Interview: Paula Loos

Paula Loos is a Production Designer and has been in Los Angeles for four and a half years. Last year she was part of the art department team of the in 2017 Oscar nominated film “Passengers,” and she was the art director for the movie  “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” in Amsterdam, theatrical release upcoming week. (August 18,  2017).

Paula Loos HHC Holland Hollywood Connection

My kickoff adventure in LA started in 2012 when I went to Burning Man, a music festival in Nevada desert, by myself.  In The Netherlands, there are friends, family and movie colleagues around. They wouldn’t be there in LA. Going to Burning man without knowing someone was a test to see if I could be without the people I love. I like to challenge myself.

Why did you move to Los Angeles?
After I finished my studies I went on a trip to New York (2005). In a taxi, I found a Blackberry from a producer in LA. I thought how amazing would it be if I would fly there and give him back his phone. This didn’t happen. I sent the phone back by Fed-Ex from NY to LA,  I never heard back from him, but the thought of moving to LA was created in that moment.

The Dutch production designer, Gwendolyn Witkin, was living in New York (2007) and she invited me to come and work on a movie with Busta Rhymes.  I remember so well walking on Madison Avenue and when I turned the corner there were the Paramount trucks. A taxi got rigged with a camera and that was my first “big” feature experience. I worked as a “set dresser”, (someone who is taking care of how the background looks on screen) during the shoot. It was an amazing experience. I wanted to explore more of this kind of adventures.

I went back to Holland and continued working in Amsterdam until a friend told me about an ad from the Holland Hollywood Connection featuring Paul Verhoeven (2011). It said that you could apply for a mentorship and that’s what I did. Through the HHC I actually got my first job; Richard Berentsen, a member from the HHC, gave me the opportunity, assisting on commercials. And I’m  fortunate to work on US productions in the Netherlands like ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’. Best of both worlds.

What was your first job here?
Assisting on commercials, that’s where I have met the amazing Belgian Director of Photography: Danny Hiele. He saw me working on set and figured that I need to meet the owner of Protea IPS, his business management company. Paloma Felisberto Bilson, the owner, was about to start producing a movie called “Discarded.” She gave me the opportunity to start working as Production Designer. This was one of my first jobs here as Designer. Once you’ve done your first “gig” in LA you are on the right track. That was the start my American movie making adventure.

What was it like to work on the Oscar nominated film Passengers?

It was fantastic! Besides the actors, the design was the most important aspect of this production. Walking under the Sony Pictures rainbow going to work every day was like a dream; I wanted to pinch myself, is this real? To get the job as assistant Art Director, I had an interview with the production designer, Guy Dyas. I made a 26-page presentation, showing which way I thought the film could look. I included European influences in the pitch. When I left that interview, Guy said; “You might have to start soon, I want you for this job.” That was amazing. Later I heard it wasn’t custom to make a presentation for that position.

My job, besides doing research and inspire the Production Designer, was to collect all the images that were created for the film every day from the illustrators, set designers, and art director and create presentations to communicate what was happening with the design for everyone who worked on the show. The design team consists of around 25 people. The pace was very high. It was a great experience, the movie won the Art Directors award for best fantasy film of 2016 and got nominated for the Oscars.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
It would be great to work with Quentin Tarantino and would love to work on more projects with Diederik van Rooijen & Lennert Hillege. As well I live in LA and Amsterdam and fly to my family and friends all over the world.

IMDB Paula Loos

Interview by Hidde de Vries & Carla Lekkerkerker

©2015 Holland Hollywood Connection

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