8.11.2011

NALIP-NY member spotlight: Manolo Celi

Here's the article I wrote for the May issue of the NALIP-NY newsletter on the director, Manolo Celi:

“Everything is significant.” 
With that motto, director Manolo Celi has blazed his own path in the film and advertising world, garnering awards and recognition for his quirky and anti-nihilistic visions.  He has worked with domestic and international agencies like Alma DDB, Downtown Chicago Partners, and Zubi Advertising, among others.  In addition, his short films have played and won awards in global film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival.  Recently, he directed a piece for wheres-the-bear.com, an urban ad project, that has spanned the globe since Cannes, depicting the misadventures of a transgendered teddy bear. Now, Manolo is set to blaze the scene anew with his first feature, Tony Tango, about a “large and in-charge” dancer who aims to save the world through dance. 
Manolo believes in taking chances and not being afraid to be yourself.  This belief directs his approach to directing and informs his artistic influences.  It is no wonder that Manolo admires distinct master storytellers like Fellini, Spielberg and Godard.  Like them, Manolo follows his instincts and lets his creativity shine through, whether he is making a film or a commercial.  Furthermore, he applies his motto, ‘everything is significant,’ to all aspects of production from what boards he accepts to how he lights and designs the set to how he treats the cast, crew and clients. With that approach, he is better able to find and depict the ever-elusive truth of human experiences on screen.
As he says, “True art expresses absolute truth because that is what reaches people... It is the same with commercials... the most popular and award-winning commercials… convey real human emotions. And, that is what I strive for in everything I do - whether it is comedic or dramatic.”  It was this striving to connect to human experience through comedy that moved him to make Tony Tango
In closing, he advises filmmakers, “Do your homework. Find out who makes the work you like, how they did it and how they succeeded where others failed.   Steal from the best. And think of yourself as the best... Because only you are the very best at being you.”
Visit Manolo’s website.
Visit Tony Tango’s website, “Like” Tony on Facebook and “Follow” his dance moves on Twitter.



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