A couple years ago, Anna Sidorchik made her way from Minsk to Amsterdam, where she launched her career as a filmmaker with the help of a pillow fight. Preferring emotion and ambience over technicalities to guide her, Anna shoots footage that is raw, artistic, sincere.
Tell us about your journey … from Minsk to Amsterdam, and as a filmmaker.
Well, this journey is the most fascinating thing that’s happened to me so far. I found myself in Amsterdam and started my way as a filmmaker. I believe it Amsterdam’s gift to me.
In Minsk I was working as a manager in the advertising industry. It was successful, exciting, and exhausting. I dove into the process, and after two years realized I was done. I’d reached my goals and was looking ahead to the next months or even years.
I always wanted to create something, which led me to photography. But from the beginning, I felt like I was missing something. I’d been trying to make a story from a long, long series of photos … I missed sound, music as a background.
I’d been thinking about video, but post-production seemed extremely hard. Once I tried it though, I left photography. But it was mostly as a hobby at first, because I didn’t see any future in it in Minsk.
Moving to Amsterdam two years ago, I promised myself I’d try everything to make filmmaking my job. And it happened! It was easy and intuitive. One day I captured a funny event — a pillow fight — and people started sharing the video. That’s how I got my first clients.
Where do you find your inspiration? How do you stay fresh?
My inspiration changes all the time. Now it’s all about the people of Amsterdam. How they cycle all day and night, how they feel happy for the sunny days, how they drink coffee and talk to each other. I love watching people. I love the energy of the city. I generally love Amsterdam as a model — yes, it’s my favorite model so far.
To stay fresh, from time to time I’ll switch to absolutely different subjects. For example, how to make people feel hungry while watching food videos.
How would you describe your style?
A bit raw, artistic, sincere.
Every time I need to make a decision to leave or cut a frame, I’m guided by emotions. When it makes me feel something, I leave it. If not, I cut.
What’s been your most memorable shoot?
The first one that comes to mind is How to cut a banana without a knife. It’s a strange video that got 1 million views in one day and made it to YouTube’s Popular of the Day.
What is your dream shoot?
I want to film and combine the reactions of people as they watch videos I’ve shot starring them for the first time. This video would be like a happy pill in a moment of melancholy for me.
I also want to try an underwater shoot. It seems absolutely magical to me!
How do you determine the themes for your stock footage?
My collaboration with Dissolve started in high season, when I had many projects in process, so a lot of my stock right now is from those commercial projects.
But working with Dissolve gives me lots of freedom. Now I’m thinking of my own projects about people in Amsterdam and another about the basic emotions, and combining them with stock shoots.
How has Liftoff affected your process?
Liftoff is amazing. It’s a great experience and has simplified the whole process for me. I love the team at Dissolve! They have valuable advice and are very supportive. I even wanted to print one of their letters and frame it for my workspace.
Meet Derek Armstrong McNeill
Derek McNeill has been telling visual stories most of his life. The Seattlite first honed his eye working as a photographer in the US Air Force, then worked in advertising art direction and design. He now divides his time shooting his own documentary projects and stock footage. “After carrying around a camera kit for years, telling visual […] Read more