Multidisciplinary creative. Traveller. Filmmaker. Artist.

After completing his feature documentary Dýrafjörður set in the West Fjords of Iceland, this Michigander is now pursuing his next project in our windy city.

Here’s my conversation with Philip Carrel, Director & Editor…



If you had to explain what you do to a 10-year-old. What would you tell them?
I find inspiring artists, people, or places and make films about them. I also make up my own stories about aliens, time travel, love and strong courageous women.

Photo Credit: Loralee Grace

Why did you come to New Zealand? Why Wellington? and what’s your next big personal project?
New Zealand has been on the list of places to visit for a while. My wife and I had heard a lot about Welly being the creative capital in New Zealand. Since being here, we have really fallen in love with the area, the culture, the landscape and the vibe of the city.

My next big personal project is a narrative feature film and I’m developing a couple of scripts right now. I am currently in post-production on a couple of shorts, a 16mm dance film and an artist portrait on a Michigan based ceramics artist. I love to help educate people on the artist process and how it can enrich their lives.

“It was one of the only times I geeked out a bit meeting an actor”.

What do you think makes a good Director / Editor?
I think a good Director is someone who can share their vision with collaborators in a way that brings everyone together working for a singular goal. If the Director has no vision, they will struggle. As an Editor, knowing when and why to cut is the single most important skill in my opinion. Pacing is also very important, let things breathe when they need to and cut away the fat if it isn’t helping the story. I learn something new with each project I do.

Photo Credit: Leigh Ann Cobb Photography

Is there a character stereotype for the job you’re in?
As a male Director… having a beard, wearing a hat. As an editor, cave-dwelling introvert.

“Over-saturation of people willing to work for little to nothing is a challenge”.

What sort of projects do you work on? Anything we would have heard of?
I work on a range of projects from promos, commercials, music videos to short and feature films. I did work with Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of the Rings) on the set of Do you Believe. I was the prop master and was giving him stethoscopes, clipboards and pouring him fake wine. It was one of the only times I geeked out a bit meeting an actor.
How has your part of the industry changed since you started?
How you tell stories, the tools you use & the medium you share it in has changed, but the concept of a good story hasn’t. My first edit was tape to tape linear on VHS which was shown at a primary school talent show. The digital playground we have now is very freeing and when technically proficient, the tools just melt away and you can create right in the moment.

Photo Credit: Leigh Ann Cobb Photography

What are the current challenges for people working in your industry?
Over-saturation of people willing to work for little to nothing is a challenge. It makes clients expect more for less and they don’t always understand what they are getting from a seasoned professional vs someone who is a bit green. It’s a hard industry to break into so I don’t discourage pro-bono work but I would encourage those looking for experience to work on creative projects rather than corporate.

“I see a lot of fragmentation in media which I feel is part of the influence of the internet”.

What do you think is the future of your industry and how will it affect the people working in it?
I think the future is in storytelling, it’s a bit of a buzzword right now but it doesn’t make it any easier to tell a good story. I see a lot of fragmentation in media which I feel is part of the influence of the internet and the removal of audience constraints on content consumption. I think curation will become increasingly important as a way for people to find good stories. We all live out a story and we want it to be meaningful so watching a film that helps you find that meaning or gives you an understanding of the human experience is still needed. It’s an art form and I want to contribute to that.
Why did you join Freelance Directory?
I joined Freelance Directory because I am new to New Zealand and want to connect with collaborators in the film industry. I liked the design of the platform and felt it was something I could invest time into.