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

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.

Bijan Rafie Tari

Producer

Origin

A Brazilian and Persian mutt, born in Santa Cruz, CA.

Expertise

Having a slight OCD tendency when it comes to cleaning and organizing - a trait inherited from his Brazilian mother - has shaped him into a very detail oriented person. This makes producing and managing come natural to him when in the throws of production.

For Fun

The greenest of green thumbs, builder of furniture, climber of mountains, and rider of frozen white waves.

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.

Amanda Rivera

Editor

Origin

Culturally raised in Havana, Cuba but the actual location... Miami, FL

Expertise

Obsessed with all forms of storytelling, visual and literary. When not stringing along moving images, she’s busy weaving together words of dialogue. Editor and television writer, Amanda enjoys breaking down the fundamental structure of what makes a great story work.

For Fun

Diving deep into the dark side of life. Studying all things occult and mystic. From practicing astrology, reading the tarot, predicting the future of humanity, or researching Afro-Caribbean spiritualities like Santeria, Haitian Vodou, and NOLA Hoodoo. By the way did you know there's a difference between Vodou and Hoodoo? Amanda has an insatiable appetite for the divinatory arts and everything beyond our physical existence.

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.

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).

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