Featured Voices: Florencia P. Marano

November 27, 2019 6 min read

Featured Voices: Florencia P. Marano - Movo

Movo has created Featured Voices to help customers share their stories. To learn more about this initiative or apply to be featured,click here.

This month's Featured Voice is Florencia P. Marano, an Argentinian-Spanish director and editor based in Los Angeles. Florencia took time out of her busy schedule to join us for an interview on her latest directorial work and her journey to becoming the incredible filmmaker she is today.

How long have you been making films?

I've been making films for almost 20 years now. I shot my first narrative short film when I was 18 years old at a film school in Argentina. At the time, I was also working as an AD for commercials and sport TV shows. A little later, at the age of 23, I moved to Spain and started filming documentaries. I created documentaries for TV Spanish Networks as a writer and director and made experimental documentaries for art galleries. Later in Los Angeles, I began taking on editing jobs.

What inspired you to get into the industry?

I have a strong desire to tell stories in a visual way, and I've also always wanted to portray people that I really admire. For both of these reasons, I was inspired to get into the industry, and, little by little, I started experimenting with filming documentaries. I choose characters that I admired and created stories that allowed me to both empathize with and look up to the main character.

What did your first film look like? What was it about?

My first film was a short about a family drama. The main character, Pedro, was a teenager who wanted to go out for the night to see his girlfriend. His mom, who used to be sick in bed, manipulates him and the rest of the family to keep them at home to take care of her at all times. It was shot in Super VHS, an oldie but goodie - it has a pretty 90s look to it.

Florencia P. Marano

Florencia P. Marano directing her latest feature documentary film.

When going out to shoot, what gear can’t you leave the house without?

I think it's important to get the right gear depending on the project. All situations and films are different - the needs can be special depending on the environment. This all is especially true when filming a documentary. Sometimes it's not useful to bring a big camera and expensive gear to shoot a scene where access to a certain group of people is complicated. Having all of that equipment could ruin the spontaneity of the situation. It is important to analyze the best balance for each film or sequence.

While shooting photos, I can't leave the house without an extra camera 35mm reflex. I like shooting with digital, but I also reshoot the images that I like the most with the film. I love the analog camera Canon EOS 650 with the canon 24-70 usm lens.

What kind of camera do you prefer to work with? And lenses? Why?

My favorite combination is an Arri Alexa mini with prime Cooke S4/i Lenses. I love this format because it creates a very pure image with great quality - the right color correction can make it look very cinematic. Also, I like to challenge myself shooting with prime lenses instead of using a zoom because it makes the scene more observational. Sometimes with a zoom, I change the frame pretty often trying to catch everything, but I regret it while editing. I'd rather have a scene where I can see the situation in a calm and delicate way.

You’ve studied and worked in the industry in Argentina and Spain and are now based out of Los Angeles - what has it been like working as a filmmaker internationally?

Studying and working in different countries is very interesting. I've also filmed in Senegal for two projects, and the experience was really inspiring - one of the most important experiences in my career. It was great meeting people from around the globe with the same passion for film and of course exploring new cultures, languages, food, etc. Traveling the world is key in creating growth in any filmmaker.

Something I’ve learned from all those places and interacting with talented artists I worked with is that you always have to be humble and open to new ways of working. I will be forever thankful to the crews in Dakar, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and LA. It's a huge gift meeting people who add their own magic to the projects you work on.

Ton Ombre by Edith Crash official music video directed by Florencia P. Marano

How (if at all) does the film industry differ from Los Angeles to Argentina?

The most notorious difference between the two is the number of projects and production companies you can find in the US.

In Los Angeles, once you are involved in the industry, you can choose what kinds of projects you want to be part of for the next few months, something more independent, or more commercial, maybe a documentary, etc. On a personal level, this is great. I've never seen that many options in any other city.

In Argentina, art is a part of everyday life - it's an inspiring place where everybody is related to the creative world in one way or another. However, it's not easy to make a living just working on movies. The majority of films are produced with an extremely tight budget. In a sense, this can be great because it pushes you to find your creativity to make the story work, but financially, it is quite a struggle.

While living in Los Angeles, you’ve primarily worked as a freelance editor for such studios as Fox Studios, and Sundance Award-winning director, Rafal Zielinski. What’s it like balancing your own feature-film documentary work and your editorial jobs?

I have learned a lot while working as an editor for other directors. Having that kind of experience is extremely useful when designing the shot list of my own projects. Also, being able to see the creative process and passion of talented directors, such as Rafal, has been very encouraging.

On the other hand, sometimes witnessing issues in the editing room helps me to be more efficient on set. I am able to ensure that I get all the shots needed to properly edit the film together to tell a strong story.

Working as a professional editor and shooting my personal films at the same time is very intense - sometimes, I create the script and the production design before getting into the office very early in the morning, and I shoot the weekends during my free time. It's a little stressful, but I am very grateful to have the opportunity to do it and to be passionate about it.

Has the journey to becoming the incredible filmmaker that you are today presented any challenges along the way?

Yes, a lot. And I continue to run into challenges to this day.

There is a constant struggle financially, such as finding investors for projects, being rejected from a lot of calls, being respected as a female filmmaker - the list goes on and on.

Edith Crash, shot by Florencia P. Morano
Edith Crash, shot by Florencia P. Morano

Edith Crash shot by Florencia P. Marano

What do you hope to achieve with the films you create?

I hope to achieve a piece that is respectful, strong visually, and moving. One of my main goals is to ensure that the people who are involved in the project (especially if it's a documentary) are proud of the way they see themselves portrayed.

While shooting narratives, I aim to achieve a particular and original world. I enjoy finding a special connection with an art designer and a DP to create a peculiar atmosphere with them.

What words of advice would you give to the filmmakers out there who are hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Shoot all you can - the best way to learn is by getting experience on the "street" and editing. It is not essential to have expensive gear to tell a captivating story, but it is important to bring the right minimum equipment the project needs - like proper sound gear and at least one light. Today there are cheap ways to solve those pain points. The most important is the creativity and sensitive eye behind the story. The best way to find a voice is shooting and being aware that the learning never ends.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future? Any new or exciting projects on the way?

I just released a new music video for Edith Crash's new album. It was a really exciting project because I love the song and her music is very visual. I worked with an incredibly talented crew, cast, and dancers. I am really happy with the result. I directed the video while I was seven months pregnant with twins who made the work intense but pretty special at the same time since the babies were part of it. Edith is my wife, and the people involved are close friends. I feel we created something beautiful within the family.

Also, I'm shooting a documentary feature film on the East and West Coast about some of my queer punk trans musicians.

Sunny War shot by Florencia P. Marano

Sunny War shot by Florencia P. Marano

Thanks again to Florencia for being this month's Featured Voice, you can see more of her work on her website and on YouTube

If you'd like to be featured next, you can read more about Featured Voices and how to apply here.