Chatting with Tomás Whitmore

From working with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the “Immigrants” music video to crafting captivating stories around youth culture, we’re always so impressed with the mind of Tomás Whitmore.

We met Tomás through our friends at Diktator, happily adding him to The Lift’s roster. The last time he was in town we got the chance to sit down and ask him some questions about his career thus far, some of his favorite projects, and so much more. Here’s what he had to say!

How did you get started in directing?
14 years old. Shooting videos of my friends breakdancing followed by all nighters editing the footage on iMovie 1.0.

Where do you go for inspiration?
Even though it’s really hard, I try to get away from work as often as I can. I just went to Cascada Tamul today. To call it inspiring is an understatement. I also look to my friends. It’s the people I love that inspire me.

Your works spans both commercials and music videos—what is the common creative thread when it comes to your approach for both types of work?
My approach to everything: is it honest?

What was it like working on the music video for the Hamilton Mixtape, especially with such a charged message both politically and socially?
Transformative. I will never forget what it was like showing up on set and feeling the collective energy that shoot had. Everyone’s hearts were invested in that project. That’s really special to be a part of.

Music and documentary are essential elements in storytelling. How do you utilize both in your work?
Music conveys feelings I can’t put into words, while documentary forces me to be present, engaged, and connected. It takes so much patience. I love that.

What do you like most about both the music video and documentary format?
I love the progressive nature of music videos. I love the responsibility that is handed over to you when making a documentary. Real life is in your hands and it must be handled carefully.

What do you enjoy most about working in Mexico?
The challenges are what I like about filming anywhere. When in Mexico the challenges are unique to themselves. What makes it so special is the diversity of people, places, and experiences you come across when you’re traveling and working throughout the country.

What have been some of the highlights of your career thus far?
What a rough question. I can’t say with any certainty. I’ve been enjoying my time scouting in the Mexican country side. That’s been a highlight.

What’s next?
Various projects. Revisiting the past with a feature film set in Mexico. Interviewing a professional cuddles. An experimental short film on Mexican youth. Plus as many road trips across Mexico as I can find time for, and some good dinners with friends and family back in Los Angeles.