The Italian Argentinean director, Franco Garuti, lives and produces between Los Angeles, Mexico City and the East Coast of the US. At a very young age, he started in the film industry and has made his career both in advertising and in fiction. Throughout his experience, he has travelled around the work, which has allowed him to understand cultural nuances and actor direction very well. 1. What is your first memory with a camera?
I always had photography cameras. It was one of the hobbies I shared with my father, who was an advertiser from the eighties in Argentina. My father had a sort of aversion to television, maybe because he did what he did, and I grew up without television until the age of ten. We didn't have cable or a VCR until I turned 15. My audiovisual experience was always much more about experimenting throughout all those years. Since I was a child, I took photos with a Canon AE1. In my opinion, it was the camera that defined the eighties for many of us. My world was always locked in a frame, and think that is why I have always had a photographic commitment with my projects. 2. With your experience, how would you define your visual style today? Has it evolved?
I think visual style has changed a great deal. Digital cinema has brought us a much greater immediacy and range of game. We all love films as a quasi magical element, but those of us who worked with cinema cameras and all their disadvantages, can also see the great creative freedom digital cinema brought with it- The same way non-linear editing drastically changed the experiments that could be done in editing, new technologies have also brought to the table new audiovisual styles.
For me it is very important to maintain a key character: believability, regardless of the visual style. If we don´t create pieces that tell human stories and that connect in a human way, there is no amount of visual gimmicks that is going to fill that space. I think that in advertising we feed too much off the visual aspect, and today, more than ever, being our presence as direct as it is in our day to day with digital media, we need to maintain the measure of what is believable higher than ever. We have to generate moving stories that convey feelings.
Today´s digital distribution allows us to approach film storytelling more and albeit today I feel we are a bit over-aesthetisized, I think that will return after the boom. The audience wants to see stories it feels identified with. We must always remember that we do advertising for the audience and not for other advertisers. 3. What book, picture or film has accompanied you in your career?
Define a single piece would be impossible, but I have primarily always connected a great deal with the most classical books of modern color photography. From William Eggleston, who undoubtedly marked my visual appreciation, frame and light style, passing through Stephen Shore for his tainted realism; Nan Goldin for his capability of building in intimacy; and in more recent times, the work of Gregory Crewdson that generates cinematic photographies with a great deal of feeling through the artificial.
Today, I consume more Instagram than anything else. A lot of people feel offended because I don`t follow them in IG; my answer is that I use it to find inspiration, it is a constant source of inspiration if you follow the right people. Photography artists with very well-defined , almost mono-thematic styles such as Benoit Paille, Elsa Bleda, Abby Rice, bring a mix to my own visual proposal, many new sources of inspiration.
At the same time, I am starting to build more Youtube creators. It amuses me how advertising adopts youtuber codes in the camera movements and many of the edition and storytelling dynamics that are found in many 20-year-old creators on social networks. Even TikTok today is establishing an editorial style we will soon see reproduced in a concept in advertising. We are quintessential thieves, because we feed on pop culture. As an inspiration, I seek to mix the classical with the contemporary.4. What projects are you currently working on? Do you have any fiction or documentary under way?
I have several personal projects. Firstly, I have reconnected a great deal with creation from my own trenches. Tech democratization allows us for the first time to access an entire digital cinema studio for little money, and it is operable by few people. I have bought a great deal of my own equipment, I've set up a grading studio in my house and today feel like I did when I was a cinema student several years ago. The difference is that back then, technology barely let you approach professional results from a distance. Today, it is so close that the line is about to
disappear. It seems very interesting to face projects from that freedom.
I have some fiction scripts I am working on, but I am tempted to find a new language and a new way that combines in-house digital creation and self-distribution. That is where the world is heading. Just as it happened with journalism and music, few want to realize that media such as Netflix continue to be old, modeled after the pyramid of the giant studio that produces and distributes. The media is the only thing that changed. But in a short time that will change again. 5. Is there a brand you would like to work with?
I think I am always attracted by brands that bet on generating a connection with their consumers. That real connection. I like brands that talk to human beings, not to marketing numbers, to the beliefs of the right thing, brands that bet on having something to say. And I think that today this is more important than ever. We are in a small creative crisis, because advertising is in a crisis itself. But brands musn't forget that, even if our media has changed, people haven`t. We human beings feel and as it has always been, and always will be, nothing speaks closer to us, connects us more, and generates better results that talking with emotion, with empathy, and with a close message. 6. Why did you join Altered.LA?
Altered.LA is a production company that wants to see where we are going and not stay comfortably reproducing a model whose primetime, honestly, passed already. We have to seek with whom we can create new things, and after spending an afternoon with Cline, Executive Producer of Altered.LA, for coffee in Mexico City, I felt that the direction they want to go in is that one: to see all the changes in media and start seeking new shapes.
Altered.LA gives me a broader and I must say, more daring space to venture into doing new things and where we change outlines. That to mee seems fundamental. I am thrilled to share a creative environment that wants and seeks a challenge, because that is where I am in my personal life as well. 7. Where is Franco Garuti heading?
I see myself experimenting more than ever. Nothing has made me happier than shooting my own things, working with photography directors from the same understanding as when we were all cinema students. I think there is an infinite possibility when you get back into those shoes. Technology today allows us to go back to that place, but with hallucinating results. We must make the most of it. The peak of fame and good works in this environment last very little. We must constantly reinvent ourselves. We must use that reinvention energy not to "continue with the trend", but to broaden it with all there is to use: technology, media, distribution. Today's world is fascinating, full of opportunities. We must tap into that and understand we are at a creative breaking point that had never existed.
Contact: Marcos Cline-Márquez
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