band Chew Lips. It was a long process to conceptualize and achieve this fantastic video. Many unique visual effects were involved. I designed and edited the entire video. Resident Creative Studio produced the video from start to finish. I had the pleasure of working with a small team of artists who put their hearts into this wonderful short film.

What is the best part of being a director?
I love to create amazing concepts and worlds for different purposes. Thinking and interacting with different artistic mediums is amazing. I love to create something interesting for an eventual audience, using all tools I can to make it happen. I’m very hands on, spending a lot of time researching and testing. It’s a logical creative process that you need to go through and dive into. Then perhaps you evolve and grow as an artist.

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?

My huge influences are painters, designers, composers and philosophers. Artists like Michelangelo, Caravaggio or Francis Bacon shaped my aesthetic. Philosophy helps me to write and conceptualize ideas. Music definitely leads how I envision rhythm and crescendo for a spot. I discovered movies and my love for them while I was in Art school. After that, influences such as Tarkovsky, Bergman, Kubrick, Scott or Lynch sculpted my imagination and my desire to be a part of filmmaking.

Who is your favorite director and why?
My favorite directors are Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Bruno Aveillan, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Glazer, Darren Aronofsky and Chris Cunningham. These directors spend an endless amount of time looking for the best materials they can get and then unite them all in an outstanding result. They respect Art and believe in its essential existence, tweaking every details without compromising. All of these artists always look for unique ways of creating stories with a remarkable aesthetic execution.

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial?
Good question! I have so many favorite movies and commercials. There are too many good pieces and talented artists out there. If I had to pick one of each recently I would select Assassination of Jesse James from Andrew Dominik or perhaps A Prophet from Jacques Audiard as best movie, and ‘Philips-Robot’ from Bruno Aveillan or ‘Carousel’ from Adam Berg as best commercial.

Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I am from Paris, France. I went to Art School for painting, drawing and Art history. Then I entered the ‘Gobelins’ for graphic design and animation video. Afterwards, I practiced filmmaking at ‘ENS Louis-Lumiere.’ Then I moved to NYC to work for Attik as a graphic designer before heading back to Paris, art directing for movies and commercials. In 2006, I came back to NYC to help start a creative studio called Resident, specializing in motion graphics, CG and VFX. I have been here four years and, now as reative director.