Get to know LA Cinematographer Laisa Mara dos Santos

HI, Laisa Mara. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today. For those unfamiliar with your work, could you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you got started?

Photography has always been part of my life since my childhood. My family loves getting together and capturing every moment of the monthly meetings. I grew up in a family where art, music and cinema were a passion and a hobby for my parents and my family.

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 this time, I was still in college and also working in a photo lab and producing two TV shows. I was doing it on the wall and the cinematography popped up in between it all. I started to get even more interested and started working as a cinematographer and cameraman in a few short films.

Later and after many collaborations, I moved to Los Angeles to study cinematography at UCLA and start my career in the United States. I worked in more than 60 productions and I met and worked with great professionals.

And now you are currently developing your first feature film, right?

That’s right! I’m super excited because the first feature always has a special feel. The final version of the script is done but we’re still in pre-production, we’re getting the whole team, 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 together and heal some past trauma. It’s a very brutal and honest story that shows the power of the two women and all the struggles they have to go through to survive in this world.

I try as much as possible to tell stories about women and make their voices heard. I want to make a difference with my on-screen and off-screen work. Cinema must be equal and we must evolve and also make it a safe space for all professional women.

Do you have other projects on the horizon? What can you tell us?

Yes! I’m writing a screenplay for my new documentary, called “Nenem”. I love documentaries and I’ve worked in a few, like ‘Territorio’ and ‘The Brave Generation’.

This new one that is under development will certainly be my greatest pride and my greatest joy. It will not only be a family reunion but also a one-way trip down memory lane. My family will revisit the past and talk about their childhood and the impact of my grandmother’s presence in their lives, from the time they felt her love until her death.

We can observe that your family directly impacts your work. Can you tell us how much this influences the productions you work on?

In fact, I like to experiment and work with different types of scripts. Horror, drama, musical, romance… I love everything from commercials to narrative films. I have preferences and stories that captivate me more but I like challenges and I don’t want to be just in my comfort zone. I’m always open to new stories and new collaborations!

Right now, not only am I working on different productions, but I’m also developing my own projects and ideas. This documentary I mentioned is one of them and my family’s story

influences not only how I am as a person, but also as a professional. I feel like as I get older, I become more aware and proud of that. I definitely acquired my sensitive vision of films thanks to them, but my goal is for sure to create great stories and have 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, be sure to follow my Instagram and visit my portfolio to learn more about my new productions. I am currently preparing 3 short films and 1 feature film and supervising the color correction of my latest short film project.

Get to know LA Cinematographer Laisa Mara dos Santos

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