3 Questions with Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri
Filmmakers Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri on collaboration, business, and finding inspiration no matter what the project.
3 QUESTIONS is a series of brief, three-question interviews with PNCA’s visiting artists and lecturers. Each year, PNCA attracts innovative, thoughtful, and creative makers and thinkers who share our belief in the transformative power of creativity. In three short answers to three short questions, these artists offer perspectives on career, motivation, and transformation. When available, we include links to audio recordings, transcripts, slideshows, or video.
“[It] takes constant, not-always-inspired work to keep skills and ideas progressing.”
What advice would you offer current students about to embark on a career in the arts?
For better or worse, a career really demands understanding the business behind the art or media. Understanding one’s strength (and weaknesses) in both creative and business practice is a primary foundation for meeting the difficulties of making a creative living.
How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?
We both feel that creativity sort of maintains us – as in creative thinking and seeing are a constant way of living, whether or not anything is actually being made. The practice however is different – that takes constant, not-always-inspired work to keep skills and ideas progressing. It also means sharpening the ability to find inspiring elements in any sort of private, public, even commercial project.
Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work?
When we decided to collaborate is certainly a definitive moment but even more important was seeing that the collaboration worked. It was wonderful to see that what we had done in very separate and very personally controlled practices could combine and create something strong and new.
Donal Mosher is a photographer, writer, and musician. His photo documentary work inspired his collaborative directing of October Country with Michael Palmieri. His visual work has been shown in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, and San Francisco’s SF Camerawork. His fiction and non-fiction writings have appeared in Instant City, Satellite, Frozen Tears, Still Blue – An Anthology of Working Class Writing, Life as We Show it – Writings On Film, and the Lamba Award winning Portland Queer Anthology. He is also a principle subject of Robert Arnold’s documentary film Key of G, which focuses on life and work with a severely disabled young man.
Michael Palmieri is a director, cinematographer, and editor. His first documentary feature October Country was a co-directing effort with Donal Mosher that won the grand jury prize for best US documentary at Silverdocs and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best documentary in 2009. He has directed music videos for Beck, The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian, and many others, and his film and video collaborations include work with film and fine artists Christopher Doyle, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Adrian Paci and Tauba Aeurbach. He has been a guest lecturer at the Edinburgh College of Art and at the Balkan film program in Kosovo and is an adjunct professor of film at CCA in San Francisco.