Laisa Mara Dos Santos or Laisa M. Santos, as she is known in the industry, is a Cinematographer born and raised in Brazil but based in Los Angeles.
Her career began in 2015 when she got accepted into the Cinema and Audiovisual bachelor’s program at Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais in the capital, Belo Horizonte. Entering the program at 18 years old really changed her perspective on how her career could look in 5 years.
Screenwriting was actually Laisa’s first interest and first contact with filmmaking and the industry standards. She wrote four episodes for a web series, entitled “Edificio Magnolia”, that had the pilot episode shot not long after. Besides this production, the young filmmaker also co-wrote two more scripts for two short films, “Escarlate” and “Prisma”. Both productions were completed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
As she would get deeply into the craft of screenwriting, Laisa realized that all her thoughts and creativity would lead her towards a more visual way of storytelling and how she could convey the emotion of the characters in a more imagery-like feel.
Right after that insight, she started reading numerous scripts from movies that inspire her but also original stories from her classmates. For every script that was read, she would create a storyboard or a mood board clarifying her aesthetic vision for the story.
Her dad is a great inspiration in her work and after a long conversation with him, Laisa decided to change her perspective and follow her instincts toward cinematography. By the
end of her time at university, she had worked as a Director of Photography in four short film productions and had her work sent to many film festivals around Brazil.
Decided to improve her skills, she obtained her Cinematography Certificate at UCLA Extension and now resides in Los Angeles working as a Cinematographer and Camera Operator in narrative films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries.