Adrian Vieni is a visual storyteller from Toronto, Canada. He has a unique ability to tell honest stories on screen, combining a naturalistic approach with raw energy, creative compositions and bold imagery. As a filmmaker, he aims to tell stories with real human connections, bringing a cinematic and personal approach to each project.
He has directed commercial campaigns for major brands such as Canon, Heineken, Roots and Destination Canada, and collaborated on projects with platinum-selling electronic duo DVBBS, XO rapper Belly, Cash Money recording artist J-Soul, singer/songwriter Jessie Reyez, Ria Mae and indie-rockers Arkells, amongst others. His work has been featured on a wide range of global platforms including Complex, Billboard, Strategy Online, Vice, Booooooom, The Fader and Pitchfork.
What was your latest book discovery? What are your favorite books of all time?
Honestly, I'm not a huge reader. I have always tended to gravitate towards music and films in my downtime, and they have always served as my biggest sources of inspiration.
I tend to enjoy things that I can really get lost in, and can almost place myself into. The last thing I read was Anthony Bourdain's first book Kitchen Confidential. As a huge fan of his for the past decade or so, I was really interested to hear how it all started for him. Somehow, even though the book is almost 20 years old, it still feels incredibly fresh and relevant.
Most visited blogs, websites?
I have always been a fan of Hypebeast and Highsnobiety for everything pop culture, style, and music. Vulture for TV/Movie news. I also frequent Nowness and Boooooooom for inspiration and to see what new art is making waves. Feature Shoot is also a great source for photography that I find very inspiring. Otherwise, i spend an unhealthy amount of time on instagram.
What apps do you use the most and why?
Instagram, obviously, has been the #1 most used app on my phone for ages. I tend to lose notebooks, so Notes is probably my next most used app, as I'm always jotting down random ideas on the go. Other than that, Spotify or Apple Music are always open, as well as a few essentials that I use to keep organized for projects - Google Drive, Docs, etc.
Whats currently on your playlist?
I've been hooked on a Spotify staff playlist called "Pollen" for the last few months now. Its constantly changing, so it never gets boring. Its an amazing mix of hip hop, new wave r&b, indie, and some funky electronic gems that I otherwise would never find. The a great playlist for almost anything - working, cooking, driving around, or in the background while hanging with friends.
What records would you recommend to hear?
The latest from Foals Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost has been a go-to recently, as well as Assume Form by James Blake, Superclean vol II by The Marias and Joy as an Act of Resistance by Idles. Otherwise, there is always some Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and Motown classics in rotation.
Fresh movie finds? What films do you think everybody should watch?
The Favourite was a big one for me this past year, as well as Roma, Blackkklansman and Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse. But hands down my favourite movie I've seen in ages was Good Time. It was really tense, grinding, and moving, and had incredible performances from Robert Pattinson and the director/co-star Benny Safdie.
Swiss Army Man was one of the most refreshing films I've seen in a long time as well. Not to say it was one of my favourites, but I love how the directors (Daniels) went crazy with this whacky idea they had, with seemingly no regard for what anyone else would think. It takes some serious guts to do that, so kudos to them.
On the short side of things, my friend Charlie Tyrell made an incredibly moving and inventive short documentary about his relationship with his late father, titled My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes. Also, Jeremy Comte's short Fauve was incredibly moving and beautifully simplistic.
I also just saw Empire Strikes Back with a live symphony orchestra accompaniment, and it really re-ignited my love of Star Wars. If anything with a John Williams score is playing in your town with live accompaniment, seriously go see it.
Which artists working today do you admire most?
Spike Jonze will always be a favourite filmmaker of mine for his inventiveness, as well as more recently Denis Villeneuve for his ability to create tense, gripping, captivating films. Mark Romanek has always been a director I have admired as well, both for his work and how he uses his voice and speaks his mind.
What are some of your tv top tips right now?
What magazines / newspapers do you read regularly?
I read American Cinematographer regularly, mostly because it keeps coming to my house. I don't even know if I still have a subscription, but it seems to juts show up ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. For news, i tend to just check the CNN app regularly to make sure i know what the hell crazy thing is happening in the world this week.
What are the things you cannot live without?
Sadly, my iPhone. I’m sure most people would deny it, but it's become a real crutch. Otherwise, my film cameras (Mamiya 645, Mamiya 6, and a handful of weird 35mm point and shoots) help me stay inspired, and a notepad is always a necessity... If i can manage not to lose it.
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Portrait image by © Erin Leydon