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Award-winning director and art director Natalia Montecinos on her short film Voiceless

10th of December, 2019

Natalia is an award-winning art director and director based in LA. She has over 10 awards in films and commercials. Her projects have been selected for more than 25 film festivals around the world, including WorldFest-Houston and Indie Film Fest LA. With a BA in Advertising and communication, and an MA in Graphic Design and Technology from IED Barcelona, Natalia built a successful career as an Art Director and consultant for advertising companies. Working at the top Chilean marketing agencies Publicis, Simple and Ogilvy, Natalia has been a head art director, leading award-winning 360 campaigns for brands such as Movistar, Samsung, McDonalds, Palmers, Cono Sur, Metro de Santiago, and Falabella. One of her most relevant achievements was the campaign of the Galaxy 6S and Movistar in Chile 2014, which won her an award in the Behance Motion competed and the known ACHAP advertising festival in Chile.

She decided to expand her arena of work, and become a filmmaker. Since coming to LA and finishing her UCLA Directing program, Natalia has written, produced, designed and directed several short films, commercials, and music videos. Her short film Home, won her multiple festival awards. Her newest release Voiceless has already won its first set of awards, and is still on the running for multiple festivals. One of the film's recent achievements is becoming a finalist in the "Best Original Drama" category, for the 53rd Annual WorldFest-Houston competition - a festival known for discovering Spielberg, Lynch, And Lee and more.

Her latest and upcoming projects include the film Selfish (film) a Pink Mango Production, An Unexpected Guest (film) a JGV Studio production, Needs (Comedy series) ft. the Mash Sisters, and Model mom (TV Show), Ft the life of the supermodel, comedian and recently cast in The Gentleman comedy film, Eugenia Kuzmina. You would probably come across her designs for next year's Chevy Commercials, working with Parana Films. Bringing her strong visual sense from her previous career, Natalia is passionate to create powerful images that will bring to life a good story. 

Could you please share or tell us more about your last short film 'Voiceless'? 

Voiceless is a film about Mia, a 9 year old girl who suffers from Selective Mutism. A condition in which people are not able to speak due to a past trauma. As a consequence of her condition, she is a constant victim of bullying. Tired of this reality, Mia decides to rebel and skip school. Her spontaneous adventure brings her to the wrong place at the wrong time. Mia accidentally becomes the only witness to a murder, forcing her to face her fears, and find her voice in order to do justice.
It was a personal and professional challenge. After experiencing bullying at a young age, and having communication challenges growing up, it was important for me to give a voice to the unheard. The script was complex, since we wanted to say a lot in a short amount of time, and not in a direct or obvious way. As an Art Director, I had to find creative visual ways to convey Mia’s inner world without her saying a word. The production was also tremendous in logistic terms. Without a doubt, this work marks a before and after in both my professional career and personal life ”.

How does it feel to be selected for Screening at the WorldFest?

 I feel honored to have the opportunity to see my work on a big screen and witness the reaction of others as they watch Voiceless. At the end of the day, we do films for people to watch, and hopefully, be inspired as well. Having my film screened is an opportunity to share my work with more people, as well as for me to meet colleagues from the industry and see the work of other directors.

Which award will you be receiving? Where will the public screening be held?

Voiceless is a finalist for the Best Original Drama category. I’m still waiting for the announcement of the festival winners at the 53rd Annual WorldFest-Houston competition. The WorldFest-Houston festival is considered to be the third longest running and oldest independent film festival in the world. It will be screened to the general public at Cinemark Memorial City theater, during the last week of April. 

"Voiceless" has recently won two other awards at the Indie Short Fest LA Festival, in the categories of "best actress" and "best drama".

What will be your upcoming films and projects?

I am in the development process of two feature films. The first is Selfish, a Thriller drama, about a series of strange coincidences that attract three random people together to an event that will change their life forever. Selfish will be produced by Nicole Fahel, CEO of Pink Mango productions. The second is An Unexpected Guest, a drama that will be produced by JGV Studio, directed by the known Pedro González Kühn who (2014) received a Goya nomination (Spanish Oscar). An Unexpected Guest is planned to be released in 2023. 

In Tv I have the show Model Mom, featuring the supermodel, comedian and mother Eugenia Kuzmina and Produced by Natural 9 Entertainment. The series follows 5 Models who are struggling to be understood while navigating the hardships within the bi-polar lifestyle of being models in L.A. and mothers at home. 

I am also currently in final stages for the Pilot of an online comedy series called Needs, a series which I've been developing alongside the Mash Sisters. It features Or Mash, a writer and comedian, and her sister Ophir, an Actress and writer, both based in Los Angeles, California. The series talks about the current struggle of millennials, living in a world that makes less sense by the day.

I've recently got representation in the well-known Chilean production company MOMA, and I’m also working on some interesting projects with Parana Films and Circus LA.

How different is being an Art Director and consultant in the advertising industry versus being a Filmmaker?

I have over 9 years of experience working in advertising. Both advertising and filmmaking have the need for a strong understanding of visual arts and visual language. In a way, any good commercial also tells a story, or has an important narrative it wished to convey. Both Art Directing and Directing requires the ability to lead a team of creative minds. 

However, the two have a lot of differences as well. In my experience, filmmaking has more creative liberty, and is more open for experimenting. Advertising is very result oriented, and your success is a pure matter of numbers, while in film everything is more open for individual interpretation. Despite the creative liberty in film making, in the Indie film world, the budget is extremely limited, and you have to face many struggles that do not exist in the advertising. Coming from the advertising industry, I learned how to work under immense pressure and be able to develop concepts and ideas quickly and efficiently. I used to spend long hours brainstorming in creative groups. I still enjoy thinking of ideas and collaborating with other people, because I find that otherwise, the development of a script can be a very lonely journey.


What is your passion? How do you craft such a powerful story each time? What inspires you to do better each time?

My passion is for creating breathtaking visuals and telling a story with them. As an art director and director, I enjoy every part of the process, from story development to storyboard and all the way to post-production and designing the poster. In my opinion, every blank paper is a new beginning, in which you have the complete freedom to create. Whether you’re gonna write a story on that paper or design a poster, it’s your choice. I see the beauty of the process, starting from scratch and then seeing your work coming to life on set. And after the hype of production, re-writing the story again in the editing room, layering each component as I work with talented editors, composers, sound mixers and colorists. 

What makes my work powerful is the hard work of every single person working on the production. A film is not a one man’s work, it’s always measured by the dedication of every single individual in the team to the story.

During my productions, I got a chance to work with great professionals like, Seba Leda owner and producer for Parana Films, Federico Duran Executive Creative Director at Circus LA, the cinematographers Ilya Chegodar, Natalia Moscoso and Ignacio Walker. The editors Lorenzo Bom at Cosmo street Miami and Alejo Santos at Parana Films. The Chilean composer Jorge Puig who was nominated for the 2019 Pulsa awards and five times to Goldsmith award winner. As with Anima Studios in Buenos Aires, and Apache studio in LA. These people have inspired me to keep trying, push harder and get better every time.

More info:

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Award-winning director and art director Natalia Montecinos on her short film Voiceless Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:59:00 PM Rating: 5
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