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Hires, Wins & Business

Apache Signs Colourist Cullen Kelly and Promotes Colourist Quinn Alvarez

Additions to its creative ranks positions the L.A. studio to better handle volume of entertainment, advertising and long-form projects

Apache Signs Colourist Cullen Kelly and Promotes Colourist Quinn Alvarez

Colourist Cullen Kelly has joined the roster of artists at Apache (www.apache.tv), the boutique colour and post production studio that launched here in the summer of 2014. In addition to Kelly’s hire, the studio also announced the promotion of Colourist Quinn Alvarez from an assistant’s role to that of a full Colour artist. Both moves were revealed by Apache Managing Partner LaRue Anderson. 

Kelly joins from Labrador Post, a color grading studio he founded in Austin, TX. The move represents not just a new career chapter for him, but a geographic relocation to Southern California as well. To view his reel, go to http://www.apache.tv/cullen-kelly/.

Alvarez has been with Apache since 2015, joining from the production company Prettybird, where he handled all post production duties and worked closely with its directors and producers. To view his reel, go to http://www.apache.tv/quinn-alvarez/.

Anderson says the addition of Kelly and the promotion of Alvarez reflect Apache’s continued evolution as a colour and finishing house. “We’re currently working on several scripted and documentary shows for Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, in addition to our commercial work for agencies,” she explains. “We needed additional artists that come with a unique perspective to colour grading to handle these assignments, not just helping hands.” 

Anderson notes that Kelly worked with Apache earlier this year as a freelancer, doing finishing for the debut season of Netflix’s “American Vandal” series. “My partners and I immediately knew we had to keep him,” she says. “He’s an innovative colourist with a techie’s brain and a quick smile, which is what made him attractive to us.”  

Alvarez, she adds, “brought a list of dedicated, high-end directors and a thirst for collaborating with other creative people when he joined us. He's requested by our commercial clientele so often now that I knew it was time to get him out of the assistant role so he could grade full time.”  

Kelly, who studied film at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before launching his career, worked in several post production jobs before realising his passion lay in colour grading. In addition to his work on the Netflix series, his reel includes short films and promos for The History Channel, FX Networks and SXSW.  

What drew him to specialise in colour grading? “I’m a very visual person, and I love the amount of detail and energy that goes into colour work. And it’s so collaborative; you’re working with people and helping bring their vision to life,” he notes. As for the appeal of Apache, Kelly says “they offer an exciting window to the future of our industry. I love their model and the scale on which they work, built around a small group of really excellent role players.”  

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Alvarez says that while working at Prettybird he learned the craft of colour grading from a director’s point of view, stressing the importance of story and substance. “I like the pace of colour work, too,” he adds. “There’s always a new challenge, and new clients to work with. It keeps me fresh. And colour is typically one of the final stages in a project – you’re putting the polish on things, so to speak, so people always leave happy.” His reel includes work for such brands as Nike, Absolut, Jack Daniels, Tumi, Toyota, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, as well as music videos shot by such directors as Paul Hunter, Eric Wareheim and Andy Hines.  

As with Kelly, Alvarez finds the scale and structure of Apache is one that supports a focus on creative work. “We’re a small independent, not part of a big studio operation, so that allows us to push things without getting any pressure from the top,” he says. “It’s a highly conducive environment.”  

Apache’s branching out from just colour to handling finishing is also driving its need to add more creative talent, Anderson points out: “Keeping the colour and finish under the same roof, particularly for long form projects, allows us to swiftly complete a show. That adds valuable time to our clients’ often-constrained post schedules, without compromising the look and feel of the film. And we’re finding that cinematographers and directors are moving to original series work, because it can offer more creative freedom. With the addition of Cullen and the promotion of Quinn, we now have five colourists to help transform their digital visions into reality.”

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