We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Pettinella and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I was born and raised in Italy where I was quite a shy and introverted child. However, I loved to read, go to the theater, watch movies, and listen to stories. I was lucky to be exposed to these kinds of activities at home. For this, I’m grateful to my mom, a well-loved high school teacher. All of those places, adventures, and amazing life experiences instilled curiosity in me. They gave me the will to take risks in life in order to grow as a person and to pursue my sense of purpose, to find my place in the world through my own adventures, regardless of my shyness or insecurities. In my life, I have traveled, learned languages, studied different ways of artistic expression, and even when it was difficult, I have kept focused on my plans. Taking risks has always been rewarding, even though it is still never easy. When going through difficult times, I reflect on past experience, while I’m simultaneously ready and trepidatious for the risks ahead. I founded my video production company with a special focus on visual art, music and documentary filmmaking. Moving to New York City offered me immense opportunities and seeds of inspiration. But now as we try to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, all will probably be different, at least for some time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a photographer and filmmaker, I started working for visual artists and musicians here in NYC to support myself. I eventually ended up creating my own photography and videography business, which has been very successful since it started in 2017. I decided to focus on music, visual art and documentary. I work alone or in small teams, producing, shooting and editing music videos and mini documentaries for or about artists and musicians. I also tape live music performances, mainly jazz, in some of the most “historical” venues I used to hear about on my favorite CDs growing up. Of course I have been offered corporate jobs, and although I have my own artistic process, it has been fun, rewarding and also more profitable! But I still haven’t made the move to really venture into that field to expand my business. This company, Little Comb Productions, is my income generating activity, but it’s still my way to use video and images to express myself. I’m able to deeply connect with other artists and figure out ways to transfer their vision into film and pictures, using my visual language and techniques. What makes my business special is definitely this—the fact that it is a business designed to expand creativity and connections. I don’t use templates. Everything is custom made and tailored to the client. I learned on my own many of the techniques I use to film and edit, but my university studies of art history and art criticism and analysis gave me tools to establish communication and dialogue, which I would have probably not learned in film school. My clients are very particular, because they are either painters, musicians or dancers. They have very specific visions and don’t necessarily know how to communicate them well. I guess I have chosen a challenging path, but it’s very rewarding. I keep learning and creating with amazing artists. Of course, I may still film some events and corporate videos in the future, but it will always be different because of my approach. I try to make what could be seen as a weakness in the cold reality of the industry into a strength! And the many positive reviews and feedback that I receive are making me increasingly confident about my approach! As NYC is a highly competitive marketplace, I’m finding that having a strong artistic voice sets me apart from others in my field.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Little Italy in New York City. I love this neighborhood and how close it is to all of my favorite Manhattan areas: Chinatown and the Lower East Side, great for art galleries and some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants; TriBeCa, where I love to set photoshoots; SoHo and its beautiful Elizabeth Street community garden; Union Square for the green market; and of course Greenwich Village for coffee shops and its music venues, especially jazz venues, where I either film musicians or go to see my husband perform.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family prepared me with great tools to better understand the world around me and to develop as an empathic, politically conscious and open-minded individual. There were both books and newspapers around me. We would watch movies, but also documentaries. I also had some great teachers along the way. But I’m really thankful for my husband, who is both a very sensitive artist and a conscious man, who supports me in my art and career. He pushes me to constantly do better, to take up more challenges, to leave stress and insecurities behind. I also owe a lot to many members of the New York arts community. I have felt at home and supported myself since I first arrived in 2011 from the UK, where I was previously based.
Other: https://vimeo.com/user67833277 Personal website: http://www.sarapettinella.com/