Get to Know Laisa Mara dos Santos, a Director of Photography in LA
Laisa Mara dos Santos
Hi, Laisa Mara. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. For those who don’t know your work, could you please tell a little bit about yourself and how you started?
Photography has always been in my life since I was a kid. My family loves getting together and capturing every single moment of the monthly reunions. I grew up in a household where art, music and movies were a passion and a hobby of both of my parents and relatives.
I started working professionally as a photographer in 2016. I would be hired to photograph events, concerts, weddings, birthdays, family photos.. all kinds of jobs. During that time I was still in college and also working in a photo lab and producing two TV shows. I was doing it wall and cinematography appeared in between all of that. I started to get even more interested and began working as a Director of Photography and Camera operator in a few short films.
Later on and after many collaborations, I moved to Los Angeles to study Cinematography at UCLA and begin my career in the US. I have worked in over 60 productions and got to meet and work with great professionals.
And now you are currently developing your first feature film, correct?
That’s right! I’m super excited about it because the first feature film always has a special feeling. The final version of the script is done but we are still in pre-production, getting all the crew, financial funds, and everything.
The story really connects to me and my style of Cinematography. It’s about the relationship between mother and daughter and how their childhood memories will bring them closer and heal some past traumas. It’s a very brutal and honest story that shows the power of both women and all the struggles they have to go through to survive this world.
I try as much as I can to tell stories about women and make their voices be heard. I want to make a difference with my work on-screen and off-screen. Filmmaking needs to be equal and we must evolve and make it also a safe space for all the female professionals.
Do you have any other projects on the horizon? What can you tell us about it?
Yes! I’m writing a script for my newest documentary, entitled “Nenem”. I love documentaries and I have worked in a few, such as “Territorio” and “The Brave Generation”.
This new one that is being developed will be for sure my biggest pride and joy. It will be not only a family reunion but also a one-way trip to memory lane. My family will revisit the past and talk about their childhood and the impact of my grandma’s presence in their lives, from the moment they felt her love till after she passed.
We can observe that your family impacts directly your work. Can you talk about how much it influences the productions you work on?
I actually like to experiment and work with different types of scripts. Horror, drama, musical, romance…I like it all, from commercials to narrative films. I do have my preferences and stories that captivate me more but I love challenges and I don’t want to be only in my comfort zone. I’m always open to new stories and new collaborations!
Right now I’m not only working on different productions but I’m also developing my own projects and ideas. This documentary I mentioned is one of them and the story of my family
does influence not only how I am as a person but also as a professional. I feel as I get older, I get more conscious and proud of that. I definitely got my sensitive vision for films because of them but my goal is for sure to create great stories and make an impact on society.
Could you please tell our readers where they can find your work and keep track of upcoming projects?
If you want to see my work, make sure to follow my Instagram and visit my portfolio to find out more about my new productions. I’m currently prepping for 3 short films, and 1 feature and supervising the color correction of my latest short project.