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Hires, Wins & Business

Apache Signs Colourist Arianna Shining Star

A rising star in the colour ranks whose name was inspired by the Grateful Dead, she joins as the studio’s first woman colourist

Apache Signs Colourist Arianna Shining Star

Apache has its new star, and she’s a Shining Star at that.

Colourist Arianna Shining Star has joined the roster at this Santa Monica colour and finishing boutique. Her signing was announced by Apache Managing Partner LaRue Anderson.

Arianna’s commercial work includes spots and branded shorts for Apple, Nike, Porsche, Budweiser, Tommy Hilfiger, Spotify, and Coca-Cola. Her music video credits are similarly expansive, including the MTV VMA-nominated videos “Wild Thoughts” for Rihanna and Justin Bieber’s visual album for “Purpose”. Her long-form work includes newly released Netflix feature film “Ibiza,” a comedy co-produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions.

To view her portfolio, click here.

After studying Cinematic Arts and Psychology at USC, Arianna cut her teeth at Company 3 as an assistant colourist. She then worked as a Baselight Specialist for FilmLight before joining Paramount Pictures, where she remastered feature films in HDR. Arianna was then brought on as Colourist at Velem, to spearhead the post production department of Milk Studios.

“Arianna worked with us before, and we’ve always had our eye on her,” says Anderson. “She’s super-talented and a true go-getter who’s amassed an awesome body of work in a relatively short time.”

With Northern California roots, Arianna’s distinctive middle name (she goes by her first and middle names professionally) comes from her parents, who met at a Grateful Dead concert during a performance of the Jerry Garcia classic song, “Shining Star.” Something of a next-gen Dead Head herself, she admits to having seen the current iteration of the band over 30 times.

Arianna’s flair for colour grading grew out of her interests in the visual arts, and she brings her background in painting, drawing and photography to inspire her work in the colour suite. “It was serendipitous,” she explains about her introduction to the craft. Studying criminal neuroscience at USC, she had dinner with a friend who was interning at a post house. “She told me about [colour grading], and I had an incredibly visceral reaction – it’s the perfect synergy between art and science. I immediately switched gears to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, started colouring friends’ films and never looked back.”

Her background and interest in psychology is clear as she explains what attracts her most to colour grading: “It has the ability to elevate not only production value and overall aesthetic, but can help guide the viewers’ emotional journey through the piece,” Arianna says.  “I love the opportunity to put the finishing touches on a piece, too. After countless people have poured their heart and soul into crafting a film, it’s an immense privilege to have the last creative touch.” 

On adding the first woman colourist to the Apache roster, Anderson says it’s a testament to Arianna’s creative skills that she’s flourished in what’s largely a male-dominated category of post production. “There’s a lack of role models for women coming up in the creative ranks of colour and visual effects,” she explains. “Women have to work hard to get on the playing field. Arianna is not only on the field, she owns the field. She’s established herself as a specialist who DPs and directors lean on for creative collaboration.”

Arianna adds, “I want to be seen for the quality of my work and nothing else,” she says. “What makes me unique as a colourist is not my gender, but my aesthetic and approach to collaboration – my style runs the gamut from big and bold to soft and subtle.”

She cites her work on “Ibiza” as an example of this versatility. “Comedies typically play it safe with colour, but from day one we sought to do something different and colour out-side the lines,” she says. “Director Alex Richanbach and Cinematographer Danny Modor set me up with an incredibly diverse palette that allowed us to go bold and use colour to further enhance the three different worlds seen in the film: New York, Barcelona, and Ibiza. Narrative work really allows you to take your viewer on a journey with the colour grade.”   

At Apache, Arianna says she’s found a home where she can continue to flourish. “They’re true veterans who know the ins and outs of this wild industry and are incredible leaders,” she says of Anderson and her partners, Shane Reed and Steve Rodriguez. “And their three key core tenets drew me. One, we’re a creatively driven company. Two, we’re consistently re-evaluating the playbook and figuring out what works and what we can improve. And three, we truly operate like a family and support one another. We’ve got a crew of talented artists, and it’s a privilege to work alongside them.”