This week we’re joined by Chicago musician, filmmaker, & photographer, Gianna Aquilina!
(This interview was edited and condensed for clarity)
CA: Hey Gianna! Hit us with your bio.
GA: Hi, my name is Gianna Aquilina and I am a Director of Photography.
CA: What attracted you to cinematography?
GA: I think one of the first things that attracted me to cinematography was in high school and even younger, just picking up a camera and shooting stuff, seeing what interested me, and how I can show others what I was interested in and the way I could tell that through storytelling. I think when I got into high school, I really realized that I loved concentrating on what was in the frame. And looking at camera angles and using tips and tricks and, you know, perspective to warp that into what the viewer, what we're trying to get them to think or feel. And when I got to college, I realized that was cinematography.
CA: What artists have inspired you lately?
GA: Lately during this whole pandemic. The people and artists that have been inspiring me the most are honestly, you guys. A lot of us have been having to find ways to make art and tell the stories that we want to tell and I think Corona has really made us go back to our roots of why we're in this industry and what type of stories we're trying to get out there. And a lot of that has to do with going back to small, indie productions and DIY projects and doing things solely for ourself.
CA: What was it like returning to set?
GA: I think I was worried that I would go back into the film industry, on set and kind of missing my break, but it was quite the opposite. I was so pumped when things got hectic again. And I think it made me realize that I really love what I do and I am so blessed to be able to worry about and get stressed over making art and making films.
CA: Do you have any favorite gear?
GA: A lot of the times people do have favorites– which is fine. I think you totally can say, I loved using this camera. I loved using this glass, et cetera, this light's awesome. But I think a lot of the times people need to still be aware that they should expand the horizons with the equipment that they're using. I think people say, "Oh, Red, Arri, Panavision," those cameras have a price tag for a reason. And it's true. They are great cameras, but I think that they're not always the go-to. I think more people need to have fun with gear and work with a bunch of different cameras, a bunch of different glass that way, depending on what story you're trying to tell, you know exactly what you want to use.
CA: Wild card– What's the most underrated part of filmmaking?
GA: Being able to work with people who you think are awesome. And they're just your friends and really dope co-workers. I think I don't know a lot of jobs that allow you to just pretty much collaborate and get to hang out with people that you decide people that are in your network, people that are in your community, that you truly feel are respectful and you have a really fun time collaborating with them and bouncing off ideas, feeling inspired by them. I don't know a lot of jobs that allow you to work with coworkers that truly are your friends.
CA: Thank you, Gianna!
GA: Thanks so much for listening to me, you guys. Again, my name is Gianna Aquilina. I'm a director of photography. If you wanted to get in contact with me on my social, it's my Instagram at dp_gigi, or you can contact me on my website, which is giannaaquilina.com. Thank you so much and stay safe!
Check out the video interview (and all our #filmmakerfriday videos on Youtube):