The Filmmaker

The filmmaker, with headphones on, looks down into her camera’s viewfinder.

Mai Iskander
GARBAGE DREAMS Director/Producer/Cinematographer

What keeps her motivated as an independent filmmaker:

It was gratifying to witness these teenage boys growing up and becoming young men. They are filled with enthusiasm for any new adventure, a longing to find love and acceptance, and a strong desire to hold onto and to develop their trade. They always reminded me why I cared about this issue in the first place — because of the people I met along the way.

Her three favorite films:

I love all of the Maysles's movies and their cinema verité approach to documentary filmmaking. I followed that approach when I was filming. Once I started editing, the film seemed to create itself.

Her advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Caring more about the topic of the film than filmmaking itself will carry you through the hard times of making a film.

Filmmaker Bio

Mai Iskander is a producer, director, and cinematographer based in New York. As a cinematographer, she has worked on TV shows for A&E, PBS, and LOGO, and she has filmed numerous dramas and commercials. She worked with the legendary Albert Maysles on the documentary Profile of a Peacemaker, and recently returned from Chad, where she worked with Academy Award-nominee Edet Belzberg on the documentary Watchers of the Sky.

Iskander started her career working as a camera assistant for the Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek (Amadeus, Ragtime). As a camera assistant, she has worked on more than a dozen features, such as Preacher's Wife, Men in Black, As Good As It Gets, and over 100 commercials. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in film production and a BA in economics.

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