Meet Natalie Fält

Natalie Falt for Passerbuys by Maggie Shannon86.jpg
 
 
There is no unique path to making it in the film industry. After a long journey as an art student, then working in graphic and production design, Natalie Fält is in the process of creating her first feature film. As the founder of Women and Film, a community and resource for women who also aspire to be filmmakers, Natalie shares with us what she has learned from her career detours and how she stays educated and informed in her craft.
 
  Dress: Daisy, Shoes:  Maryam Nassir Zadeh
  Pants: Dries van Noten Paroval Pant, Top:  T by Alexander Wang Black Cami Tank Top , Jacket:Trouve Ruffle Drape Front Belted Duster Jacket, Belt: Urban Outfitters Hanging O-Ring Belt

Pants: Dries van Noten Paroval Pant, Top: T by Alexander Wang Black Cami Tank Top, Jacket:Trouve Ruffle Drape Front Belted Duster Jacket, Belt: Urban Outfitters Hanging O-Ring Belt

on her morning routine

My morning routine is usually pretty simple and efficient since I generally have a packed schedule. I wash my face in the shower with Boscia Tsubaki Cleansing Oil Gel after the steam has opened my pores and wash my hair with Kevin Murphy plumping rinse (since I don’t have time usually to blow dry, this gives my hair more body). Then I use Other Stories Perle de Coco Body Scrub. It really makes me feel like I’m on a relaxing vacation before I start a stressful day. After the shower, I put on Isun Intense Moisture restore facial oil and wait for that to sit into my skin. I’m obsessed with ISUN products. They are made with living plants and are sustainable, and all the smells are divinely natural. Then I apply Nars tinted moisturizer and some mascara. My other obsession are these new lancome lip stainsThey give just a tiny amount of color that looks super natural and are buildable for day to night. I practice the no-makeup makeup look but sometimes opt for a colorful eyeshadow or pop of color if I’m feeling fancy. Make beauty eyeshadow has the best colors.

on her background and getting started

I have a studio art degree which, in hindsight is very “me” since I learned everything from etching on Paleolithic stones to textile dying, darkroom photography and performance art. I’ve always been into making things with my hands and feeling connected to my work physically. I’ve always been into film and art and imagery but never thought film was a career I could attain since I grew up poor and shy. My teacher showed us “Julien Donkey Boy” by Harmony Korine and a bunch of Dogma films. It was the first time I thought, “I could do this. Just take a camera and film my friends." 

I’ve had just about every job under the sun. I worked as a design assistant at Marc Jacobs, in a bookstore, and as an art director for a makeup company. A couple of years ago, I quit my day job to become freelance. Since then I’ve mostly worked as a production designer and director, then a couple of years ago I started Women and Film!

Natalie Falt for Passerbuys by Maggie Shannon30.jpg
My inspiration has no limits. My brain is constantly cataloguing imagery and inspiration all day every day. Since I am a film enthusiast, most of my inspiration comes from films and nothing excites me more than finding new films. I find them on Pinterest or Tumblr. Pinterest is an addiction of mine. I start by finding cinema related boards and then follow their algorithm on a fun but long k-hole of internet images until I get lost and forget where I started. If anyone’s curious they can go to my Pinterest and see who I’m following. For production design, I like to look at 80s interior design books and dream. The Downtown LA Public Library is also my go-to when researching for a production design job or for a movie I’m working on as writer/director. I love research.
— on looking for inspiration
Natalie Falt for Passerbuys by Maggie Shannon34.jpg

on starting her project, women and film

Women and Film came about as a means for me to research more women filmmakers a couple of years ago. I was always a passionate feminist, but when someone asked me to name my favorite women directors I couldn’t name more than ten or so, and that saddened me. I started it to share images of women directing films, women in front of the camera, and to share films that don’t get talked about or have a long shelf life. It sort of organically became what the community wanted it to become and I’m really trying to be aware of that. What I want from it is to give inspiration and resources to the women filmmakers that don’t have access to resources or funding. 

some advice for getting into production design

I feel like I’m a slightly different type of production designer since I come from a fine art background and self-taught. I love it because I’m obsessed with aesthetic and problem solving, but most production designers are almost like architects. I found out really quickly that most of the time I am a handyman and furniture mover.  My advice is to work on as many sets as possible as a PA and make connections. Those people will hire you from job to job. Make sure you can work a power tool and are comfortable with 3D rendering. The rest is something I feel you can’t learn, but just who you are. Passion is key since you work long and tireless nights, sometimes overnight, but there’s nothing like collaborating with a crew for months on something you can be really proud of. Find a mentor that is generous and patient and watch as many movies as possible. Remember that you will never stop learning.

on the tools she uses for work

For filmmaking, there are a couple books that really inspired or helped me. Herzog on Herzog, if you want inspiration. I read bell hooks' Reel to Real to help me develop my female characters and learn how what we write on the page matters. I want to be thoughtful in my filmmaking and tobe aware of race, sex, and class, and how they are represented in film. For production design, my iPad really helps when I’m doing quick concept designs. I also do all my film breakdowns on scriptation on there. Some of the programs that make my work possible are Final Draft for writing screenplays, Google Drive for sharing and archiving work for myself and my crew, Concepts for quick renderings on location scouts, and Keynote or Pages for the endless amounts of decks and lookbooks you will make. My go-to is DEBBIES BOOK. It's all you need to search for any art department inquiry from props to services.

Natalie Falt for Passerbuys by Maggie Shannon55.jpg
As far as technique goes, I learn “everything by doing” on set, but something that has been endlessly helpful for me is creating a community of women that I work and connect with. I go to as many screenings and events as possible, and really try to connect with other filmmakers and producers. Building lasting work relationships is what will help you succeed in this industry. Films are made by many people. It takes a village, and I thrive on collaboration, so I’m constantly meeting new people that inspire me and whom might work with me in the future.
— on learning to be a filmmaker
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  Top: Vintage via American Rag, Pants: Vintage via Shop Worship, Belt: Vintage via Silverlake Flea, Boots: Topshop, Earrings: Vintage via Jewelry Arcade in Mexico

on her rituals for self-care

I really should spend more time for myself, but I’m constantly in power mode. When I have time I get facials from Kim at Modem Salon. They are all natural and amazing. My husband is an expert meditator and has taught me to meditate more, but I'm neurotic so getting better at accepting the silence I need. I release a lot of stress through Class Pass. I like to try different classes: Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga. I love massages when I can afford them at Raven in Silverlake. I could really use a massage right now! If I'm feeling sluggish, I'll take one tablespoon of Diatomaceous earth supplement for 10 days, it clears out heavy metals, will kill any parasites and gives you natural energy. The supplement myomin is also amazing, it’s a special blend that literally “balances your chi” it’s a hormone balancer -good for women . I buy most my supplements from Chi Health, the asparagus extract is good if you’ve been drinking during the holidays or event seasons.

on her beauty routine

I use Isun face serum, and a couple of nights a week, I put on the Isun Goji Berry mask with their exfoliant gel underneath, especially if I’m feeling gross from working a lot. I love Everyday Oil, Regime des Fleurs Perfume in Cactus, Gypsy Water by Byredo. I try to use natural beauty products. For redness, I use Dr. Jart Cicapair or Lapis Oil from Herbivore. I love RMS beauty and Make for their colors. I keep rosewater in my bag for a midday spritz. I’m known for carrying lavender essential oil in my tool kit, and when my team is stressed I put a little dot on them and we all feel like we are in a relaxing spa for a moment! My lips are always chapped cause its so dry in LA. Rosebud salve and coconut oil are the best I’ve found. I’m currently obsessed with this iridescent eye shadow from Pat McGrath and peach/orange eyeshadows from Makeup Forever. I also recommend Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath, Bragg Raw Apple Cider VinegarWorld Organics Chlorophyll Supplement, Moon Juice Cayenne Metabolic StimulantChi's Enterprise Asparagus Extract, and Chi's Enterprise Myomin

on her home decor

Since I get to shop a lot for production design, a lot of my stuff is from thrift stores or jobs I did where they let me keep the set design. My couch that I found at St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is from when I was working on a feature film as production designer. I thought it was so fun. I texted a picture to my husband and we decided to impulse buy it. We shop a lot at the stores in Long Beach (Inretrospect and Urban Americana) because I feel they are less expensive than the vintage furniture shops in LA. I also get a lot of smaller pieces from Individual Medley and my guilty pleasure: World Market. Casa Shop is also an obsession for curated vintage pieces. Also, Craigslist. I’m constantly browsing. My go-to search words are “80s,” “Pace,” and “Lucite.”

  Top: Vintage via Bearded Beagle, Shorts: Vintage Reebok via Rebel Closet, Jewelry via Flea Markets
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It’s really difficult to give people advice since I believe that everyone’s journey will be unique. I didn’t know anyone in the film industry so I worked with the connections I did have. Lots of cold emails to companies and musicians trying to get work as a director to make videos for them, and lots of low budget videos where I never got paid. I’m still trying to break this threshold of lower budget work. I have almost every book on filmmaking and have watched countless movies with an artful eye paying attention to detail or just getting lost in my love of film. My passion and hard work is what has carried me through and I’m really excited for the projects I have in development.
— on becoming a filmmaker
  Top:  Strangeways NYC Smiths T-Shirt , Trousers: Vintage,  Adidas Samba Leather Sneakers , Hoops:   Sophie Buhai

natalie's favorite books

Projections 13: Women Filmmakers on Filmmaking, Delta of Venus by Anais Nin, Woman to Woman by Marguerite Duras and Xaviere Gauthier, Anais Nin Observed by Robert Snyder, Reel to Real by bell hooks, Our Bodies Ourselves by Judy Norsigian

natalie's favorite movies

Body Double by Brian De Palma, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy, Possession by Andrzej Zulawski, Safe by Todd Haynes, Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold, Vagabond by Agnès Varda, Fruit of Paradise by Vera Chytilova

natalie's favorite places in los angeles

My favorite restaurants in LA are Elf for vegan/vegetarian, Guisados for tacos, Din Tai Fung for dumplings, Speranza for good Italian, and Amara kitchen for the best tea or for meeting friends daytime for a chat.  

The Huntington Botanical Gardens for a day off in nature and the Descanso Gardens.

I also love going to the Self Realization Center if I’m by myself writing or sometimes my husband and I will go and just sit and meditate on the grass.  

My favorite places for drinks are Bar Bandini and Zebulon. I can walk there and do a lot of my script breakdowns with a glass of wine. I also prefer to go to a more lounge style environment like Tam O’ShanterMusso and Frank, or The Prince in Koreatown.  

Ocean Seafood in Chinatown is great if you have a bunch of people and can share dishes, and of course, Jitlada for spicy Thai food.  

I am a huge Ceviche enthusiast and La Cevicheria on Pico is one of my favorites.  

 

  Top: Vintage, Pants: Zara, Boots: Oak + Fort

Top: Vintage, Pants: Zara, Boots: Oak + Fort

 

─ Photography by Maggie Shannon