We had the good fortune of connecting with Noah DeBonis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noah, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always loved telling stories and entertaining people. When I was younger I was a bit of a class clown, and as I got older I started to explore filmmaking as a creative outlet and a way to make my friends laugh. Filmmaking gave me a means to take my silly ideas and stories and bring them to life. I had so much fun making short videos with friends, but I never saw it as a viable career path. In college, I discovered that making videos for people and businesses paid better than my on-campus job and was more fun, too. I began working as a freelance filmmaker, and I just kind of never stopped. After some encouragement from my loved ones and some luck with a few early short films that I directed, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking as a career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as both an independent filmmaker and in the commercial/branded world. My commercial work pays the bills and helps support the independent projects that I do. It’s been difficult balancing the independent side of filmmaking and also working full time as a freelancer, but I feel very lucky to have a foot in both worlds and to work with great colleagues and collaborators. I’m really excited about the current project I’m working on titled Strangers to Peace. It’s a feature documentary that follows the stories of three former guerrilla child soldiers in Colombia who took part in the Colombian conflict. It follows them as they try to rebuild their lives after leaving the war. The project has been made with a small but passionate crew over the course of several years, and we’re currently nearing the end of editing. It has been a difficult journey making this film, including filming in active war zones and embedding in Colombia for several months at a time, but I’m really proud of the work we’ve done on the project and can’t wait to share it with the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
L.A. has so many great things to do, but I’ve really fallen in love with the secret stair walks of L.A. These are old public staircases built throughout the city, which used to connect isolated neighborhoods to main thoroughfares before car roads were built. These staircases still run through many forgotten and interesting parts of the city that you may not see otherwise. It’s so much fun to explore them and to see a different side of L.A. by foot. When it comes to food, it’s hard to beat Thai Town! I have a few favorite spots that I’m pretty loyal to. Shoutout to Spicy Thai BBQ!
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?
I owe a big shout out to all the collaborators that I work with both as an independent filmmaker and in the commercial world. This type of work is incredibly collaborative and couldn’t be done without talented coworkers and friends. On a more personal note, It took me a long time to work up to having the confidence to fully pursue working as a filmmaker. My parents are super cool and always told me to go for it. Encouragement means so much, and without theirs I would never have taken the leap. I met my wife, who is also a filmmaker, while making an independent documentary together. We now work together as creative partners, which has been the most incredible blessing.