Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21
After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.
Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.
Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!
What were your original impressions of the Young Guns competition, the award, and the community?
I can't trace it back to a single event. For as long as I've been a director Young Guns has been one of the industry's most prestigious competition for young talent.
How did you end up in the creative field anyways?
Before directing, I worked as a painting contractor. But deep down I knew that I had aspirations of calling “action” and “cut” on the big screen, so I applied to University of Quebec’s Cinema Program. They rejected me, so I enrolled in their television program as a consolation price. After graduating, I decided to chase my Hollywood dream and studied commercial production at USC, where I got the spark for directing advertising and films.
Right out of school, I don’t know what hit me, I just packed my bags, moved to Bali (where I knew as many people as a penguin in a desert), and boldly declared myself a photographer (never mind that I'd only snapped school projects before). In retrospect, that was pretty audacious, but it worked out.
For two years, I globe-trotted, producing photo and video lookbooks for brands, mostly swimwear, or anything that could squeeze into a suitcase. Fast forward to late 2018, I was approached by a Canadian production company who offered me a place in the director's chair. Then, here I am.
Congrats on the W! Why did you decide to enter this year?
I must be born under a lucky star because I hadn't planned on entering the competition thinking I was too old and had missed my chance last year. It turned out this year's age deadline fell on my birthday, so I took a chance.
You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?
I selected them intuitively, asking myself which projects make me feel something the most and only submitted those.
What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?
I was jogging on treadmill when I opened the winning email and almost fell off. I had to read it three times at first because I wasn't getting it, thought it might have been a typo. I wasn't expecting more, because being a finalist along some of the most talented people in the industry is already a great accomplishment. I haven't organized anything just yet, but I know I want to celebrate with the people who've supported me the most in this creative journey.
In what ways do you get inspiration as an artist?
My best creative ideas usually flourish when I find myself not in a physical place but rather in a dream state of mind, either meditating or right before falling asleep. Also, watching films or hearing people's real life stories really gets my creativity going.
"My best creative ideas usually flourish when I find myself not in a physical place but rather in a dream state of mind, either meditating or right before falling asleep."
Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?
I admire Niclas Larsson (YG17), he's been an inspiration for me since I saw his series Magic Dinner. There's grace and sensitivity in his work. His characters are alive and his storytelling is always clever.
If you could create a new Young Guns tradition, what would you want it to be and why?
Good question! Ask me after the ceremony, it might spark some ideas.
Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!
I'm currently living a big dream of mine which is to be working on my first short film with dialogues. I'm fortunate enough to have the support of my long time collaborators and friends on it. I would also really like to meet a writing partner with whom I could work on future projects.
This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?
In a decade, I will be directing features, while also engaging in meaningful advertising projects in between my films. I hope to be richer with experiences– there are trips I want to take, people I want to meet, acting classes I want to pursue, and culinary techniques and languages I want to learn. In a decade, I aspire to lead a purposeful and artful life.
Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!