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Meet Maria Quintana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Quintana.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Maria. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I started to get into the film industry because a close friend asked me if I could work as still photographer in a feature film in Mexico. She recommended me to a Mexican production company (Bh5), and I started to work as still photographer with them in five productions. But before getting into the film industry my first professional work was with Eugenio Derbez in Mexico, I worked as part of the camera team, and at the same time, I was collaborating with some Mexican magazines as a music photographer.

But I really wanted to get into the film industry and decided to become a cinematographer was when I worked in the features films because as still photographer you are in some point close to the camera team, so I started to get more desire to make the jump from the still to the movement. So, I decided to get into the more technical and creative side of the film and learn more about cinema cameras and how the director of photography works on set. So I got to come to LA and start my Master’s Degree in Cinematography at the New York Film Academy. I’m still working with the Mexican production in Mexico.

And now I’m starting to build my career as a cinematographer. Few months ago, I finished my short film FENCED, and now we are going through the festival circuit getting some awards. Also, I just finished to work in my first feature film USA-MX as still photographer and it was a really good experience because I had the opportunity to work in an international professional set and also because the director of photography was a second unit (camera b) in the last Alfonso Cuaron’s film ROMA, so it was really amazing to learn from him and apply all that experience in my work to become a cinematographer.

Good things are coming now, and I’m still working to learn and build my career as director of photography. In January I have the premiere of my first music video as director of photography from the band Tarah Who? And also I’ll shoot as director of photography a commercial for Mexican brand. So, interesting project is coming for this 2019.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I always say that life with me has been really good with me and I feel really blessed, because normally since I started working people called and invited me to work with them, but always is hard and more when you are freelancing, and you are name is not famous. Also when I came here to LA, I reset my life, because I started from zero here.

But since I started to have the opportunity to show my work, everything turned easy, but still there some hard days. I always believe that through hard work and determination you can accomplish anything, and sometimes you need to sacrifice and put more than your 100% to get your dreams. The journey comes with ups and downs and is part of the process to pursue your dreams.

Nothing is impossible, you make the paths, you created your opportunities. And always you can fly high like the kites, but never leave the ground, always connected with who you are and what are you doing in this life. That’s why my nickname is Papalote that means in English kite. I like to dream and fly high, but I never lose my ground, and from where do I belong.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m a cinematographer and music photographer. I really love to work on set, normally I work as cinematographer and 2nd AC. Also, I really love to work with film, so when I have a chance, I work as a loader. I work as a music photographer more as a personal job, I love music, and I really enjoy be in the pit for only 10 min and take the best of the band that is performing in live.

And a curious fact people knows me as Papalote, in the industry and more in México, people call me “Papalote” that why my user name in my social media is Niña Papalote but here in America doesn’t exist the “ñ” so I had to put Nina Papalote. The meaning of my this nickname is “Kite Girl.” In all the movies that I’ve worked my name in the credits is like “Niña Papalote Barbosa.”

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I think until now I feel proud about every moment. I have to confess that I never imagined to work in the film industry. Before I started working or decide to be a cinematographer. I was the director of the broadcasting collage radio in Mexico. And there one of my proudest moment was that I got into the music world, I started to work as a music photographer, and my photos got published in some magazines in Mexico.

After that, I got into the film industry so that one was my second proudest moment, and then when the New York Academy accepted me. Come to Los Angeles and finished my Master’s Degree is also one of my proudest moment. Now I need to start working more and see where and what I can achieve as cinematographer and with my short film FENCED.

And I have to say that all this proudest moment also is because my family is always there with me supporting me and never letting me fall, without them I could not have all these moments.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Vatsa Barot, Charles Ancelle and Anne Gustafson

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