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Following the success of the global organizing effort for the first-ever International Production Design Week, we asked engaged colleagues to tell us about their involvement.

Roberto Bonelli

"It was important for us to create an environment where everyone could hang out, and ‘nerd out’ on all the aspects of production design."


Joshua Petersen

"To open the discussion, to generate ideas, and begin the process of creating new apprenticeship programs."


Tracey Collins

"Experiences and knowledge shared foster new understandings of our profession and processes here in New Zealand/Aotearoa."


Francisca Marshall

"We had achieved the first meeting of Production Designers in Chile. We met, got to know each other, and connected in an excellent conversation."

December 2nd, 2023

How did you celebrate International Production Design Week?


Roberto Bonelli

Roberto Bonelli is a Danish-Italian Production Designer, who has lived in Mexico City since 2005. He graduated as a scenographer from Florence Academy of Fine Art in 1997, and started to work as a set designer soon after. He has designed sets for movies such as ‘Frida’ (2002) and ‘Ultraviolet’ (2006) before becoming an art director on movies like ‘Apocalypto’ (2006) and ‘Love In The Time Of Cholera’ (2007). He was the Supervising Art Director on Bardo (2022) for which he was nominated for an ADG award and won the Mexican Academy Award for best Art Direction. He has been the production designer of 12 films, most recently Zöe Kravitz' ‘Pussy Island’ (2023).

Since going to the Production Designers Gathering in Greece last year, I felt a need to share my experience with my colleagues in Mexico, and to some extent preach the need for strengthening the ties we have as members of the art department community. Together with my wife and colleague, Fernanda Contreras, we organized a group of members of the Mexican Art Direction Association (A.M.D.A.) to develop a program for the Mexican part of the IPDW.

Inspired by the gathering in Greece, we wanted to create an event that would be enjoyable and enriching for experienced production designers, as well as students, and filmmakers in general. The focus would be on celebrating the craft and sharing experiences. It was important for us to create an environment where everyone could hang out, and ‘nerd out’ on all the aspects of production design.

Over three days we had nine events, all in the same sound stage at the legendary Churubusco Studios. Since we had an abundance of space we also created an art fair of rental houses, with gallery-like installations of props, set dressing and even greenery. Between our events we had catering companies and other sponsors dish out treats for everyone to ‘convivir’ (co-exist socially).

Most of the people were there for the three days, but even colleagues from other sound stages would appear now and then to join the events. I was very happy to reconnect with old colleagues, and to meet other designers I only knew by name or only from zoom meetings, but whom I had never met in person. I also enjoyed watching how the students took the opportunity to talk to designers who might have inspired them, and I loved how everyone had different heroes. Many designers who didn’t have a lot of awards or prestige movies were very popular with the students, who got a chance to express their admiration in a forum that normally doesn’t exist. For me that was the general essence of the IPDW. Coming together and celebrating the craft of all of us. Big or small.


Tracey Collins

Tracey Collins is an established and awarded production designer, and costume designer for the film and television industry. She is also a highly regarded designer for live performance; theatre, opera, and dance, and as a curator of performance design, she has represented New Zealand three times at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design. Her production design credits include the "Power Rangers" series and film. She has won the NZ Screen Award for Best Production Design for the film "White Lies" and the TV series "This Is Not My Life" and "Piece Of My Heart".

Grant Major, Gary MacKay, and myself - production designers from NZ - participated in the first Production Designers Gathering on the gorgeous island of Spetses, in Greece in 2023. It was an amazing experience for all of us in so many ways. Creatively engaging experiences, inclusive, and deeply acknowledging for us of who we are as production designers, our processes, creative thinking, and collectively what we bring as designers to the film-making process.

So when the call for countries to participate in IPDW in October came from PDC cofounders Inbal Weinberg, Kalina Ivanov and the PDC Committee, the three of us knew immediately that we wanted to create an event here in NZ for production designers.

Putting together our contact list, we quickly decided to include art directors, set decorators, and prop masters, as these were our longtime friends and colleagues, and the event would be more fun, diverse and inclusive. Our New Zealand Production Designers Muster invite went out to everyone we could think of - 140 people from around NZ. We all knew all different people, and there were many we had heard of, but had never met. I don’t believe a large group of us had ever come together before in NZ. This was a first.

Planning the event: we weren’t sure how busy we would be work-wise, so we kept it simple. The idea being an all inclusive get-together, on the evening of October 27th at the Grey Lynn Returned Services Club (RSA) in Auckland. As it turned out many of the people who attended, including ourselves, had been affected work-wise by the Writers and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Many people not working meant the evening became even more amazing of an opportunity of connections in so many ways, a huge success in the opportunity to meet new colleagues - bringing us all together in this unique shared and sharing experience.

We raised sponsorship from local film service companies to cover our costs, so it was free event for all who attended. About 65 people attended, we believe, as we forgot to count, or take any photos, as we were fully present in the moment!

We had asked everybody to send us some slides of their work, visuals, or photos set. A fantastic slide show with 450 slides on continuous loop played throughout the night on a large monitor, it really added to the ambience of the evening.

Gary MacKay our master of ceremonies, got the evening going, and made everybody feel welcome. Then Grant Major did an informative talk about the PDC, and what it is all about, which included a fun summary of our participation on Spetses. Kim Sinclair, a very respected designer/supervising art director did an inspiring talk, while showing slides of on/off set hard working teams in exotic destinations, full of wonderful antidotes and memories of the last 30 years, and showed the inspiring working lives of many. We then had technical difficulties so unfortunately Ra Vincent our second show and tell, who was working in Bulgaria at the time, didn’t happen. Then I completed the show and tell with drawings, models and designs from two projects I had recently production designed.

Then it was back to partying, well into the night. The bringing together of our designers and art HODs felt like a huge success, not only the opportunity of meeting of new like-minded people, but the empathy, experiences, and deep understanding that we all share. We are not isolated, and working alone, as sometimes it can feel. Experiences and knowledge shared foster new understandings of our profession and processes here in New Zealand/Aotearoa.

So what’s next 2025! People have been suggesting lots of ideas.... An exhibition of production design was suggested by more than a few.


Joshua Petersen

Joshua Petersen is an NYC and Los Angeles based production designer who has designed for television, film, and advertising. His recent work in television includes "Bupkis" for NBC, "Life & Beth" for Hulu, and "Everything's Trash" for ABC. A background in sculpture and drafting lead to early work art directing for indie features, and designing commercials. He has been a mentor with the 'Equity through Design' mentorship program since its inception in 2020, and the organizer of a panel about Production Design Education during IPDW in New York.

The first PDC Gathering in Spetses, Greece last year marked a turning point for the collective and for production designers, whether they were in attendance or not. I shared with many attendees an overwhelming feeling of unity in an industry that can feel incredibly isolating as an artist; how many times have we had to explain and qualify our position as filmmakers to our collaborators? We share a starting point as artists, discovering for the first time that there exists a medium that combines our interests in fine art, creation, storytelling. Unlike other dedicated crafts, production design seems to be stumbled upon or passed down, rather than sought after.

The fact that our role has, for many years, been only a footnote in higher education, all while continuing to be the visual apparatus of filmic grammar, is a burning question. For all of us that have broken into the industry in some fashion, and found a way to give our artistic voices life, is it not our duty to keep that door open?

The importance of education in furthering our craft, growing our union membership, providing opportunity to the under served, becomes a hydra in just a few short steps. The 'Equity through Design' mentorship program heroically addresses as many issues as it allows, but we have a lot of ground to cover.

Our panel at IPDW in New York was an opportunity to open the discussion amongst our union membership, especially new members, to generate ideas, and begin the process of creating new apprenticeship programs to shape the field as the industry continues to change more rapidly.

I’ve seen minuscule progress in diversity and inclusion, but the key phrase here: “rapidly changing industry…” who’s stopping us from shaping our department just as rapidly into what it deserves to be?

Equity Through Design Mentorship -


Francisca Marshall

Francisca Marshall is a Chilean production designer with several years of experience in both Chilean films and TV series, including notable projects such as "El Regalo," "Sapo," and seasons I and II of "El Reemplazante." She served as a professor for the Art Direction course at UNIACC, and during the pandemic contributed to the development of the "Audiovisual Protocol for Covid-19" to facilitate the return to filming.

I was eagerly anticipating the new destination for the second international meeting of the PDC, when I received an email addressed to the Chilean members of the collective, urging us to organize something for IPDW. It had a profound impact, almost a personal summons... I felt compelled to respond. Inbal encouraged us to organize an event in Chile. The only hiccup was that we didn't have an association or collective in Chile that brought together Chilean production designers or art directors. However, a WhatsApp group emerged following the social upheaval in our country in 2019, and persisted through the pandemic.

I waited a few days in case someone spoke up in the chat, but nothing happened. In the urgency to reply, I decided to send a message to the group discussing Inbal's invitation. Quite literally, I said, "The ball is rolling; let's see how far the ripples reach." Some colleagues thanked me for the information, others expressed interest. However, after a momentary enthusiasm, the topic faded among others that arose. It seemed a bit pushy to insist, and the proposal appeared not to have gained traction.

Fourteen days passed from that conversation, and I thought we might not succeed when Alejandra Ortiz appeared in the chat, bringing the topic back to the table, directly asking when we would meet. Four of us attended the first meeting: Amparo Baeza, Ale, Pía Rey, and myself. We were strangers to each other. Over tea, we extensively discussed how IPDW Chile 2023 could unfold. Topics practically emerged during that initial brainstorming session. First, what united us, and then our differences. Ale worked in production services; Amparo in independent cinema, as well as her rental house for set dressing and period props; Pía was dedicated to teaching at various universities, and I had recently worked in an Unreal Engine studio at Madis Films. Together, we formed a diverse content that quickly shaped the rest of our talks. Of course, we had to celebrate during our week, so we decided to host an opening and closing party. We were eager to be at those events!

At that moment, we also outlined our general and specific objectives. The general ones aligned with IPDW 2023: to convene, gather, and connect. The specific goals were to be an event for production designers, by production designers, and, by extension, for anyone interested in the topics we would address. We aimed to connect students with professionals, reaching out to audiovisual educational institutions. We planned to hold events in person, and streaming all our talks for those who couldn't attend physically. Everything would be voluntary and free, and we aimed to secure sponsorships from production houses and private companies to cover inevitable expenses.

From that day forward, we met weekly in the mornings at Aparato, Amparo's rental house, which became our club, surrounded by marvelous objects. We held intense meetings, progressing simultaneously on all fronts—drafting letters, preparing our general presentation to invite universities, seeking sponsorships, rallying colleagues, creating a registry of potential colleagues, establishing our email account, designing the visual identity in various versions, securing locations for talks. We updated each other on the previous week's progress and set new goals for the following week.

We replied from our email to Ana and Inbal, confirming our participation as IPDW 2023 Chile. They offered their full support and introduced us to Javiera Varas, our Chilean colleague based in New York for many years. Javiera joined us online several times during the process. She was a generous discovery, always willing to help, a valuable asset to the process.

The first successes started to emerge, and we had momentum. Some colleagues accepted our invitation, while others did not. We kept moving forward, confident that we would succeed. However, we needed to secure the streaming, and it cost a significant amount of money. It was crucial to obtain it; otherwise, we would be dependent on physical attendance. We wanted the locations for our talks to make sense with what we were doing. We secured our initial venues: a neighborhood cinema in the city center for our opening party, two universities offered their lecture halls, and Cine Arte Alameda provided its auditorium. But the deadline for registration was approaching, and we hadn't finalized the dates, locations, or panelists. Colleagues took their time responding, making it even more challenging to gather all the information needed for the profiles, such as bios and photos of panelists and moderators for promotion. We were also behind with our own data! Deadlines were looming, and reinforcements were needed because there was still so much to achieve. We made a second call to see if those who couldn't attend the first meeting were interested. Claudia Gallardo, Erika Pulgar, and Consuelo Andronoff joined the process at the right time, allowing us to move on to the next stage: preparing the content to promote IPDW 2023 Chile on social media, creating our Instagram @pd_dacl, working on the openings for each talk, and tackling the challenging task of finding streaming solutions. All the budget proposals were astronomical for our pockets, and the deadline was approaching. Confirmed panelists dropped out, and we had to adjust all the graphics that were already finalized.

We had everything ready to register our week, delighted to be on time with ten events (two parties, one visit, six talks, and a masterclass), complete with a schedule, panelists, and locations with dates and times. We sent the information to Ana, who promptly responded with the registration link. That was the moment I thought I was going to die. Reading the registration form, I realized that half the work was missing. Of course, we had worked on the content and neglected the logistics. Moreover, there were only two days left, and we had to set up the registration system for each location, adding the 250-word description—nothing more terrifying in recent times. We wondered how we were going to respond to all the registration emails while handling everything else. Someone mentioned Linktree, but we simply didn't have time at that point to start learning something new; we were absolutely overwhelmed by time. Fortunately, we quickly understood the email form system and discovered that creating an Excel sheet would automatically register people who signed up! It was a great invention that saved us from a massive headache. Then we thought of generating a barcode with the link for online forms to simplify the registration process.

It was madness finding addresses, checking time zones, creating bios! We were on top of the wave when we successfully registered just in time, on the last day, with high nervousness and much patience from Ana, who didn't see any of our events registered until the last moment. From there, time was running out, and each of us, as moderators, took control of our panel, coordinating with panelists to agree on how to approach the topic and time allocation - mostly coordination. Our panelists were already willing and engaged. Francisco Fábrega was a great collaborator with his wonderful animations.

The week was on fire; we carried our living room furniture to all the locations, all hardworking, exhausted but resilient, tireless, trying not to lose our sanity. During that week, we were supported by Constanza Rosson, Camila Briceño, and Javiera Rodríguez, and we are immensely grateful!

About the streaming, I can tell you that we succeeded, sponsored by Positiva. We opened a YouTube channel, and our next headache was resolving the community manager issue. We had great sponsors like CCU, Mazapanchito, Goodgate, 24/7, Triciclo, But everything finally came together with news: We had achieved the first meeting of Production Designers in Chile. We met, got to know each other, and connected in an excellent conversation.

The ball was thrown into the water; let's see how far the ripples reach. Thanks, Inbal, for the invitation, it was a great experience! Now we can say that we are survivors!

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