Hard work, the right attitude, patience, passion and a little bit of luck is what Francesco Petitti says landed him what many would call a dream job, travelling the world as Chief Videographer & Photographer for Hadfield Media.
“After I graduated in 2017 I started travelling the world with Evan Hadfield who is the son of former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield,” Francesco explained. “We make documentaries, short 10 to 15-minute documentaries around the world.”
Francesco and Evan have visited about 20 counties in the past two years making high quality and compelling short YouTube documentaries for a series called Rare Earth. They visit each location, from Cambodia to Cuba and Easter Island, with a loose plan but really immerse themselves in the communities they encounter.
“What we try to do is so the history and different stories that are behind the culture of a specific country,” Francesco said.
Their work uses video in a social justice capacity, Francesco explained and aims to show how the things that happen in countries on the other side of the world affect all of us directly.
“We want people to understand how history shaped the planet as it is right now,” Francesco said. “We want people to hear about stories that don’t have a voice or an outlet to get it out on. We have that voice to help people.”
These past two years have been an eye opener for Francesco, who at just 22 has visited many countries, met countless people and honed his craft of sharing compelling visual narratives. This is the realization of one of the dreams that brought him to study Film Production at the Toronto Film School in the first place. There is tremendous potential with film to move, inspire, impact and motivate people, and Francesco wanted to be part of that process.
“I wanted to be part of those teams that can create such a stunning, emotional, beautiful product,” Francesco explained.
Francesco, who is from Milan, Italy decided to come to Toronto Film School after visiting the city with his family as a teenager.
“I’m a big fan of basketball, and while we were here, we went to a Toronto Raptor’s game,” Francesco explained, adding that he recalls the very moment during the game when he decided he wanted to move here. “I just got this feeling of Toronto as a community, as people who gather together to cheer for the same city… I just got a good vibe from it.”
From that moment on he drove towards that goal, finished high school and applied to attend Toronto Film School. Francesco has a background in photography, and he knew he wanted to augment that talent with an understanding of film.
“After doing to production courses and seeing how a movie set works… I decided that I wanted to work in film and I wanted that to be my career,” Francesco said.
Toronto Film School, Francesco said, was very hands-on in its approach to teaching. Toronto Film School, he said, not only prepared him to work in the industry, but the school was also the catalyst to his getting the job with Chis Hadfield Inc.
Chris Hadfield Inc had asked the school for a recommendation for someone to hire as their new Chief Videographer, and Francesco’s name was brought forward as the top candidate by his program chair, he was interviewed and hired.
“The way I got to that interview was because they were looking for a valuable student from the school,” Francesco said. “The head of my program thought I would be that student because since day one I worked to prove myself and impress the people who can help me get into the industry.”
“The way you will get an offer, the way you will get into to industry if you prove yourself to be a hard worker if you prove yourself to have skills,” Francesco said. “That is what got me the job, working hard and proving myself to be a valuable individual that can be professional, be on time and so what needs to get done.”
It is sage advice, particularly considering that Francesco recently announced that he will be leaving his role for a new opportunity and Hadfield Media is hiring a new Chief Videographer. Francesco does warn would be world travellers that, although the position has been a once in a lifetime experience, the travel schedule can be mentally and emotionally challenging.
“If you do what to do something like this, be ready mentally to take up the challenge, and that is something I really want people to know,” he said.
Connect with Toronto Film School at: