As she shoots videos for her own independent films, videographer Christine Schmitthenner is busy sailing the world. Here, we learn about her work and advice to other female filmmakers in honor of International Women’s Day.
Christine Schmitthenner has always been a world traveler. Over the past decade though, her travels have taken place on both land and sea. Schmitthenner and her husband have sailed around the world on their sailing catamaran named “Pearl.” This ship is their home. It’s also her workplace.
Along with always being a traveler, Schmitthenner has always been a filmmaker. Throughout her career, she has worked in television, promotional filmmaking, documentaries, and independent filmmaking. The latter type of storytelling is her main focus today.
As Schmitthenner has sailed internationally– and driven internationally by way of a campervan– she has captured stunning footage of people, landscapes, traditions, and daily life. She produces her own documentaries, which tell the stories of all kinds of people, set across various locations like the Caribbean, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.
While telling these stories, Schmitthenner also captures gorgeous footage to sell on Pond5. Her Pond5 storefront is full of beautiful landscape shots, beaches, cooking, dancing, and local people going about their daily lives.
Here, we speak to Schmitthenner about her artistry, inspiration, and favorite projects. We learn about a documentary she shot and edited, which tells the story of a young girl who also sails the world. We also learn more about what inspires Schmitthenner and her advice to female filmmakers who are interested in starting their own stock photography and videography careers in time for International Women’s Day.
Pond5: Where do you get inspiration?
Christine Schmitthenner: One should always be exposed to new people, places, cultures, languages, or customs. That motivates me a lot. I get my inspiration from people and their stories. Music inspires me. Nature and light inspire me.
Every day looks different (for me). For the last ten years, my husband and I have lived on our sailing catamaran. We’ve sailed the world. We’ve also lived in a campervan, driving around the world. There is a certain routine, but that can change very quickly. This keeps me flexible and open to everything new. And everything new around us influences and inspires me and my creativity.
Pond5: What is your process for telling other people’s stories?
CS: Since we are often not in one place for a long amount of time, we come into contact with new people and their stories. And these are the stories I want to tell.
When filming a documentary about a person and their story, I don’t plan anything. I just conduct some interviews and let them tell their own story. To have material for editing, I accompany them for several days, while filming everything they do and the environment they live in. The story comes together in the editing stage and it all comes naturally to me.
Pond5: What is your favorite piece of content you’ve produced and why?
CS: My favorite piece of content I’ve produced is the documentary about Aurora Ulani. Ulani is a mixed-raced girl who grew up on a catamaran, sailing around the world with her parents. She has much more natural energy than any adult person. It amazed me to show her world through my lens.
Pond5: What do you like about the stock media industry? Why do you invest your time here?
CS: Stock media is perfect for me. Filming anything, anywhere can be used as stock media. Investing time in stock footage will be paid back for years. I have clips that are still being purchased after ten years.
Pond5: What does celebrating women mean to you?
CS: I never thought about being a female creator as something different. Creativity has nothing to do with gender and women should always feel empowered to create, not held back.
I find it very difficult to express myself in words, so my camera is the perfect tool to express my feelings and to connect with the world.
Pond5: Do you have advice for other female filmmakers looking to get into the stock media space?
CS: My advice for other women looking to get into stock media is . . . Don’t wait for the perfect shot. Start shooting everything. Shoot photos and videos of what is close to you– family or friends. Authenticity results in the most beautiful and meaningful shots.
If you’d like to watch Christine’s documentaries, you can visit her personal website. You can also purchase her stunning clips on Pond5.