We had the good fortune of connecting with Alessandro Gentile and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alessandro, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Being a risk taker as a filmmaker can easily change the trajectory of your career in an instance. After film school I was in a limbo and didn’t know how to stay involved with filmmaking. At the time I was anti-LA and decided to give Northern California a shot. I soon got involved on some independent feature films as a production manager, later moved on to become a producer. But it wasn’t fulling for me. I knew I wanted to be behind the camera, so I started filming music videos and documentaries on the side. Then in 2003 a film student colleague of mine asked me to be his director of photography on his first feature film, “In Your Eyes”. I was reluctant at first because I felt like I still needed to learn more. The director really wanted me to be a part of the film and felt comfortable with me. So I took the risk. The film ended up having it’s world premiere at the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival and later went on to receive full distribution. At that moment I was faced with making a big decision… Do I stay in NorCal or do I venture back home to Los Angeles to pursue a career in cinematography. Yet another risk but I decided to jump into the cinematography program at UCLA. Since then I shot the pilot for the Emmy Award winning series “Schitt’s Creek”, have garnered an award for my work on the feature film “Trade”, and have been part of projects like “Marisol”, “Cans At Dawn” that have won many awards and even premiered at Canne’s in France.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2009 my wife and I had our first child of 3. At the time the market had just crashed, so work took a dip. I was holding on to an online sales job to keep things consistent at home. I still had the flexibility to do my film work but had to balance everything out. We were currently living in the ever growing neighborhood of Eagle Rock in Northeast LA. I wanted to keep my roots in film and reached out to a local art organization about the possibility of starting up a short film series in the area. It was established in 2011 and called the NELAart Short Film Series. That idea grew into creating and founding the first official film festival in Northeast LA in 2014, The Highland Park Independent Film Festival (HPIFF). Our home was at the 100 year old Highland Theatre in the heart of Highland Park, and was a place to showcase unique local and international films. I met and collaborated with many wonderfully talented filmmakers. But sadly after 9 years I decided to step down as the artistic director and put all my focus on directing and my camera career. Since then I no longer do a side job. My day job is being a CINEMATOGRAPHER, and I have gone on to direct my first short film, “Lodo”. “Lodo” has already garnered an award and had it’s world premiere in my alma mater town of Santa Barbara. Two weeks ago it had it’s Los Angeles premiere at the prestigious Dances With Films Festival in the heart of Hollywood. Currently I’m directing a female boxing film titled “Della” and meeting with the New Zealand Film Commission to apply for their government film grant. [Add]In 2009 my wife and I had our first child of 3. At the time the market had just crashed, so work took a dip. At the time I was holding on to an online sales job to keep things consistent at home. I still had the flexibility to do my film work but had to balance everything out. We were currently living in the ever growing neighborhood of Eagle Rock in Northeast LA. I wanted to keep my roots in film and reached out to a local art organization about the possibility of starting up a short film series in the area. It was established in 2011 and called the NELAart Short Film Series. That idea grew into creating and founding the first official film festival in Northeast LA in 2014, The Highland Park Independent Film Festival (HPIFF). Our home was at the 100 year old Highland Theatre in the heart of Highland Park, and was a place to showcase unique local and international films. I met and collaborated with many wonderfully talented filmmakers. But sadly after 9 years I decided to step down as the artistic director and put all my focus on directing and my camera career. Since then I no longer do a side job. My day job is being a camera man, and I have gone on to direct my first short film, “Lodo”. “Lodo” has already garnered an award and had it’s world premiere in my alma mater town of Santa Barbara. This weekend it will have it’s Los Angeles premiere at the prestigious Dances With Films Festival in the heart of Hollywood.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite place to hang out is Highland Park. You can frequently see me at the corner of Figueroa and Avenue 56. Some places I like are Greyhound Bar & Grill, Highland Park Bowl, Home State, and Goldline. But the place I love the most for dancing and good times is The Offbeat Bar on York and Avenue 64.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As I think back I realized that I’m where I’m at because some one saw talent in me and brought me along the ride with them. Trae Briers is that loyal friend from film school who pulled me into shooting his first feature film back in 2003. The follow up film was “Trade” that garnered me a best cinematography award at the Brazil Int’l Film Festival. We are now in pre-production with our third feature titled “Cuate” which will star Emilio Rivera from the Mayan’s M.C. Another director that has been very loyal since we first met is Juan Escobedo. We started off filming some short low budget PSA’s about low income children health, then have gone on to not only film a short film “Marisol” that was shortlisted at the Academy Awards, but some entertaining PSA narrative shorts about being sexually safe. Lastly my old college friend Clive Tollman who owns Digipulse Productions. I was able to grow as a commercial director with Clive’s company and am truly grateful.

Website: https://www.gentileimages.com/

Instagram: @alessandro_dop, @lodoshortfilm, @dellashortfilm

Other: https://www.gentileimages.com/lodo

Image Credits
Heather Flores Tim Karau

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