We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Albanese and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maya, what principle do you live by?
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. If you feel something deeply, I believe you should at least try to realize it, communicate it or build it. At the end of our lives, what is that feeling worth, if it was silenced.
Tell us about you art— What are you most proud of or excited about? Was it easy? How did you overcome challenges?
If being a film director is easy, then the grass is in the clouds, and the clouds are in the grass. Seriously, if you want to do something easy, please don’t go into directing. I want to tell you a great story of how I got here, but I don’t even know where I am on the spectrum of getting somewhere..? Cinema is a massive art form that takes an army to craft – a marathon, not a sprint. One must embrace the process vs. getting anywhere I think. It’s a miracle every time a film gets made. Then, if it’s any good, it’s whatever you think is fatter and juicier than a miracle.
I’ve worked incredibly hard and plan to continue to do so, because I do feel that I’m doing my calling. Visual storytelling is my vehicle of personal expression, activism, commentary, philosophizing, connecting with others, a mode of survival. Since I feel grounded in my purpose, I think sometimes I feel more at-ease on a film set than in regular life. My actors and crew feel like family, and I feel much joy in the process and in embracing creative risks. What I hope will be known about my work is that it builds worlds for you to enter, layered with meaning, which makes you feel something, makes you think.
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.
LA – sprawling and overwhelming – I’ve hardly scratched the surface! A tour with me at the helm is going to focus on cinema, music, fine arts, and of course, great food + wine. There’s probably nowhere in the world where you could see so many classic films, new films before anyone else does, red carpet premieres, etc. So why not start with a night at New Beverly Cinema to see a 35mm print of a great classic. Then, we’d do a couple visits to some of the amazing flea markets and record fairs, like Rose Bowl Flea. We must walk a lot around some of my favorite LA corners, like Laurel Canyon, Malibu, Silverlake and Highland Park. Few people walk a lot here, but you know what, you can! I almost always end up somehwere between Highland Park and Silverlake for great natural wine, international cuisine, European bread – restaurants and bars filled with other people killing themselves trying to make movies and records. Oh, LA.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d never have enough space here to thank all the people who have inspired and mentored me to become a filmmaker, and who continue to support me. My film community consists of incredible producers, technicians, artists, funders, family and friends. But I’d like to dedicate this particular shoutout to a few people who are my biggest supporters on my next film – Rebecca Maar, Lisa Crnic and Lauren Selman.
Caleb Heymann Stephanie Pia Ryan Wimsatt