• Loading...
  • Loading...
  • Loading...
  • Loading...
  • Loading...
  • Loading...
18th January 2022
Riding high
Title of film: Starr
Director: Gabriel Crawford Connelly & Alex Fischman Cardenas
Production Company: Brickhead
Cinematographer-director Gabriel Connelly once again wows us with his talent after picking up Gold for his NYU Tisch project Beach Break for Julietta at last year’s 1.4 Awards. This time he’s teamed up with directing partner Alex Fischman Cardenas to bring us Starr, a docu-short centred around a woman in the Bronx grappling with the dangers of her urban bike-life and the struggles of single parenting.

 

How did you come across Starr, the single mother at the centre of the film, and what made you eager to tell her story?

I had been working on a short doc about the female bike-life scene for a while before making Starr, but I never found the right subject for the piece. I spent about six months doing research and reaching out to people in the bike-life community before COVID hit, and then I decided to focus on other projects for the time being.

It wasn’t until I started up on the project again, this time with Alex Fischman as the co-director, that we were able to find Starr. She was actually one of the first people Alex reached out to. When Alex conducted the first audio pre-interview, we knew she was really special.

Your film contrasts shots of Starr’s urban bike-life with more intimate shots of her with her children, both at home and out of the city in woodland. Was finding these different sides of her life key to telling her story?

Definitely! I think that dichotomy was always really important to the concept of the piece. The tug that Starr feels between these two worlds is the emotional core of the film. Despite aiming for a really short runtime, we wanted to make sure the film felt honest to her and showed a full portrait of her life.

 

 

What were the main challenges of making the piece?

The biggest challenge we had with filming was definitely figuring out how to actually shoot Starr on her bike in a safe way. We didn’t have the budget for the equipment you’d normally use to film moving vehicles, so we ended up ratchet strapping me into the back of a pickup truck with the back lid opened up. My key grip, Declan Saint-Onge, was a real trooper and rode in the back with me with a walkie talkie so I could communicate with Alex and the driver.

Your directing partner on Starr was Peruvian filmmaker Alex Fischman Cardenas who you also teamed up with as cinematographer / editor on Teeth, shortlisted this year in the 1.4 Awards. How does the creative process work between you? Do you both have different skill sets that compliment each other? How do you resolve any different point of views?

Alex and I work really well together! We met in film school and bonded over our love of Alfonso Cuarón and Emmanuel Lubezki movies. On set we’re very in sync since we have similar tastes, and I think we’re both always open to improvising and trying out each other’s ideas.

In terms of skill sets, I think we both have stages of the production that we gravitate towards. Alex is really great at working with non-actors and building trust from a subject in pre-production, whereas I really enjoy the post production process and building a story in the edit.

 

 

In fact it’s been quite a roll for you this year, collaborating as DP with some of our favourite directors – in particular Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah who picked up a 1.4 Gold for To The Girl Who Looks Like Me as well as a later film, Gold Token. Was it a similar process to, say, working with Alex?

Oh, thank you! Every director I’ve worked with has a very different approach to filmmaking which is really cool to see, and it’s one of my favorite parts about working as a DP. Ewurakua is a good friend and I’m so honored to be included in her films. She always comes to pre-production with such a strong vision of what she wants to do.

It feels like a dynamic collective of talent – how did you all meet and begin working with each other?

We all graduated the same year from NYU Tisch film school. I met Alex in my first production class, and met Ewurakua on a whim after pitching my cinematography reel to her class.

Last year you wowed us with Beach Break for Julietta, winning a Gold 1.4 Award in In The Making Music Video category, which you directed. Although prized for your role as cinematographer do you plan to direct more of your own films?

That was such a fun video to make. I really had no idea what I was doing when I made that one, but it’s still a really special project to me.

And yes, I would love to do more directing in the future! Though I still love cinematography and plan to continue shooting as well. I’m currently wrapping up post production on a short film I directed, and starting pre- production on a short doc about a pair of rodeo riding brothers in Oregon that I’m super excited about.

Are you signed to a production company?

I am not signed as a director yet, but I recently got representation as a cinematographer from Iconic Talent Agency, which has been an amazing experience.

 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Read Gabriel’s shout out to crew members in credits.

 

Interview by Becca Nichols

 

@gabrielconnelly

@alexfischmanc

@__henrydacosta__

@raekua

@brickhead.co

 

Gabriel Connelly website

Credits

Gabriel Crawford Connelly: 

I just wanted to shout out all the amazing crew members who I haven’t already mentioned that made Starr possible! Our producer Adrian Sobrado and our line producer Kristiana Priscantelli were really the backbone of the project. Our 1st ACs Isabella Granada and Matt Vasquez, worked so hard on that set to let me quickly swap between our 16mm camera and this massive old 35mm camera we rented for super cheap. They probably did the workload of about a five person camera team.

Our key grip/gaffer/BTS photographer Declan Saint-Onge was also an incredible one man band. He’s such a great presence on set, and I really wish I could have him on all of my shoots. Our production designer, Sophia Uehara, who’s a good friend of mine, helped us make the interior locations shootable without ever damaging the documentary integrity of the spaces. Bobb Barito, our sound designer, created such a rich soundscape that really fleshed out the world of the film. He’s worked on so many projects that have inspired me, so I was really pumped to have the opportunity to work with him on this one.

And then, of course, our composer Gavin Brivik, who made the whole beautiful score from scratch. He’s really something else. Also our colorist Joseph Bicknell, who is one of my favorite collaborators. He always fights for his coloring choices, and elevates projects while still keeping the grade grounded in naturalism.

And finally Starr, who was such a dream subject to work with! She was so kind to everyone on the crew and supportive of the whole process, even though she was oftentimes shooting on just a couple hours of sleep and taking care of her kids at the same time.

 

Starr

Director: Gabriel Crawford Connelly & Alex Fischman Cardenas
Director of Photography & Editor: Gabriel Crawford Connelly
Producer: Adrian Sobrado
Production Company: BrickHead
Line Producer: Kristiana Priscantelli
Additional B-Roll Cinematography: Isabella Granada
1st Assistant Camera: Isabella Granada, Matt Vasquez
Gaffer, Key Grip & BTS Photographer: Declan Saint-Onge
Production Design: Sophia Uehara
Colorist: Joseph Bicknell

Sound Design & Mix: Bobb Barrito
Composer: Gavin Brivik

 

Teeth

Director: Alex Fischman Cárdenas
Editor / Cinematographer: Gabriel Crawford Connelly
Producers: Alex Fischman Cárdenas, Adrian Sobrado, Max Grovit
Composer: Gavin Brivik
Color: Joseph Bicknell
Sound Mix & Design: Diego Carriquiry
Additional Sound Mix: Miles Crawford
Assistant Camera: Allie Iacono, Cece Chan
Unit Production Manager Kristiana Priscantelli
Additional Editing: Kamila Daurenova
Special Thanks: Gabrielle Blix, Zach Tabori

 

Abby T,  Legos ft. Rodney Chrome

Director: Henry DaCosta
Production: Goldfin, BrickHead
Producer: Emily Miller, Sophia Loren Heriveaux, Adrian Sobrado
UPM: Martin Luna
DP: Gabriel Connelly
1st AC: Steven Xie
Steadicam: Franz J. Brun
Gaffer: Trey Deming, Hunter Kaufman
Key Grip: Henry Wolf
Production Designer: Sophia Uehara
Art Assistant: Andrea Mato
Stylist: Alon Cameron
Makeup: Kim Hernandez
Driver/PA: Diego Garcia
BTS: Ragan Henderson

Edit/VFX/Sound: Henry DaCosta
Colorist: Joseph Bicknell
Color Producer: Anna Kelman
Tracking: Light Range

 

Love in the Dark

Director: Nick Freeman

Cinematographer: Gabriel Connelly

Sound Design/Mix: Zach Tabori

Gaffer/AC: Shaia Erlbaum

Casting: Olivia McDowell

Producers: Bre Kelly and Matt Kaufman

Color: Joseph Bicknell

 

Gold Token

Director: Ewurakua Dawson- Amoah

Producer: Adrian Sobrado

1st AD : Farah Jabir

DP: Gabriel Connelly

1st AC: Gianfranco Bello

Steadicam: Sam Stefan

Gaffer: Dmitry Lesnevskiy

Key Grip: Declan Saint-Onge

Choreographer: Morgan Burns and Keon Hughes

Production Designer: Sophis Uehara

PD Assistant: Maria Garland

Hair and Makeup Artist: Camila Olses

Casting by: The Melacast Network

Editor: Kamila Daurenova

Sound Design: Evan Joseph

Color: Kath Raisch

Music: Adeleke Ode and Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah

Singers: Haiku, Yeimy Castillo, Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah

 

Julietta, Beach Break

Director:  Gabriel Crawford Connelly

Prod Jake Orlin, Jacqueline Rosso

Dp Gabriel Crawford Connelly And Alex Wholin

Prod Design Hannah Crane

Stylist Nila Ravi

Ad Joachim Pfefferkorn

Ac Colt Thomas Hartman

Steadi Sam Stephen

Script Sup Sequoia Sherriff

Grip Leandro Marte

Pa Elise Bortz

Edit Gcc And Elliot Farinaro

Color Josh Bohoskey At The Mill