Rory Mitchell here, local producer for "One Day in L.A."
I'm very excited to post our first Profile Spotlight on an extremely talented documentarian, Maya Santos, creative director of "Form Follows Function."
Maya will be filming interviews with CicLAVia participants at our booth at the Urban Lights Installation this Sunday at CicLAVia, so come on by and say "Hi!" to her and the rest of your erstwhile "One Day in L.A." crew, grab some postcards to pass out and help spread the word about "One Day in L.A!"
1. Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Maya Santos, Creative Director of Form follows Function, a small collaborative studio creating short non-fiction media on place-based stories. I'm also a freelance Director/Editor and Cinematographer.
I drew constantly as a child. My dad taught me how to use a manual 35mm camera pretty early on which I think planted a seed in me. Since the sixth grade I knew I wanted to be an architect from enjoying drawing a house and its spaces. I actually pursued a B.Arch and B.S. in Architectural Studies in 1999 and worked in the field in Seattle and New York for a few years. Having never never found the right studio to engage my passion for design and serving people of marginalized communities, I veered toward a medium that was able to intersect all of this to me, which was media.
5. What do you love about Los Angeles?
What I love about Los Angeles is that to me it's like the closest thing to living in another country. I love that I can always be surprised at where I find myself and who I can connect to. Here, it's like when you think you know this place, there always seems to be a something around the corner, whether it be a building, a neighborhood, or a pocket I have never experienced. There's always something new somewhere and it's not obvious. I can truly say I feel like I am culturally fed here on many levels, especially as far as art and music I can still discover. That's a big deal. I also love architecture history and love how L.A. is laced with various eras of time within blocks of one another or even in the same facade, co-existing with various functions shaped by its inhabitants and their changing needs. These relationships between people and place truly fascinate me, and the vast landscape of L.A. seems to be the perfect canvas for these dynamics to play out most eloquently. It's always fulfilling to see what can be captured on camera. More often than not, I am able to see something beautiful and learn something true and with plenty substance.
6. What do you fear most for Los Angeles?
I've never experienced a full-on earthquake or natural disaster for that matter (knock on wood), and like many others, fear when this happens that our city is ill-prepared to help people who need it most and support the re-building of communities that often fall to the wayside during these times. Luckily, my increasing trust in humanity overrides this fear and my faith in neighborly love and the growing collective consciousness around sustainability will keep us all safe when that comes around.
7. What do you hope for Los Angeles in the next 20 years?
My hope for Los Angeles in the next 20 years is to really hone in on its potential for public mass transportation with more biking lanes, open public green spaces with edible gardens, solar power on every rooftop, and socially responsible architecture that addresses historic restoration, environmental sustainability, and affordable housing. This vast city has so much potential for inter-connectivity on so many levels and it's great to know that these shifts are already happening. Hopefully, it will all come together for this next generation to take it to the next level.