Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonny Pimentel.
Sonny, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a cinematographer and photographer based in Atlanta, but I’m originally from Mexico City. I’ve lived in Georgia for over half of my life, so I just started to embrace the fact that I’m a Georgia peach. It doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I come from. My mother has been always there to remind me of my culture and heritage, which I often draw inspiration from for my work. I’m the first member of my small family to earn a college degree in filmmaking and take pride in that.
I think I’ve always been an artist in a way, but I didn’t start being one with filmmaking. I initially wanted to be a musician like my dad. But I ended up being behind the camera, and I’m loving every part of it. I really enjoy telling stories either with a single photograph and/or in a short film. I focused on Latin American film history and theory while in college because one day I’d like to make films about my people. I feel the mainstream media obsesses a lot over the negative aspects of Latin America. Films are a powerful medium where you can reinforce pretty much anything for our own knowledge, and at times it can be very unfortunate for Latin American countries because there’s so much more than drug lords and crime. There are other issues to be aware of, and there are also great achievements. Eventually, I’d like to change that by telling other great stories that can touch everyone’s hearts.
In order to achieve that goal, I’ve been more involved in the Atlanta art and film community in recent years. I directed my first film called “Genderalia”, a documentary about gender roles, and I’ve been collaborating with other local artists and filmmakers on several projects. It has been a very fulfilling path because of the people I’ve connected with over the years.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been easy. It was very hard for me to adapt to a new country in the beginning, especially to a conservative state that tends to be hostile towards immigrants. But I also realized that Georgia is not Atlanta. The people from the Atlanta art and film community I’ve met over the years have been very welcoming and made me feel comfortable. As far as for my career, the film industry can be a tough path, even more so in the discipline of cinematography as a woman, but I’m learning from great mentors and my peers. If I fall, they lift me up in the best way so that I can learn. I’ll always be grateful for their help and constructive criticism to be a better filmmaker.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m a filmmaker and artist. My work has been part of international exhibitions and publications in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. My work is influenced by composition motifs drawn from my Hispanic culture, as well as by ambiguous aesthetics and imagery that I often find in the works of my favorite writers, painters, photographers, and cinematographers. In 2015, I directed my first documentary called “Genderalia”, which you can watch here: https://vimeo.com/299794898.
What were you like growing up?
I was a very adventurous and wild kid growing up. Even as an adult, I can still count the times that I fell off a bike or out of a tree by the number of scars I have on my knees and other parts of my body. I’ve been always interested in music, literature, art, and social studies. I really enjoy watching art films from filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky and Wim Wenders, among others from different countries. I play guitar, read, and write stories in my spare time (when I have it!). I try to keep my mind busy and active.
- Website: www.sonnypimentel.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/sonnyalejandra
- Other: vimeo.com/sonnyalejandra
Lisa Larson, Elizabeth Allen, Matt Korlin-Downs, Michelle Maney, Gaoya Yang, John C. Farris