A Interview with Cinematographer Francesco Malandrino

Today we sat with Francesco Malandrino, Cinematographer and Camera Operator.

How did you get started in the film industry, and what drew you to cinematography?

A: My career as Cinematographer and Camera Operator began in December 2015, when I was living in Napoli (Italy) and I was called by a Neapolitan director (who was my cinematography professor in the past) as a Camera Operator in order to complete a film indie feature film, I was on set for 6 months and this experience had a huge impact on my future. Two years and half later I moved to Los Angeles (CA) Since 2019 I started to have more requests as a Cinematographer. I must say that since I was very young I had shown a great interest in videos, at the age of 10 I stole my father’s VHS Cam to make videos for my friends at school.

You’ve worked with big names like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. How did those collaborations come about, and what were they like?

A: I shoot multiple projects in my career, especially during the last 6 years, I shoot two feature films (avaiable on Amazon Prime Video) over 20 short films, music videos and commercial for TV and YouTube, but probably the project that I shoot for Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa was one of the most important until today. I shoot this project as DP Duo with my partner Maria Perlifonova, having two DP on set was absolutely essential, considering that the production company allowed us just 2 days for this project, (and one day was pre-lighting). Both of them (Snoop and Wiz) were absolutely fantastic, extremely professianl, I would love to work with them every day, and I really have to mention our Stun Coordinator Jeremy Marinas,  Jeremy was working as Stunt Coordinator for movies such as John Wick 4, Capitan American “Civil War” and many more… He was essential for me and Maria, and he was also able to operate the camera for few shots in order to create a “real life cinematic camera movement”

You work as a DP duo with Maria Perlifonova. How does your partnership influence your work, and what makes it successful?

A: Our collaboration sparks creativity and innovation. For example, in a recent project, our combined efforts led to a visually stunning shot sequence that enhanced the entire narrative. Clear communication and mutual trust are foundational, allowing us to navigate challenges and maintain a consistent vision. What makes our partnership successful is our shared aesthetic goals and ability to give and receive constructive feedback. This continuous exchange helps us grow and refine our craft, making our work stand out in the industry. It’s a pleasure sharing film set with her, I love her passion, and her energy help all the crew to work at 100% every hours

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a cinematographer in Los Angeles and Miami?

A: In Los Angeles, the highly competitive industry requires constant networking and top-notch work to stand out. Dealing with permits and location restrictions can also be complex and time-consuming.

In Miami, the unpredictable weather and intense humidity can disrupt schedules and affect equipment. Additionally, the bright, harsh sunlight demands careful planning and adjustments to achieve the desired look.

Despite these challenges, both cities offer incredible opportunities for vibrant and diverse visual storytelling. All I can say is that the film industry in US is very different from Italy, the approach is significant different.

What’s next for you in your career? Are there any exciting projects on the horizon?

    A: Right now, I’m taking a break, the last 6 years were so intensive, even during the Covid in July 2020 I was shooting my first Feature Film as DP Duo, so I can say that I never stopped. Now I’m working mostly as DP Duo for few music videos, and I’m waiting for the opportunity to shoot my first Feature Film as DP Duo in Italy, there are few opportunities but will see what will happen in the future, hopefully one of them will become reality soon. 

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