Cinematographer Andrés Solórzano talks viral commercial campaign CitiBank and Girl Scouts of America

When Andrés Solórzano speaks of cinematography, he doesn’t sound like one describing a job, rather, he describes his passion. As a renowned director of photography in Mexico and abroad, Solórzano knows what it takes to be at the top of his craft. As a cinematographer, he does not simply film what is in front of him, he is an artist, carefully planning out each and every frame in a motion picture that makes its way to audiences all over the world.

“Being a Cinematographer is a balance between the subjective and objective experience in art. Subjective, because the esthetic experience we get from images is different in every person. Objective, because being a cinematographer requires technical knowledge in order to create the images we see. For any project, the process begins with getting a script or a treatment from the director. After reading the treatment, I need to understand the vision of the director and be able to execute it on set. This is when the subjective and objective experience start caressing each other and in that interaction my cinematography is born,” he describes.

Solórzano’s love for his chosen profession comes from creating images that tell a story to connect with the audience. He does not simply wish to make movies; he aims to leave a lasting impression on those who see his work, both by his artistry and through the story. He takes such an approach with everything he creates. Whether working with superstars like Kanye West on his new opera Mary and Justin Bieber on his web documentary series Seasons, or telling important stories, such as the life of the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico City on the award-winning documentary series The Category Is… Mexico City, the audience is always on Solórzano’s mind, always aware of what they will be taking in.

Despite working on such widely acclaimed productions with some of the planet’s most recognizable stars, the highlight of Solórzano’s esteemed career came from working on the commercial “It Starts with a Question” for Citibank and Girl Scouts of America. The set in Los Angeles was huge, and the commercial was played on national television across America, but for Solórzano, it also shared an important message.

The campaigns for Citi Foundation and Girl Scouts of America portray different girl scouts expressing various societal themes through questions. The campaign’s aim is to empower young leaders of tomorrow. The commercial shows different girl scouts inside their worlds, and they express a question or interest they have, such as “How do I become a congresswoman?” or “Can saving the planet be my job?” It is a positive campaign that encourages young girls to go for their dreams.

“The story of this commercial tries to capture the interests and questions from contemporary girl scouts to our leaders in congress and modern society. I feel like the voice of young generations is always important so we can face the challenges of our future. The Girl Scouts of America allows young girls to be strong and face challenges at a young age. The message that these Girl Scouts have for the world is important,” says Solórzano.

Solórzano’s main task as Director of Photography was to create the look and visual language for the campaign. He was required to achieve the desired look and feel with the time and crew limitations they had, as it was his first project after the COVID 19 pandemic swept across the world, shutting down the entertainment industry for months and creating strict guidelines on a set. He decided to use a Steadicam operator for the camera movement to help with the restrictions while following the girl scouts naturally, both efficient and important for connecting with the audience. The camera package and lenses were also carefully selected so as to create a dreamy but modern look straight from the camera without the need for extensive editing and effects in post-production. He also planned every lighting set-up perfectly, so no time was wasted, keeping everything on time despite many moving parts.

Initially, the campaign was designed to be strictly online, but the client was so happy with the result that they decided to air it nationally on television as well. Ultimately, the commercial campaigns for Citibank and Girl Scouts of America claimed vast commercial success with over 1 million and 700,000 views on YouTube, respectively. 

“The stories of these girl scouts are an inspiration for younger and not-so-young generations. Sharing the voice of communities and other perspectives is one of the main reasons I decided to be a cinematographer. My career as a cinematographer has been from one set and project to the next one and I look forward to telling many more unique stories,” says Solórzano.

Check out “It Starts with a Question” to get a quick 30 seconds of mega inspiration.

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