Paolo's Open Road

PAOLO DAVANZO

Founder/Executive Director
Echo Park Film Center

“I wasn't going to do the 9 to 5, I wasn't going to do the conventional. We opened the film center, and the message we give is…it’s just about believing in yourself and believing in your power to create things of beauty.”

INTERESTS:

Film Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Culture Education Fulfillment Transitions Conflict Exploration Support & Encouragement

TAGS:

believing, burn out, continually learning, doing what is right, dreaming, empowerment, experimenting, family, film making, filming, films, freedom, happiness, immigrant, Italian, italy, routine, storytelling, teaching, trying new things

BIOGRAPHY:

Filmmaking generally evokes images of army-sized crews, decadent Kraft service spreads, and multi-million dollar equipment hovering around abnormally attractive actors. But Paolo Davanzo doesn’t need fancy gear and big-shot producers to make a film. For him, it’s just about telling stories—no matter how small or big. The Italian-born filmmaker has found his life’s work in creating experimental films that reveal the diverse and often sidelined voices of America. To be clear, Paolo isn’t just making art-house documentaries that hipsters can analyze over coffee—his work is about sharing the art of filmmaking with those around him. As a former community college teacher, Paolo always yearned to combine his interests in teaching, film, and activism to help marginalized individuals express their own unique visions. Unfortunately, teaching in a traditional school didn't give Paolo the time and framework to really invest in his students. So he decided to create a new blueprint: He opened up a nonprofit film center in Echo Park, CA, where members of the community can access free film and video resources to tell their stories. Whether it’s loaning out film equipment, teaching filmmaking classes, or screening films, Paolo’s Echo Park Film Center brings the joy of media creation to a wide group of individuals who wouldn't have access to it otherwise. Ultimately, Paolo gives people an outlet to share their life experiences: “It’s about believing in yourself, and believing in your power to create things of beauty.”

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