Director Fabien Martorell



fabien martorell

Film Director & Photographer

Q: Talk to us about your life and France and your move to L.A. what made you decide to make the move?

 A: I moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago. I was already doing photography in France but mainly cinema. I have directed, written and produced eight short films there which were selected in many international festivals and got screened at the Cannes Film Festival. I focused my career in movies at that time and wrote two thriller feature film projects. Sadly, France wasn’t the best place for that kind of genre at that time so I decided to move to Los Angeles. I learnt fast the different visions of the two countries regarding movies. France was more about making something different, unique and creative, the 7th Art. US was more about making money and more and entertainment industry which reminded me in a way that as a director we are making movies for the audience and for the biggest audience as possible. I always keep in mind those two different visions when I’m preparing a movie as they are very complementary for me.

Q: How do you believe the use of shadows is useful to the making of cinematography in a film?

 A: I’m working a lot the light and the lightning with my director of photography. We spend a lot of time preparing the shoot. Shadows bring a very unique and particular mood to the scene and mystery or drama depending on your story and what your message is. I did some of my short films in black and white while I was in France where the use of shadows takes another dimension there. But I also used shadows in my last US short film Unbelief starring Tobin Bell (Saw) and Andrew Howard (Limitless). I had a scene, a face to face in a public park at night, which was supposed to be lightened by street lamps. I wanted to give some mystery to one of my character who was lightened differently than the other one, with a zone of shadow right in front of him as a kind of diagonal. Tobin Bell played a lot with it, moving his face forward and/or backward, making his face appear and/or disappear, depending on his lines. It created some mystery around the character but also a dynamism and movement to the scene

Q: What has been your favorite film festival you’ve attended so far?

 A: All film festivals are different and unique. I had great time in a lot of them. If I have to make a choice, I’d say the Hollywood Film Festival with my feature documentary Tromatized: Meet Lloyd Kaufman and the Palm Springs ShortFest where I did the World Premiere of my short film The Coin starring Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) and Kathryn Morris (Cold Case). It was my first US film festival with my first US short film. It’s a great festival, Oscar eligible, with one of the biggest short films market.

Q: When did you first take an interest in the production of short films?  

A: I’ve always wanted to make movies at least since I’m 10. I did my first short film The Track when I was 17 or 18 years old. It was a drama shot in 16 mm, black and white in Lyon in France. We shot on the bank of the river in the center of the city with lot of lightning, steadicam and we even shot in a pool with a stunt. This movie got a standing ovation in a screening at the “Cineguinguette” during the Cannes Film Festival. It was a great experience

Q: Who are some film director legends you look to for inspiration?

 A: I have so many. To name a few: Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Adrian Lyne, Wong Kar Wai, David Lynch, Fritz Lang, etc. Obviously all for different reasons.

Q: How has your film making background influenced your work in the development of your photography work?

A: Actually I have always done photography and started with film, 35mm. I use my experience as a director a lot in photography; creating a specific mood, finding a unique location, using the composition, the movement and the depth, the sense of lightning, etc. All those elements help me to create a story – with a cinematic vibe. Something needs to happen in the frame.