About Max Galassi
Max Galassi is an 18-year-old filmmaker/photographer from Newtown, Connecticut. He just moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and photography. He will begin attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena this fall.
In the past, Max attended Newtown High School and Regional Center for the Arts where he studied film and photography. This is where he found his love of storytelling with a camera. At age 14 he had directed his first short film, "Moonlight," which was selected for the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle and won "Best in Connecticut" and "Best Experimental" at the Greenwich Youth Film Festival in Connecticut.
Throughout his high school career, Max produced more films and music videos which were also selected for festivals including NFFTY and the All American High School Film Festival in New York City. His Music Video, “The River Kings,” was screened at the MoMA PS1 in June 2015. His Film “Sophie’s Tree” (age 15) was not only screened at NFFTY and AAHSF, but was also premiered at the Healing Newtown Arts Center along with his first 20-minute-film ("Astral," age 14) as one of the events to help the town of Newtown heal following the tragedy that struck on December 14th of 2012. “Sophie’s Tree” was later adapted into a music video for German EDM artists, Kyau and Albert which broke 10,000 views in the first 2 weeks of release.
At age 15, Max directed, filmed, and co-wrote his first feature-length film with a cast and crew of 120, all original music and score. “Youth” was successfully funded through an Indiegogo campaign created by Max, and was invited to be only the official film screened as part of the Newtown Arts Festival, on September 17th, 2013 to a sold out audience of 180. “Youth” was an official selection screened at the Connecticut Film Festival, (December 2013). Max received his first IMDB credit for “Youth”. Max was also cinematographer and co-director of "Playgrounds," winner of the Jacob Burns Center 24 hour Film Challenge spring 2014.
Along with his own creative work in high school, Max also was asked to do several freelance jobs such as music videos, commercials, and dance/sports highlights reels. These include a promotional piece for "Irving Berlin's America," by NYC director and playwright, Chip Deffaa as well as a commercial for Johnny A. Williams Woodshop. Max is currently excited to begin film school in the fall and is eager to see what opportunities await on the west coast!
Why Experiment? by Max Galassi
We are all eager to develop our own unique perspective as filmmakers. But when you are as young as I am, it is useless to consciously develop a style. With every film you make, you inch closer to the filmmaker you’re bound to be. Eventually and only through experimentation, your style will find you.
I never consciously set out to create experimental films but in the early days of high school that side of filmmaking happened upon me. As a perfectionist, I was so eager to create a perfect film with a perfect story. My mind was inhabited by millions of themes and messages and I felt an obligation to shares these sentiments with the world. But how could I create a single cohesive story out of this plethora of ideas? I found the only way I could do this was to be avant-garde.
We all have feelings that we don’t want to forget and memories that we want others to feel. In the first two years of high school, I created several films to do just that. I wanted to create something beautiful from my personal experiences. I set aside structure and focused on feeling. Whether or not it made perfect structural sense didn’t matter. I wanted the viewer to feel the same emotions that I felt.
But for viewers of traditional films, such empathy can seem impossible. With concrete plot points, characters and messages, many films tell you exactly how to think and how to feel. Experimental cinema is a crucial alternative, intentionally vague and interpretive as an art form. It allows us to relate to the film’s content in our own way. Essentially, we can feel for ourselves.
Experimental films don’t call for full understanding but rather a full emotional response. This is best achieved through an approach that values interpretation, metaphor and symbolism. By translating personal emotions into universal themes, filmmakers can create beautiful moments with broad appeal. These films are projections of our hearts and greatly exhibit our sentimental understanding of the world.