Labels; it seems that when it comes to creative professionals, nobody likes them. Don’t call Dylan a folk singer or refer to Banksy as a purveyor of graffiti but simply address them as artists. That’s likely because categorization is the invention of sales and marketing departments rather than those who are focused on the art itself. Filmmaker Emilio Subia (@emiliosubia) is comfortable with a number of titles such as writer, director, editor, even cinematographer but is not welcoming to his productions receiving categorization. His work on films, documentaries, music videos, and commercials, displays his versatility and desire to communicate as a filmmaker with different tones and intentions. This concept is reinforced by the unique style he brings in equal measures to all of these varied productions. It’s increasingly prevalent in the modern world to see professionals like Emilio Subia vacillating between various types of productions to bring their sensibilities to a more intoxicating and benevolent result for the companies and artists whom they collaborate with.
While the lockdown has stifled the vast majority of the industry, Emilio has pursued his work with the same tenacity that he has always possessed, albeit under the same restrictions as the rest of the world. Still, 2020 saw a variety of projects from Emilio and recognition for that work. His short film Paper Plane travelled the world in festival screenings and a campaign he edited for Boston Public Schools received the Silver Telly Award and the Distinguished Communicator Award.
As the writer/director/editor of the film Paper Plane, Emilio took audiences into the world of a shy and awkward young boy’s attempts to capture the attention of his new neighbor. Available soon on Amazon Prime, Paper Plane gained international attention as an official selection at such industry happenings like the Castelvolturno Film Festival in Italy, UK’s Lift-Off Sessions, the Stone Flower Film Festival in Russia, and the Redstones Film Festival in Boston. Paper Plane perfectly communicates the contemplative innocence of its main character with the universality of friendship , achieving a tone that is instantly accessible regardless of culture or language. This film displays the filmmaker’s most prominent attribute, an ability to access shared moments with which all audience members can connect. The lightheadedness of Paper Plane is starkly contrasted by some of Emilio’s other work with artists, international brands, and on documentaries. Subia professes that a wide range of topics and tones is paramount for him as an artist stating, “I know what grabs my attention as a director and the things that I want to talk about in my films. In terms of style and genre, I’m still trying many different things because I am young and I want to experience everything I can before defining myself.”
That openness to experimentation also includes collaboration and a willingness to take on different roles to achieve a result. In the realm of music videos, Emilio Subia’s work as a director and editor has made him a valuable resource for artists, companies, and peers. “Teen Dream” by Alisa Nappa (@alisanappa)
and “Can No Longer Control The Sound” by In The Universe (@intheuniverse_music) each possess remarkably different moods, thanks in no small part to the contributions of Subia and the people he collaborated with. Nappa’s joyful summer celebration belies the reality of its Coney Island filming location during the middle of this year. Emilio co-directed this music video with his friend and collaborator Nico Tepper (@nico_tepper) which, according to him, was a great creative advantage. The dreamy, fun, and vibrant essence of “Teen Dream” opposes Emilio’s dazzling editing of “Can No Longer Control the Sound” which establishes the out-of-body reality suspension that the band intended for this statement that oftentimes you can’t control what happens in your life.
For the “Caught on Film” holiday campaign by Montreal based Garage clothing company, Emilio wanted to capture the excitement that major cities were known for and yet were mostly missing during the pandemic. Photographer/director Hannah Snider (@hannahsider) who has worked with names and brands such as SnoopDog, A$AP Rocky, Pharrel Williams, Nike, Puma, Adidas, and director of photography Sam Tetro (@ortetmas) supplied Subia with a vast amount of footage and essentially free creative reign to interpret it. Beginning with New York City, each of these three ads focus on the energy of a major city and the young women’s style presented in these ads. Describing his work and approach for this project, Emilio notes, “I was heavily inspired by the nature of the city where the first video was shot (NYC) and I thought that the video needed to fall in line with what the general impression of NYC is. In times of the pandemic, when things have clearly slowed down and big cities like New York don’t seem to be what they used to, I felt the need to recuperate that feeling. That is why it is a very energetic, dynamic, and sometimes chaotic product. Hannah, Sam, and Garage liked my approach so the rest of the videos followed this same energy that became part of the campaign”.
Adamant that he is intrigued by the ability to create within the parameters of all these different types of productions, Emilio professes, “There is a lot of contrast in my body of work and that’s something I relish. I’ve consumed and been influenced by such diverse forms of filmmaking in my life that I want my filmography to be as diverse and demonstrate that while I am capable of making a very quiet and slow film, I am also capable of making the opposite. I am still at a point where I am trying many different things to find those I like and those I don’t, what I want to keep doing and what not. I have feature films in the works but I’m equally eager to work on music videos, commercials, and other opportunities that come my way because they all serve to provide the means for my lifelong journey as a storyteller.”
Writer : Coleman Haan