philosophy

“Content” isn’t a buzzword, it’s a legitimate sea change. People can watch what they like, and skip what they don’t. And we think that’s a great thing. It means more people focusing more of their time and attention on the things they find interesting, beautiful, engaging, or just plain cool.

We’re committed to the art of telling beautiful, compelling stories. Enjoyment and passion imbue every step of our process, and we believe that our love for the medium and the depth of our engagement with each project sets our work apart. These are the ingredients that deliver films people want to share, comment on, and watch again and again.

Production is an artform. Collaboration is crucial. Limitations can be liberating. Exploration is essential. We believe every story deserves to be shown in the most beautiful light and the best work comes from a passion for the process.

These are the beliefs that guide our work, and the reasons why we started Avocados and Coconuts.

how we work

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Orson Welles said that, presumably between big swigs of champagne. He was onto something. Chasing the Big Idea is great so long as you don’t lose sight of the Big Picture. That is to say, understanding what it will take to turn a creative vision into a successful reality. We find that our pragmatic, holistic approach to the process delivers work that’s as achievable as it is awesome.

the team

Dalia Burde

Founder + Executive Producer

Origin

Mean streets of the tree-lined northern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Expertise

Has an acute understanding of productions of any scale. Has been in production for over 20 years and has worked on everything from large multi-million dollar budget union films, commercials, and PSA's, to sit-coms and webisodes.

For Fun

Logs most of her crucial and relevant hours in the ocean. Traveling far and wide to try to find her perfect wave. She is a pioneer of what she believes to be the small wave surfing movement.

Amani King

Executive Creative Director

Origin

Assembled in Vermont, from U.S. and Tanzanian components.

Expertise

Co-founded his first company, the seminal snowboard brand Twist, while still in high school. Owes his creative vision to the scrappy DIY ethic he learned from skate/surf/snow culture. The self-reliance, determination, and open collaboration that he values has served him well, from his boardsport roots to directing global campaigns for brands such as Adidas, Xbox, and Apple.

For Fun

Carries at least one camera all the time, everywhere. Garden variety Japanophile with a particular love for ceramics.

Michael Grant

Creative Director/Copywriter

Origin

Tamalpais High ⇒ Cal ⇒ SF

Expertise

It’s the usual story of becoming an elite coxswain, then a major label record biz guy, then an actual stuntman, then a writer and eventually creative director in the advertising industry. His many successes are the direct result of assuming audiences won’t care unless you give them reason to, while also presuming people are generally quite smart and kinda weird.

For Fun

Bikes, mountains, mountain bikes, pancakes, power ballads, pioneering the Slow Jogging Method, casually pursuing UFOlogy.

Brandon Loper

Director

Origin

Decatur, Alabama

Expertise

Brandon has been working commercially in San Francisco for the past decade cultivating his craft of telling stories through advertising and short films. His southern roots keep his directing style humble, conversational, and honest. Brandon’s experience in advertising demands a high standard of work that is stimulating, artful, and distinct. Brandon’s first feature documentary, A Film About Coffee, explores the global culture of specialty coffee.

For Fun

Coffee, Wine and College football - roll tide!

Chris Newman

Director

Origin

Farmed straight from the fields and swimming pools of Davis, California.

Expertise

Began his career shooting professional surfers across the globe. Having earned a Masters degree in documentary from UC Santa Cruz, his award winning doc work screened in festivals worldwide and nationally on PBS. After a stint living and filming in Peru, he returned to San Francisco, building his commercial reel as a director, working with major brands and agencies. Drawing from his diverse filmmaking background, he strives to create cinematic, heartfelt and honest connections between his subjects and the viewer.

For Fun

He can’t stay dry for too long. Most days you can find him surfing and photographing the rugged swells that frequent his northern California home.

Spencer MacDonald

Director

Origin

Born in Manhattan and raised in the city of San Francisco.

Expertise

The son of an oil painter and an architect, Spencer has been steeped in the conceptual and the functional from an early age. Beginning with a stint living in a remote Himalayan Buddhist Nunnery, he has filmed cultures across the world, developing an obsession with the alchemy that can arise from the delicate mixture of visuals, light, and sound.

For Fun

Spends much of his time watching how light falls on walls, objects, and plants. Otherwise on trails in the wilderness with a backpack and sleeping bag.

Matthew Palmer

Director

Origin

SF born, Sacramento raised. Either way, go Giants!

Expertise

Makes ads, films things, tells stories. Raised by a painter who now serves as his biggest critic (and fan). Was featured as part of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes and was named a Shots Rising Star. Has done ads for brands including Keurig, GE, GRLSWIRL, Allbirds, Le Creuset, and more. Is grateful for all of the above, as well as his dog, NBA basketball, good books, and hot tubs.

For Fun

Reading books, watching/making movies, being in nature, brewing/drinking beer, skiing, and writing bios like this one.

Jessica Kenney

Post Producer

Origin

Did you say Masshole?

Expertise

Juggling massive coffee consumption whilst managing 100 post projects and memorizing schedules in her head. Junk-food connoisseur. Donut lover.

For Fun

It’s all for fun.

Arly Montes

Line Producer

Origin

Miami to LA by way of Italia

Expertise

An expat of sorts whose "home" is the nearest pilates studio.  Master of making things happen no matter what. Organized, focused, energetic. Lives by the phrase, "Work hard, rest hard." Polyglot. Proud dog mom.

For Fun

Shoes, shopping, and champagne.

Gabby Occhipinti

Production Coordinator

Origin

If Sicily and San Francisco had a kid

Expertise

A detail-oriented creative who’s slightly reluctant to admit she was once a theater kid. Has a writing and secret photography background and a few interesting travel stories to tell. Unceremoniously graduated from USC early-pandemic but still Trojan-proud. Vlogged her life from ages five to fifteen (before it was cool).

For Fun

Direct-messaging medical professionals online with issues they’ll inevitably misdiagnose perpetuating her fear of all things health-related. Otherwise… thrifting.

TR Cassese

Production Coordinator

Origin

Aquidneck Island

Expertise

New England born-and-bred artist with a big heart and uncommon sense. Lover of fine art and pop culture alike. Accommodating, enthusiastic, and adaptable. Master of interdisciplinary integration and multitasking. The mind of a Producer and the heart of a Director.

For Fun

Frequently can be found backpacking, creating content, and practicing yoga & qigong, but will try almost anything once!

Alex Paulsen

Editor

Origin

Created in Silicon Valley Updated in San Luis Obispo, CA

Expertise

Gravitated towards video making since childhood. Was a one-man-video-creation-band while attending Cal Poly; he produced videos for local businesses, university departments, and school clubs. Is most at home in the edit room, where all parts of a film magically come together.

For Fun

Enjoys watching the selfless beauty of Golden State Warriors basketball, preferably with a hazy ipa in hand. Often debates between taking his camera or his board out to the waves, and frequently chooses the later. Believes that San Luis Obispo is the promised land, where he was introduced to his recent loves of yoga, country music, and surfing.

Kyle Davidson

Animation + Motion Graphics

Origin

On the Gulf of Mexico side of the Sunshine State, in the small town of Naples, Florida.

Expertise

Considers himself a generalist of sorts. Loves all things production and post. Excels behind cameras and computers. Also, makes a pretty mean salad.

For Fun

Spending as much time as possible surfing as many different shapes of surfboards as he can afford. Enjoys snowboarding with his buddies. Likes to skate and no, he can't do a kickflip.

Hanna Moradi

Assistant Editor

Origin

Tower 30, La Jolla Shores CA

Expertise

Forever a sensitive kid, classically untrained flutist, UC Davis visual design grad. Previously half of a production team, where she produced, shot, and edited a variety of content for non-profit and corporate clients, absurdist short films, and everything in between.

For Fun

Reading one book at a time, treading water of any kind, rewatching Mad Men, and having existential conversations about Love Island. Has a soft spot for loud symphonies. Always on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie.

Cooper Kenward

Editor + Director

Origin

St. Helena, CA (Not the island where Napoleon was exiled)

Expertise

When the moon is in the right house, he directs commercials and music videos. He has been known to point his finger in random directions, saying "that's the ticket" to no one in particular. Most of the time you will find him in a dark room, punching a keyboard (Editing).

For Fun

He plays guitar in two Bay Area bands and collects obsolete ephemera to soften the unease of modern living. Sometimes he wanders around Golden Gate Park asking strangers if they have seen his dog. He dreams of someday becoming the co-founder of a really good deli.

Drew Kass

DP and Resident Falconer

Origin

Fresno? Fres-yes.

Expertise

Federally certified drone pilot. Researches, buys and maintains camera equipment. Understands the intricate workings of RED cameras, Movi stabilizers and other gear needed for high quality productions.

For Fun

Spends the majority of his time visualizing how things look from an aerial perspective. Excess time is spent consuming avocados, Cabernet and episodes of Seinfeld. Also enjoys playing fantasy football and basketball (the real-life kind).

select clients