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Patti Podesta: The Art of Production Design Part One09:03

In part one of our discussion with production designer Patti Podesta, Patti questions how Baudrillard's description of artificial vs real influences the way in which falseness portrays on screen. In the Gregg Araki film “Nowhere,” Patti dealt with flat graphic motifs that compressed the physical set space. She further illuminates how references in the real world find their way into fantasy and the screen world.  The House on the Rock is an architectural reference that Patti used to expose discrete qualities of discontinuity. When approaching the design for American Gods she invoked this notion as symbols of Americana and the supernatural played against and with each other in a visual symphony.   

For the film “Defending Jacob,” the environment and set design she created is contrasted to a realistic version of suburban Boston, but is maintained as an essential aspect of the characters and their social status.  She emphasizes the necessity of designing for the camera.  On one end the space may be considered spartan and graphic but in other aspects is allowed to breathe with familiar decoration, regardless each detail is carefully considered.  

Patti Podesta's career marks an intersection of art and film. Her spare,
moody design for the original and critically acclaimed film "Memento" directed by Chris Nolan launched her Production Design career. Recent projects include "Defending Jacob," "American Gods" and the series "Hannibal." Features include "Bobby," "Love and Other Drugs," Gregg Araki's "Nowhere" and in television, the pilots for "Homeland," "Elementary" and the tv movies "Recount" and "Cinema Verite." She has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and the Art Director's Guild Award numerous times for her work.

Ms. Podesta designed the exhibition dedicated to the work of Stanley Kubrick, overseeing every aspect of the exhibition for LACMA in Los Angeles, on view from 2012-2013. As an artist, she is recognized for early performance videos and experimental-narrative films, exhibited in the U.S. and Europe and acknowledged with numerous awards. She maintains her participation in the art world as a member of the Graduate Art Faculty at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She has been a guest mentor for SCI-Arc's Fiction and Entertainment Program 2018-2020.

Crew Credits:

Creator and Executive Producer - Hernán Díaz Alonso
Producers - Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan
Segment Producer/Interviewer - Liam Young
Director - Reza Monahan
Director of Photography - Sean Morris
B Camera - Robert Moreno
C-Camera - Dan Tundis
Sound Engineer - George Wymenga

Story Producer - Ben Neufeld
Editors - Ben Neufeld/Reza Monahan

"Potential 4" by David Edward Holden
"Feel Better" by Paul Ressel and Christopher Baron

Additional Photos and Video Courtesy of Patti Podesta

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