Liz Hinlein is an accomplished director and cinematographer with over two decades of experience pioneering as an award-winning female voice across advertising, feature film, music video and VR work, she continues to discover and embrace news ways to bring stories to life, no matter the medium. Bringing an eye for visually-stunning storytelling, she has helmed spots for such top brands as Dove, Lifetime, Revlon, Gillette, Maybelline, A&E, MAC Cosmetics and numerous others. Hinlein fuses her background in beauty and sports to artfully showcase dynamic performances and personalities, which can be seen in a recent promo she did for the U.S. Women’s Soccer League that went on to be featured on the cover of Variety and was exhibited on a major billboard on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. Her debut feature film Other People’s Children endured a successful festival run and earned multiple awards, and it is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Most recently, the VR film she directed for Accenture “Behind the Style” won the award for “Best Branded Content/Commercial” as part of VR FEST at 2018 CES. The piece blends an interactive VR fashion shoot with virtual commerce and a branching narrative.
Hinlein made a name for herself after shooting a series of art films for MAC Cosmetics, which caught the eye of Revlon, who brought her on for her first advertising campaign launching her in the commercial space. Throughout her career, she has worked with a wide-range of international production companies, including Believe Media and Mirror Films. Hinlein’s background as a cinematographer, gleaned from her on-set experience and MFA in Cinematography from The American Film Institute, informs a heightened technical prowess on set and confidence to explore new approaches. She constantly challenges herself to embrace new styles, technologies and mediums in filmmaking and brings contrasting sensibilities to prevalent genres to reinvent classic approaches. After honing her listening and storytelling skills through the open culture of Quaker schools in Philadelphia, Hinlein took a film course at the University of Wisconsin Madison before earning a BFA in Film & Television from NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. She aims to incite a curiosity in the next generation of filmmakers as a professor at USC, teaching MFA Directing and is an active member of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee and The Alliance of Women Directors. She maintains balance by practicing Kundalini Yoga.
What do I do best?
I have an incredible amount of drive and curiosity to create, learn and become a better filmmaker, photographer and human.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I adore the process of making imagery. From photography to directing to editing I love every part of thinking deeply about making creative work that moves and excites me.
What are my aspirations?
Right now I desire to live in a house with a dog. I have a beautiful apartment but I want to be able to walk out into my yard and lay in the grass with my pup. Creatively I am finishing up a screenplay with my best friend and brilliant co-writer Kate Kirtz called GETTING TOMMY LAID. It is a dramedy about a mother and her 30 year old daughter who take their autistic twin brother/ son on a road trip to get him to lose his virginity.
My Biggest Success?
Making my first feature film OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN has been my greatest accomplishment so far. I had no idea how intense it is to get a feature film off the ground. At the time I really didn’t have any connections or money. It makes me really proud to see it go from the page to working with my creative partners writer/producer, Adrienne Harris and actor/producer Diane Marshall Green to seeing it theatrically and on Amazon Prime.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Getting my MFA at The American Film Institute was incredibly challenging. I thought coming from being a commercial director that I would already know everything about production and filmmaking. Little did I know what little I really understood about visual storytelling. The program was basically seven days a week for two years. It was a “ball buster” so to speak but made me such a better filmmaker and communicator.
Finish Strong. From my experience people will recall meeting you and how you were at the very end - so always finish strong.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Two directors: Kathryn Bigelow because she is extraordinary with building action and delivering strong male performances. Paul Thomas Anderson because he is a savant at using the camera to tell a story. And my father, Bruce Hinlein, who is a Jewish self-made man in the auto industry coming up when the auto industry was not really open to Jews.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Thailand, Greenpoint Brooklyn, London,
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I am fascinated with still cameras and lenses. I am running around now with a Sony A7Riii and a 28mm lens it is fun to force yourself to compose with one lens.
My Current Passions?
Making my first documentary. It will be a short about this great character I met who is a LA strip club DJ. Excited to see where it goes –it’s called I AM THE DJ.