“Kirill: Please tell us about yourself and the path that took you to where you are today.

[Production Designer Almitra Corey]: I started working in production in 2004 about a year after moving to New York from Virginia and it was in kind of an accidental way. I started in the Accounting Department and about 1.5 years later made the move to the Art Department. When I made that move, it clicked for me that I had been doing production design in college, but didn’t know what it was yet.

My college degree is in Sculpture & Extended Media, and I also had a minor in Film & Photography, and an interest in Art History as well. I had planned on becoming a curator or a gallerist all through undergrad. When I moved to New York after college, I worked for the French video artist, Pierre Huyghe, on a couple of projects. We were making films, but it was in the constructs of the art world. I wasn’t thinking about it as a movie or a TV show, as I hadn’t put everything together yet. After that he helped me get a job at the DIA Museum as a docent. Working in the art world was exciting and also made me realize that it wasn’t actually what I wanted to do after all. A few months later I got a job through a friend of a friend helping out in the Accounting department on a TV show and never looked back.

After working in Accounting for a short period, I realized the Art Department was what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be a Scenic Artist for a while, and then I wanted to be a Decorator for a long time, and eventually I made my way to Art Directing. I did a few movies with a great Production Designer who’s a dear friend, and after working with him for a couple of years as well as designing a handful of short films and music videos, I was hired to design my first feature. That was “The Invitation” with Karyn Kusama in 2014, and I’ve been a Production Designer ever since.

There’s not a lot of people I know who had the path that I’ve had, starting in Accounting, then being an Art Coordinator for about 5 years, and then Art Directing. Most people start as Art PA or Art Director, or go straight to Production Design. But I didn’t originally want to be a designer. I came up in New York under traditional, old-school designers who had been working for 30+ years or had a background and a degree in architecture, theater design or production design. It didn’t seem like something that was in the cards for me.

I loved the idea of Set Decoration, but after doing a couple of smaller projects as a decorator, I realized that I was more drawn to designing.”

Read the full interview here.