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Live Chair Health

This project was one of the early shoots we did with masks and social distancing on set when things began slowly opening back up in July. It’s a short spot we produced for Live Chair, a healthcare startup that is aiming to solve the disparity of health issues in black communities.

Now more than ever we see how much the black and brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic due to existing comorbidities. Live Chair is solving this problem by breaking down the stigma of men talking about their health by starting that conversation in the trusted, sacred space of barbershops in urban communities.

Director by Keenan Marshall

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Allyship & Equality through our Conductor Project Initiative

You’re probably familiar with our work surrounding The Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children, or FIMRC, Stay True Philly, Classroom Champions, and Behind the Masks.  If so, you know about our social impact initiative, The Conductor ProjectThe initiative’s purpose is to support organizations with missions that center strongly around education, arts, and healthy living, and who lead positive change and bring people together in harmony.  


In the wake of recent social injustices across the country and activism surrounding the turmoil, we recently made the stance to make this year’s beneficiary of the program an organization that supported black lives.  Maestro is happy to announce that we have selected to work with the Philadelphia OIC, making our services and resources available in order to drive their mission. 

As one of the region’s oldest and largest providers of job training and career development services, The OIC has a direct impact on bringing opportunities to the workforce and vice versa.  They are dedicated to the elimination of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy.  Focused in the black communities of Philadelphia, the OIC will be a great way for the Maestro Team to use their craft as storytellers and help this organization stand out.  We’ll be embarking on this project this very month!



Long Story Shorts: Mind’s Eye


This month’s edition of Long Story Shorts transcended the impalpable wall that separates actuality from reality.  What does that mean?  Considering the need for representation in storytelling, we can accept the easy relationship of real actors joined to their characters, and similarly with the real lesson their stories represent.  Director, Andrew Czudak, a staff animator at Maestro, suggests that we can just as easily digest an inference that any character, metaphorically or actually represented, proposes enough semblance of the form to parallel a truly real contribution to his story.

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Featured below are some Behind the Scenes stills showcasing the craft of this suggestion beautifully at work.  Czudak takes his theme further by building a complex landscape, again through the impression of what we understand our surroundings to contain.  The façade is built from a collection of toys, artfully placed to create the silhouette we identify as an industrial setting.  He adds an ambiguous atmosphere of fog and flickering light to mirror the mystery behind his inevitably misunderstood villain.



[Photograph by Max Grudzinski @maxgrudz]

   There is an epiphany bequeathed to each viewer as we take a hard cut from this imagined land, to the creator in real time:  a young boy who has fabricated the narrative and with whom we identify implicitly.


 “The transition draws in the viewer and invites them to watch over and over again, looking for clues in the surrounding world for the childhood they relate to,” says Czudak.  “It’s not simply about nostalgia, it’s about the essence of imagination. I want the viewer to reflect on the worlds they built as kids.  Because they don’t just create the environment, they also provide the magic of being involved.”  That involvement is the intangible quintessence of childhood play – the otherworldliness that slowly flaked away in adulthood, and which we still crave as artists.



[Photograph by Max Grudzinski @maxgrudz]

Don’t forget to follow @makelongstoryshorts for more!

Nearing The Finish Line For Americano

Nearing the finish line for “Americano”

For those of you that have been following the production of our short political thriller we’ve produced with Consurgo Films, we’re excited to announce that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Our goal has always been to submit to the festival circuit and we’re a few steps closer to wrapping on post production and begin submitting.

Ed Cipolla, our lead editor on the film, spent countless hours in the edit suite with director Tim Viola to lock picture over the last few weeks so that Tim and producer, Kris Mendoza could head to LA to jump into finishing. Color and VFX were done over at FX Studios and are near completion.

Late night edit sesh for @americanofilm. #maestrofilmworks #consurgofilms

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Upon completion of color and VFX, the film is coming back to Philly for scoring and a final sound mix. Christian Mariano, a Bucks County native now living in Queens, NY is slated to compose original music for the film and the final audio mix will take place at Shake Audio over at Milk Boy.

It’s been exciting to see the film really begin to come alive with all of the final elements coming together. We look forward to circling back and updating our cast, crew, and Kickstarter backers on the road ahead with the festival circuit.

Late night color session on the left coast for @americanofilm.

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DNA Simple

DNA Simple: “Speeding up science with you”

We are happy to announce our recent collaboration with a local Philly based startup in the Healthcare & Science field. DNAsimple is one of the most buzzed-about companies in the fascinating area of genetic research, and it has been fantastic for us to collaborate with such an exciting client.

DNAsimple is “the match-maker of the genetic research world”, matching-up interested users with relevant DNA research studies that are seeking donors. Their streamlined platform is free and easy to use, 100% anonymous, and automatically informs you any time you qualify for a study. For nothing more than the completion of a home saliva kit, all donors are fairly compensated any time they decide to contribute to a study.

The mission of DNAsimple is to enable donors to double the pace of genetic research, bringing cures and treatments to millions of people much earlier than they could otherwise be provided. The combination of cutting-edge scientific research with an intuitive, easy-to- use platform is what has helped DNAsimple gain such great buzz in a competitive, burgeoning field. Co-founder and CEO, Olivier Noel, was featured on the 2017 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 list for Science, in addition to prominent write-ups the company has received in BuzzFeed, The Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Magazine, among others.

The Maestro team produced a video for DNAsimple which will be used by the startup on their website, social media, and eventually even in a broadcast spot. We couldn’t be happier with the final product, and with the fact that we helped to contribute to DNAsimple’s goal of furthering the field of genetic research, and ultimately improving the lives of millions of Americans.

DNAsimple has been featured in stories by multiple media outlets, often touted as a leader in the emerging biorights movement. Visit to learn more about the cutting-edge research going on at DNAsimple, or to sign up today.

Check back at the Maestro blog soon as we’ll be highlighting some of our most exciting projects yet!

Meet Our Summer Interns

Meet our Summer Interns!

Maestro Interns 2017
(Photos: Anjelika Rivera, Maestro Filmworks)

Meet our Summer 2017 Interns! Or as they’ve currently named themselves “Working Title Pictures” for the summer. Eurica (Temple University), Joey (Temple University), and Morgan (Emerson College) have been coming in a few days a week to work on their summer project, which is to produce a short documentary for a non-profit we sponsor, Stay True. (You can read all about our involvement with Stay True over the last 6 years in a recent post.)

From their first day of icebreakers and activities in the office, the three have been hard at work learning as much as they can about production while PA’ing on some film sets and also assisting in the day to day of the office. In order for them to embark on capturing the footage for their summer project, they were tasked to create a short project so they could get familiar with the camera and gear package they would have access to during their time here. They were given one full day to brainstorm a concept and film a short project, and the only stipulations were 1) they had to film in our studio and 2) they had to use as much of the gear as possible. The below is what ensued. We’re proud to present, on behalf of our summer intern, a short film, entitled Void.


by Eurica Yu, Morgan Sage, and Joey Tighue

We’ll make sure to loop back here and update you with their final summer project which will be screening on August 31st at a Gallery Show for Stay True here in our studio.

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Office & studio renovations complete!

Written by Andrew Vigna. Photos by Max Grudzinski.

Our office renovations are finally finished! After beginning in January, we have expanded our studio to have an additional 900 square foot standalone space (finally, space to do cartwheels and our jobs!)

Our new state-of-the-art studio features a freshly renovated interior with smart office features and way more natural light. We’ve also included super important things such as a communal snack bar and two bathrooms. At Maestro, we believe in the importance of having the right creative spaces available for our staff in order to cultivate the most lively creative collaboration. We also added a new conference room and client meeting area which features vintage film and Philly décor.

These new digs allow for open collaboration and a more easygoing workflow for our growing team. With the new upgrades to our space, we have enhanced our technical capabilities and efficiency, while giving our team more room to do their thing.

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FIMRC: Project Cavite

We are super excited to share a short film that we just wrapped on, entitled Project Cavite. Our Executive Producer & Founder, Kris Mendoza, documented his experience while on a medical relief mission in the Philippines this past August and produced a mini documentary on his time there. For more on the project, read the short message from Kris and check out the video below!

Every so often, there comes a project that changes you — whether it’s the subject matter, the circumstances the shoot may have endured, a learning moment, or the impact you were able to make along the way. In the case of Project Cavite, it was all of the above.

In August of 2016, my wife, Melodee, my future sister-in-law, Norilene, and I all had the opportunity to go on a medical mission with the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children or FIMRC, a Philadelphia based organization that has a vast global reach with sites in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uganda as well. It was a destination close to home for all three of us, as we got to go to the Philippines for 10 days to help medical and social workers on the ground in the rural provinces outside of Manila.

Our family vacations to the Philippines usually include shopping at malls, visiting touristy attractions, and lounging on the beach with a tropical cocktail, so to come to the Philippines with an entirely different mindset and purpose was refreshing. It was equally inspiring to see the resilience and resourcefulness of the Filipino people and what they are capable of with very limited resources. To visit the impoverished areas and be able to make an impact in our short time there was nothing short of fulfilling and to see another side of the Philippines that we aren’t used to seeing, and still finding the beauty of the country is an unforgettable experience altogether.

I was lucky enough to tag along as a non-medical volunteer and document the daily happenings and be able to tell the story in the best way I know how. The short film below is a culmination of our 10 days onsite, operating as volunteers with FIMRC. I highly recommend the experience to any one looking for global volunteer opportunities, as they really did a great job in organization and local logistics during our time there.

Special thanks to FIMRC for the opportunity, Maureen, our field operations manager on site, and to our Senior Editor, Edward Cipolla for really helping to craft the narrative in the edit room.

-Kris Mendoza, Executive Producer, Maestro Filmworks

To support the great humanitarian work FIMRC is doing, please visit the following link:

Project Cavite from Maestro Filmworks on Vimeo.

Director/DP: Kris Mendoza
Editor: Ed Cipolla
Graphics: Andrew Czudak
Music: Premium Beat