ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE JUL-AUG-SEP 2021 (Vol IV, Issue XXII)
Article Published on: 13TH JAN 2023 | www.demodemagazine.com
Luis Grolez is a French-Australian independent filmmaker and cinematographer based in Dubai.
Growing up in a family with artists and architects, the process of creating was integral to Grolez’s upbringing and he was always in search of unique ways of self-expression. At the age of 10, his enthusiasm for storytelling was stimulated after attending a summer camp in France where he took part in a filmmaking workshop. Seeing his love for all things visual, his grandfather gifted him his first digital camera in 2004. After that, there was no looking back.
Grolez has gathered extensive experience during his career working in Australia and the United Arab Emirates, from editing and design to art direction, marketing, and production - leading teams to create high-value visual content for agencies. This has allowed him to approach filmmaking with a multifaceted point of view, specializing in cinematography, while simultaneously also understanding the different elements of storytelling, giving him a well-rounded and unique perspective.
After gathering more than 15 years of experience working in the creative industry, Grolez started his indepe..n...d..e..nt freelance career under Grolez Film Production in 2018. At the heart of his philosophy is the commitment to conceptualizing and creating high-quality video content across different genres, backed by the goal to create tailor-made content to make the client’s vision come to life. One of his greatest strengths is to work under tight deadlines with available resources, through attentive interpersonal communication, close coordination, and an innate understanding. He is easily able to adapt and adjust to suit the client’s requirement and ultimately deliver a finished product that always goes above and beyond to deliver on the brief.
To aid the process and make his vision come to life, Grolez has invested in top-of-the-range production equipment - Digital film cameras, superior lenses, and lights.
LUIS GROLEZ'S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DE MODE
Q: How long have you worked as a filmmaker?
A: I have worked as an independent freelance filmmaker for 3.5 years. But I have been closely involved with the filmmaking process for the past 9 years – closely working with and supervising a team of photographers and videographers in my role as creative production manager.
Q: What is the key to developing a good team?
A: The most important qualities I would look for while choosing a team member would be professionalism, reliability, and trustworthiness - someone who can achieve tasks and have drive and initiative. Punctuality and enthusiasm go a very long way in the film industry as well - many times shoots run over time, so the person must be able to put in those extra hours if required. And lastly and most importantly, it’s always great to have a colleague that is fun and enjoyable to work with.
Q: Share an experience where you successfully coordinated with others?
A: Coordinating with others is at the core of each shoot - without it, a shoot can drastically turn into a disaster. I need to coordinate with clients, producers, production agencies, crew members, and talent. It’s at the very crux of being a filmmaker and I make sure to apply it to every single project.
Q: Have you ever been in a situation where your patience was tested?
A: One of the biggest things that test my patience is crew members making mistakes. We are all humans and mistakes are inevitable, but I try to minimize them by training the crew beforehand on the proper handling of the equipment so that the shoot is as smooth as possible. Lack of foresight on part of the client/agency in coordinating and getting required permissions can also, be frustrating as it takes my time and focuses away from the shoot and onto matters that should ideally be handled by the production agency. I try to avoid this scenario by ensuring that the client has informed the required parties about the shoot and taken the necessary permissions. Patience and a problem-solving nature are crucial and I have honed those qualities during my career as a filmmaker.
Q: Tell us your experiences related to filmmaking in the UAE?
A: UAE has been my home for the past 12 years. I’ve learned so much here and made many lasting friendships and connections along the way. It’s a hub that’s always evolving and developing its dynamism and multicultural aspects making it one of the best places to practice filmmaking. Another thing I love about living here is the certainty of the weather being sunny. I have lost the habit of checking the weather app - it is either going to be sunny and hot, or sunny and very hot.
Q: Which other countries do you travel to for work?
A: One of the best things about the UAE is that it is so strategically located. My last project was in Denmark and Germany where I shot a documentary. We were constantly on the move, traveling from one city to another, exploring and discovering local cultures and historical sites. Another project that was close to my heart was a 10 days documentary in Armenia to investigate and bring to light the trafficking of local bears for tourism.
Q: Are you comfortable working long or odd hours?
A: While shooting outdoors we normally adapt and work based on available light. If there’s a perfect shot in the desert for which I need to be out of the house at 3 AM – I’ll be there.
Grolez has amassed a vast network of clients, both international and local, alongside an extensive industry network having worked in the industry for a number of years, he has worked with a number of reputed companies such as Nike, Hyatt, The North Face, Hamleys, Etihad, Del Monte, Tom Ford, Vans, Nestlé, Kayak, McDonald’s, and Timberland, among others, deliver advertisements, documentaries, and corporate videos. Alongside commercial projects, Grolez has also created independent award-winning documentaries and short films. To see all showreels, visit www.grolez.com.
FIVE THINGS ABOUT LUIS NOT EVERYONE KNOWS:
Luis is a qualified skydiver and has never skydived in tandem (with someone else). He learned skydiving because he had a fear of heights and wanted to overcome them.
At the age of 8, he saved his brother's life when he was drowning in the lake during a sudden storm.
After rolling his jeep on the dunes (it flipped 3 times and the car was written off by the insurance company), Luis came out unscratched and went shooting the next day.
He was stuck on an island (literally) with nothing but a sleeping bag and camera gear. He built a raft and escaped successfully while keeping all of his camera gear intact.
He grew up in Australia with a snake called Steve who lived in his ceiling.