Episode 54 - Clair Popkin


Clair Popkin is an award winning cinematographer based between NYC and LA.  He works in all media formats from documentaries & films to commercials, music videos and TV series. He has shot the film “Free Solo” which won the Academy Award in 2019 for Feature documentary. His work on Free Solo was nominated for a primetime Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography. He won a critics choice award for Best Cinematography in 2019 as well as a Cinema Eye award for Outstanding Cinematography. 

Clair has shot numerous other documentaries including the Sundance Audience Award winner  Jim: The James Foley Story (HBO 2016) as well as Other documentaries for HBO on subjects including Warren Buffet, Bryan Stevenson, Martin Luther King Jr. and John McCain.  Clair was a DP on Netflix's Acclaimed documentary series Abstract: the Art of Design.

Clair has worked on numerous narrative films and TV shows throughout his career. He has shot commercial projects for numerous brands and clients including, Target, Apple, Walmart, and Toyota

Clair is an avid rock climber, skydiver and scuba diver with extensive experience filming outdoor and adventure sports.

Episode 51 - Nicholas Matthews


Raised in the fundamentalist Christian subculture of the Bible Belt, cinematographer Nicholas Matthews fell in love with storytelling as a child to explore life outside the confines of that perspective. It evolved into a fascination with telling regional stories about fringe ideologies and marginalized people.
Recently, he's filmed projects in Japan, France, Mexico and across the US. The Hollywood Reporter praised his use of "expansive widescreen" and "adept long takes" on the 2018 Dances with Films Grand Jury Prize winner. The L.A. Times called his work on border thriller The Boatman "more art film than action film; deliberately paced, skillfully shot, emotionally challenging." He's worked with artists ranging from Ice Cube to Rise Against, as well as brands including Jack in the Box, T-Mobile, and Specialized Bikes. He thrives on collaboration in finding each film's unique voice.

Episode 50 - Sacha Jenkins


Sacha Jenkins is an American television producer, filmmaker, writer, musician, artist, curator, and chronicler of hip-hop, graffiti, punk, and metal cultures. While still in his teens, Jenkins published Graphic Scenes & X-Plicit Language, one of the earliest ‘zines solely dedicated to “graffiti” art. In 1994, Jenkins co-founded ego trip magazine. In 2007, he created the competition reality program “ego trip's The (White) Rapper Show," which was carried by VH1. Currently, Jenkins is the creative director of Mass Appeal magazine. Sacha Jenkins recently directed “Of Mics and Men,” Showtime’s four-part docuseries on Wu-Tang Clan.

Episode 49 - Salomon Ligthelm


Salomon is a self-taught filmmaker whose international background–––a childhood spent in Johannesburg, Dubai, and Sydney–––figures strongly in his distinctive, visual style. His textural and experimental work finds new ways of exploring visual storytelling, always with a human story at its core. His work has garnered recognition across the world, with inclusion in both the Saatchi & Saatchi and 1.4 New Directors Showcases, two Golds and three Silvers at the YDAs, shortlist for online commercial of the year over 2 minutes for Audi at Shots, shortlists for Music Video of the Year at Shots, Best Alternative Video and Best New Director at the UKMVA’s, and a music video shortlist at Ciclope. These honors are all the more extraordinary for a young director, who is just three years into his commercial film career. His body of work includes short films like “Rocket Wars,” which documents the stunning aerial fireworks battle of a Greek village, as well as commercials for Audi, S7, and Valvoline, and music videos for artists like Daughter and Young Fathers. Salomon lives in New York City with his young family.

Episode 47 - Steve Hoover


We first crossed paths with Steve Hoover at Masters In Motion when he gave one of the most moving and honest talks.

His first feature, "Blood Brother", premiered at Sundance in 2013 and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best US feature-length documentary. His second, "Almost Holy", was executive produced by Terrence Malick and scored by Atticus Ross, and premiered at Tribeca in 2015, garnering numerous awards around the world before going on to a worldwide theatrical run. Steve's commercial clients include Gap, Walmart, Chipotle and National Geographic. 

He's a natural filmmaker, with a strong instinct, a deep empathy, and an eye for the pretty stuff: he moonlights as a digital painter, creating otherworldly landscapes. On a personal note, he loves coffee, his son, Linc (not necessarily in that order) and is involved in a one-sided love affair with a game called Battle of Titans. 

Episode 46 - Eliot Rausch


Eliot Rausch’s work reflects his long-standing pursuit of finding value and transcendence in the mundane.

The award-wining filmmaker has created films for organizations and brands including The Red Cross, Tumi, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Duracell, the Veteran Affairs of America, Nike, Under Armour, Apple, and Samsung. His short film “Find Your Understanding,” created for Expedia, was awarded “Most Tear-Jerking Viral Ad of the Year” by Ad Age and one of TED's 10 Best Ads of the Year. Eliot’s short film series honoring those with Multiple Sclerosis, won a Cannes Lion and a Clio Award. “We are Greater than I,” a Samsung film, garnered awards at D&AD, One Show, British Arrows and Cannes Film Festival.

He worked alongside Alejandro González Iñárritu, directing the documentary "A World Unseen,” a complimentary piece to “The Revenant.” His short documentary Last Minutes With Oden won the Documentary Award and Grand Prize at the Vimeo Festival + Awards. His recent short film “Birth Pangs,” a haunting portrait of historic injustices that continues his work documenting marginalized communities, premiered on Nowness and was selected for Short of the Week. Currently, Eliot Rausch has been developing a media platform to help those caught in the provisional life, it is due to launch in 2019.

Episode 45 - Eric Branco


A native of New York City, Eric Branco attended The Bronx High School of Science and the School of Visual Arts before beginning his career in film. 

Branco has lensed several feature films including V/H/S (dir. Glenn McQuaid), EMERALD CITY (dir. Colin Broderick), and most recently, CLEMENCY (dir. Chinonye Chukwu), which took home the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. 

He has also shot numerous short films, such as NIGHT SHIFT (dir. Marshall Tyler), THE RIVER (dir. Sam Handel), MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES (dir. Alfonso Johnson), and THE COMPOSITOR (dir. John Mattiuzzi), winner of a 2013 Student Academy Award.  

Branco's work has screened at festivals worldwide, including Sundance, TriBeCa, Slamdance and SXSW.  

He was recently named one of Variety's "10 Cinematographers to Watch" 2019.

Eric splits time between NYC and Los Angeles.  On days off, he can usually be found in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium with his wife and daughter.

Episode 44 - Jim Plannette


Jim's father Homer Plannette worked as a gaffer in the movie business from 1919 to 1969. He collaborated with cinematographers on films such as Cover Girl, It's a Wonderful Life, Duel in the Sun, High Noon, Sweet Smell of Success, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and two Academy Award Winners for Best Cinematography, Shanghai Express and The Diary of Anne Frank.

Jim has been immersed in the motion picture industry his entire life. In fact, his first movie job was in 1954 when he was only 14 -- Assistant Prop Man on Land of the Pharaohs, where he was lucky enough to bring Howard Hawks a glass of iced tea! As his father enjoyed sharing many tales of his vast experiences over the years, Jim also enjoys sharing his history and decades of experience with young filmmakers.

Career highlights include: Young Frankenstein, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Fisher King, Magnolia, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, A Single Man, The Artist, Behind the Candelabra, Suffragette, and back-to-back Best Cinematography Oscar winners Legends of the Fall and Braveheart, both photographed by John Toll.

Jim was honored to accept the Motion Picture Academy's invitation to join the Class of 2018, and thrilled to serve as a judge for both the Student Academy Awards and the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards.

Episode 43 - Natalie Kingston


Cinematographer Natalie Kingston was born and raised in a small southern Louisiana town where she ran around with a VHS camcorder on her shoulder as a young girl shooting her own movies. She quickly became fascinated with the idea of creating images and sharing them with people. Natalie has been attached to the camera’s viewfinder since and has received multiple cinematography awards for her work.

Natalie shot the feature film, Lost Bayou - a 2018 IFP narrative lab project and Duplass Brothers grant recipient, which will premiere in 2019.

She shot Sam Pollard’s grammy-nominated film Two Trains Runnin’ - a New York Times Critic Pick - narrated by Common and featuring the music of Gary Clark Jr.

Natalie was behind the lens of music videos for artists Billie Eilish, PJ Morton and many more. She was the cinematographer of the award-winning commercial - Ready to Speak Up for Boots No.7, featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Natalie completed a Cinematography Residency at Maine Media College and has a Bachelor of the Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is a member of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers.

Episode 42 - Phillip Youmans


Phillip Youmans is a filmmaker from the 7th Ward of New Orleans. He is this years Tribeca Film Festival winner for his feature film Burning Cane. Phillip was also rewarded for his cinematography picking up the Best Cinematography award. Remarkably he is only 19 years old meaning he wrote, shot and edited the film while in high school. As of this month Phillip just finished his first semester at NYU Film School making him the youngest director to have an official selection at Tribeca and also the youngest winner. Indiewire proclaimed Burning Cane to be the most exciting black film of 2019 so far.

In his childhood, Phillip was first introduced to filmmaking as an actor, taking small roles in productions around New Orleans. This early exposure to working on sets ignited Phillip's desire to pursue the medium from behind the camera. Before high school, Phillip began writing, directing, shooting, and editing his own short films. During his high school years at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Phillip solidified his technical foundation of filmmaking in their media arts program. In his junior year, Phillip began work on his first feature film Burning Cane. Burning Cane, starring Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Jack Ryan, Tréme, Suits, Clemency) and executive produced by Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), speaks on the rigid religious convictions that govern the black community in the rural south and the cyclical nature of destructive behavior. His most recent video installation titled Won't You Celebrate With Me premiered with Solange Knowles' creative agency Saint Heron at the end of his senior year of high school; the instillation is showcase of black female unity in an alternative future. His latest short film Nairobi, also made with Saint Heron, is about a Harlem-based family of francophone West-African immigrants. Nairobi will premiere on their platform in the Spring of 2019. Furthermore, Phillip is in post-production for his documentary about the Grammy-nominated jazz musician Jon Batiste titled The Vanguard: Days with Jon Batiste. Set release in late 2019 in tandem with Batiste's latest album, the film follows Batiste and the Stay Human Band from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to their six night run at the legendary Village Vanguard.

Episode 41 - Ryan Booth

The Art vs. Commerce podcast is back! After a hiatus the show returns to kick things off with friend of the pod Ryan Booth. We felt Ryan would make for a great guest to relaunch as he has been through so much career change since we last spoke in 2015. In this episode we compare and contrast our previous conversation learning about his journey and what insights he has gained since becoming a repped commercial director on the Pulse Film roster.

Booth’s filmmaking career began in 2011 when his first attempt at making short film won a contest hosted by Vimeo and Canon and premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Booth was an audio engineer living in Texas at the time. After Sundance he came home and quit his job and dove headfirst into filmmaking. 

He spent the next few years cutting his teeth as a Director of Photography, working on commercial projects for Fox, MTV, Spotify, Under Armour, Pepsi, and Budweiser, as well as music videos for Atlantic Records, Sony, and Universal Music. He DP'd narrative and documentary features that have screened at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festivals, among others. In 2016, Ryan DP'd a feature documentary that was commissioned by Alejandro G. Iñárritu that explores the modern implications of the themes woven into Iñárritu’s film, The Revenant. The film was directed by Eliot Rausch and the experience working with Eliot and Alejandro proved to be the catalyst that began his transition into directing. 

Ryan has always been drawn to telling the stories of real people. He naturally began his directing work in documentaries. He created a doc series pilot called Five Star, about the insane world of college football recruiting. This led to shopping deals with SpringHill Entertainment and Preferred Content. He naturally moved into branded content, directing projects for Spotify and Google. He then caught the eye of Pulse Films, the award winning production company behind American Honey and Lemonade.

In the spring of 2017 he was offered a spot on Pulse's commercial roster and within  a few months of beginning to pitch, was directing national campaigns with Weiden + Kennedy for Fox Sports and Anheuser-Busch. He's currently pitching as much as possible and looks forward to collaborating with some of the best agencies in the world.

Additionally, Ryan co-wrote and directed his first narrative short, The Heights, as a proof of concept for what would be his first narrative feature. Not one to wait around for permission, he is actively developing a handful of film and television projects with writers and producers from around the world.

Episode 40 - Joe Rudge

Joe Rudge is an established music supervisor based in Brooklyn, NY best known for his work on the feature films Room, Blue Valentine & Beasts of the Southern Wild. An experienced licensing professional and music fanatic, he works with film, TV, commercial, and multimedia directors to enhance the moving image with sound.

Recent music supervision highlights include the Amazon Studios feature film The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter and the Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip, also released through Amazon Studio.  Upcoming projects include the  Sundance 2017 breakout hit Patti Cake$ which will be released by Fox Searchlight on August 18th. 

Episode 39 - Brian Koppelman

Brian Koppelman is a co-creator, executive producer and showrunner of Showtime's hit drama series Billions. Over the past two decades, Koppelman and his writing/producing/directing partner, David Levien, have created an influential and diverse body of work in both film and television.

Some of their most noteworthy credits include Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen, Solitary Man, The Illusionist, Runaway Jury, Tilt, ESPN's 30 for 30 (This Is What They Want), I Smile Back, The Girlfriend Experience and Joe Berlinger's Tony Robbins documentary, I Am Not Your Guru. Koppelman is the host and creator of the hit Slate podcast The Moment with Brian Koppelman.

In this episode we discuss the block he faced in his 20s and how he overcame it at 30 to write Rounders. From there we dive into a variety of topics including having a collaborator, how to stay focused on the work and what it means to stay curious.

Episode 38 - Adam Newport-Berra

Adam Newport-Berra is a director of photography with a reel that includes features, commercials and music videos. In the music realm he has worked with Chance the Rapper, Francis and The Lights, Kanye West and many more. His most recent feature film, Barry, is the story of a young Barack Obama which was acquired for release by Netflix. Adam’s commercial work delves into true storytelling with compelling and unique ads that can feel more like short films.

In the episode we discuss Adam’s approach to collaboration and how he values people’s attitudes over any other attribute. We also dive into some technical aspects of his pieces learning about the challenges of a few specific projects.

Episode 37 - Sean Porter

Sean Porter is a director of photography with a list of feature films that include Rough Night (currently in theaters) starring Scarlett Johansson, 20th Century Women starring Annette Bening and Green Room starring Patrick Stewart. Originally an indie filmmaker from Seattle, Sean’s pursuit of a career as a cinematographer led him to New York City where he immersed himself in the indie film scene. After a few festival darlings Sean’s career has taken off with Rough Night being his first major film studio production.

In the episode we discuss Sean’s journey from indie DP shooting anything and everything to rising up the ranks by making careful decisions about which films to take on in an effort to build proper momentum. It’s an energetic hour filled with a lot of insight on both the craft and the strategy to a long term narrative career.

Episode 36 - Walter Partos

Walter Partos is the owner of Partos Company which represents cinematographers, costume designers, production designers, producers and editors. Their artists have won virtually every award in the entertainment industry including Oscars, Spirits Awards, Cannes Gold Lions, Emmys, BAFTAs and MTV Music Video Awards.

Walter started his career as a literary agent and his clients included Quentin Tarantino, Mardik Martin (Raging Bull, Mean Streets), Chris DeVore (Elephant Man), Rolf De Heir (Bad Boy Bubby).

After literary representation, the next step in his career was representing visual artists. One of the first visual artists he represented was cinematographer Jordan Croenenweth who taught him the importance of listening. Now the company represents a large number of cinematographers including a former podcast guest Oren Soffer.

This episode is unique in that instead of a more chronological discussion of Walter's career we dive deep into the intricacies of being an agent with the hour long discussion taking on a more Q&A form about the craft with Walter extolling advice about a number of topics including: how to get an agent, what an agent can do for you, common misconceptions about agents, how to be a professional artist…

We recorded this conversation over the course of a few discussions due to technical reasons. With that in mind, the conversation touches upon the same topics in a few different ways but it all felt helpful so the various conversations have been combined into one episode.