Ray Tintori

At 24, Ray Tintori may be new to the directing game, but his career in both film and music videos has got off to an excellent start

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His short film Death to the Tin­man, created as part of his under-graduate thesis, received an Honorable Mention when it premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and he has just signed to produc­­tion company Partizan on the strength of his glorious video for MGMT’s Time to Pretend, a psychedelic epic for the noughties generation. Billed as an ‘Oracular Spectacular’ the video is an everything-bar-the-kitchen-sink visual melange in which the band is cast as some kind of bizarre tribe.

Tintori grew up in New York, where he still lives, and learnt his trade early by watching his parents at work on film sets. “My father was an editor and my mother is a script supervisor,” he explains. “When I was little they were working with John Sayles a lot. So I spent a lot of time as a kid just sort of wandering around film shoots, watching everyone and seeing how they did their jobs.

“That said,” he continues, “I didn’t always want to make films. I went to LaGuardia High School in Manhattan, which was an amazing public conserv-atory art school, and I was a studio art major. I really liked making sculptures and drawing and I took it really seriously. But I started making little movies in my spare time with a video camera and just fell in love with it. When I was 17, I moved to Prague and spent a year working for some really crazy filmmakers who had been trained by Jan Svankmajer. I learned most of what I know about practical filmmaking from them.”

His video for Time to Pretend is his second for mgmt. He was at college with the band: “They were called The Management back then, and they played all their shows karaoke style with just an iPod hooked up to a pa,” he remembers. “Those shows were magnificent anarchic events where everyone would dance like maniacs and sing along to every word. They got signed to Columbia right around the same time as my thesis film got into Sundance, so I think the people from Columbia trusted me just enough to let me make their videos. I’m glad they did.”

Tintori is also part of the film collective Court 13 International and acted as art director for their film Glory at Sea, a mythic story of a city devastated by storms, which prem­iered recently at the South by South­West Film Festival in Austin, Texas. He is busy writing his next narrative piece, which he will also direct, and working on new music videos, plus on a 3d version of the Time to Pretend promo. But mostly Tintori is just enjoying the opportunity to make films full-time and show them to increasingly large audiences. “Two years ago, I was in college making films with my friends,” he says. “Now I’m still making films with my same friends, but more people are seeing them. Every project is on a bigger scale and more public stage. We’re learning a lot on the job, but we’re also pretty good at throwing ourselves in the deep end and getting out alive. It’s more fun that way.”

See Tintori’s work at partizan.com