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MARISCELA MÉNDEZ, Director of Photography & Camera Operator, IATSE Local 600


Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and am a 2nd generation Mexican-American. My family is from Coahuila, Mexico.

What are your responsibilities or roles in your department? I work as a Director of Photography and Camera Operator. My primary responsibility as a DP is to collaborate with my director to create a unique visual approach that best

serves the story through camera and lighting.

How did you begin working in the industry? I started as an intern at the Texas Film Commission and volunteered at film festivals to meet people. From there I started working as a loader and also worked for many years in set lighting as a member of IATSE Local


What made you want to work in your department? I love collaborative environments and that this job is a blend of art and technology.

Are there any films that inspired you to start working in television and film?

I've always loved the work of Chivo. I remember watching "Como Agua Para Chocolate" as a kid and really fell in love with magical realism and cinema. As an adult I continued to be inspired by other films like "Y Tú Mama Tambien" and "Children of Men".

What has been your favorite project to work on?

I DPed a short film last year called "Mosca!".

I immediately connected with the script and was excited for the opportunity to work on a live action film that also featured a tiny 2D animated character. This film tells a universal story while incorporating my Mexican heritage and I'm so happy to be a part

of this beautiful story.

What advice would you give someone?

Take any opportunities you can to network and

make friends. Be patient, persistent, and always

be kind. And never be afraid to stand up and say

something if you feel unsafe. What are you working on these days?

I just wrapped camera operating on a feature and

day played on RuPaul's Drag Race S15 Finale.

As a DP, I recently shot two short films for the

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) as part

of their LatinX Showcase. I'm currently mentoring

and prepping a project with The Latino Film Institute

and The Youth Cinema Project. In post, I also

have a comedic web series called "Dick Bunny"

that we are currently color correcting. I'm also

attached to DP a narrative feature later this year

called "The Bride of Bishop".


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