State of (the) Art + Calgary International Film Festival

StateOfTheArt_Poster_MASTER.jpg

Happy to announce that our (and by our I mean Chris & I's) short doc, State of (the) Art, is premiering this year at the Calgary International Film Festival! It's been an exceptionally humbling ride and we learnt an immense amount about the process, ourselves and what it truly to takes to tell someone else's story. Honoured to have been chosen to be a part of this ever growing festival. Huge thanks to Telus for helping make this a possibility and all the artists and crew who did the same . If you have a chance come on down on September 25th or 30th and see the doc on the big screen. Get your tickets here.. We'll be demoing some of the VR techniques used in the doc before and after as well! 

State of (the) Art: Behind the Scenes

We (Chris & I) unknowingly started this project while we were still filming the last (The Failure Way). It's grown and evolved since then and I couldn't be more happy to say that we wrapped (most) principal photography just last week with one stellar crew!  None of us could have imaged how beautifully this would come together. From those in front of the camera to those behind, we are humbled by their involvement and dedication to this project's message and simply say: thank-you!

With still tons of work ahead in post, here's a few shots from our time on location with amazing artists like Mandy Stobo, Katie Green, Curtis Van Charles and Daniel J. Kirk.

And of course, a huge thank-you to Telus for the opportunity to really explore this project and deliver something truly special.

Enjoy!

Chris Dowsett (Director)

Chris Dowsett (Director)

Curtis Van Charles

Curtis Van Charles

Nick Thomas (Director of Photography)

Nick Thomas (Director of Photography)

Daniel J. Kirk

Daniel J. Kirk

Katie Green

Katie Green

Mandy Stobo

Mandy Stobo

Chris Dowsett (Director) & Nick Thomas (Director of Photography)

Chris Dowsett (Director) & Nick Thomas (Director of Photography)

CAMP 2016 Titles

Recently I got the opportunity to create the opening titles of CAMP 2016 with an amazing artist, collaborator and friend, Joey Camacho. An incredible amount of work to bring this vision to life. A balance of vision, time & expectation. 

Watch the titles below. Stills and some VFX breakdowns to come. 

Stories & AMPIA

Whoa! Best Music Video nomination for Stories by In Codes (and Best Visual Effects)! What a day. Thanks to AMPIA for the consideration, TELUS Storyhive for the opportunity to bring it to life and the entire team that made it possible. We're up against some GREAT stuff by many friends (Brock Davis Mitchell & Aaron Bernakevitch for example). Couldn't be in better company.

Make sure to check out their work below.

Not Just Another Newsletter

Starting this month I'll be sending out a monthly newsletter to dish out updates, news, cool links and stories, people you should know, tips & tricks, podcasts and more.

So if that sounds like your cup of tea, click here and follow the instructions.

O.

Here's to the New Year...

2015 has been one hell of a ride. Now it's time to wind down, take it all in and get ready for the next.

I always try to be working on my best work yet. Always progressing. Always moving forward. Needless to say 2016 is going to hold some big challenges. Some in the form of scary new territory, some familiar realms and some I can't even see coming. I hope big things are coming for you all.

Stay tuned and stay hungry.

(raises glass)

Cheers,

O.

The Inspiring: Filipe Carvalho

It's been a while since I did one of these but who better to get back on the train than with the talented Filipe Carvalho?! If you don't know who Filipe is you're in for a treat. Watch.

Now THAT'S a reel.

I wish I could remember how or when I got to know Filipe (pretty sure Twitter and the internet are to thank) but he's been a great source of inspiration (and a bit of jealousy) over the last few years. He's worked with some top level talent and deservedly so: he's top level (we're talking The Mill, Blur, Variable, Imaginary Forces, Leviathan just to name a few). Take a long stroll through his work (randomthoughtpattern.com) and get inspired yourself. 

From photography to typography and still concepts to moving pictures, Filipe never ceases to amaze me and some of the concept work he's produced boggles me. An amazing attention to style & design that while uniquely his own, still manages to reflect and support the subject at hand. Below is an faux title he did for a could-be film with one hell of a dream cast: The Architect.

But don't stop there. Flip through this gallery and get a taste of some more. Sunshine & Cosmos are tonally right up my alley. Maybe I have thing for space, who knows. 

Needless to say, I love what Filipe does. Definitely on my list to make some magic with him. Sooner than later I hope.

Thanks, Filipe.

O.

Hello World Wins at CIFF

Last night Hello World had its festival premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival in the prestigious Alberta Spirit Gala, showcasing the best of Alberta's brewing filmmakers. Lucky enough to be shocked and awed by a wide variety of stories, styles and ideas, a live jury deliberated during a post-show Q&A and then awarded the Enbridge Alberta Spirit Award to Hello World.

Honoured to even be considered amongst some great stories by friends, it was amazing to be recognized for the incredibly long journey 10 minutes of screen time can take.

Official CIFF post here if you like more reading. 

Hello World will also be screening again as part of CIFF's Our Modern World on Oct 1st & 2nd, as well as the Best of Shorts on Oct 3rd. Get your tickets early and maybe I'll see you there!

Thanks again to all those that supported Hello World over the last year and half. Cast, crew, family & friends: I couldn't have done it without you.

O.

Hello World at CIFF

It's almost here! Sunday (Sept 27th) marks the festival premiere of Hello World at the Calgary International Film Festival's Alberta Spirit Gala! Completely honoured to have Hello World showcased. Here's a description of the program:

Alberta short film shines with sophisticated choices, solid stories and remarkable technique. Celebrating a quickly rising tide of talent, the highly competitive 2015 Alberta Spirit selection encompasses the best of breed. Solid documentary filmmaking, seamless science fiction (HELLO WORLD), a period thriller (THE HITCH-HIKER), and animation (HAIKU 4: STILL) buoy this year’s seminal package. Chronicling truly Albertan artists and slices of life, join us in celebrating our homegrown talent with this selection of wildly unique films tethered by the place we call home.

If you'd like to come see Hello World on the big screen and see other Alberta talent then grab tickets here while you still can. 

In addition to being included in the Alberta Spirit Gala, Hello World is also being showcased in CIFF's Best of Shorts on Oct 3rd!

A celebration of the best short films of the 2015 festival! Our jury’s shortlist will be shown ahead of a live announcement of our newest award, the Best Overall Short Film Award. To compile the Best of Shorts, the jury considers shorts from across all genres.

Tremendously excited to be included with talent from all over the world. Tickets for that can be found here.

It goes without saying how much I appreciate all the work done by so many in making Hello World a reality. Can't wait to see it played in front of an audience on the big screen.

See you there.

 

O.

Stories Premiere & BTS

In Codes "Stories" is done and released! An amazing project to have worked on with a great band and amazing crew. Give it a watch if you haven't already.

Small screens are great it'll be premiering on the big screen in YYC on August 20th if you want to come see all the Alberta music video's STORYHIVE helped make happen in giant screen glory!!

Get your tickets here (they're free!!)

Here's look at some of the behind-the-sevens setups. Can't thank the band and crew enough for the long hours they worked. Photos courtesy of Snare Photo.

In Codes Wins STORYHIVE Music Video Grant!

A few weeks ago Calgary band In Codes asked me if I wanted to make a music video with them.  I said yes. So we made a pitch. Polled for votes.

Fast forward 3 weeks later and BOOM we won!

Needless to say we're crazy excited to bring this idea to life so stay tuned for updates as we go and some behind-true-secenes looks as production starts.

Thanks again to Telus STORYHIVE for making this happen!

Cheers, 

O.

The Inspiring: Brock Davis Mitchell

Calgary isn't called home to many world-class filmmakers. It's no Toronto or Vancouver... yet.

But there are a few shining examples of how to tell stories here and one of them is the uber-talent: Brock Davis Mitchell. Part of the crew over at Deluxe Design Group and his own Shot at the Dark.

Brock has a body of work ANY filmmaker would be proud to have: music videos, corporate gigs, advertising, narrative, all of it. He's a solid filmmaker and an amazing guy. His passion and skills are infectious. He makes me want to be a better man & director. I often refer to him as having the talent and zeal of Spike Jonze (they both skateboard but that's totally a coincidence... I think).

But there's no ego with Brock. He's got no desire to jump ship and sail off to a city where the more established scene would surely take him in and see him thrive. He wants to (like me) see this city grow and be a part of the amazing creative place it could be. Rocking with local (crazy talented) musicians the likes of Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and Reuben and the Dark (probably my favourite band at the moment). As of now his latest with Fitzgerald (WAY TOO BIG, WAY TOO LOUD) has grown into a project I can't wait to see. His collaborations with Boreal Sons are a beauty to watch (and listen to) as well. Coward, for example, is just perfect.

Beyond Brock's polish, production, ideas, and talents he inspires me to be an amazing soul. Whether I'm making films, telling stories or simply hanging out. I've never seen him in anything but a positive and uplifting state. And that can be tough in movie land. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Brock. Can't wait to make movies with you.

Cheers, 

O.

 

Links:

Shot at the Dark / Deluxe Design group / Twitter

The Inspiring: Ryan Booth


Hot off the heels of Anthony Scott Burns is another music related super-talent: Mr. Ryan Booth.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan at NAB a few years back for what only amounted to a few minutes. A mutual friend (stay tuned, he'll be on this list soon) introduced us after some tomfoolery with the Phantom cameras. Little did I know at the time what amazing things he'd been working on and what talents he hid behind his polite, kind mannered demeanour.

Talent that led him to win Canon & Vimeo's "The Story Beyond the Still" Competition, create & direct a series that could be the resurrection of that thing we used to called MTV (the M stood for Music) and most recently on PDN's In-Motion 20 Emerging Artists List.  

Ryan is one of those multi-talented monsters thats hard to narrow down to simply one (director, cinematographer, producer, sound engineer). But if I had to, it'd be the one that encompasses and reflects so much of what he's all about.

It'd be SerialBox Presents.

A spectacular series that captures the performance of an artist or artists in a beautifully filmed, studio quality, live recorded, one-off music video. Do yourself a favour and check it out. Not only is there a masterful live recording in the end, Booth also performs a great interview and photo session with each artist giving you more incite into the artist and their inspiration and so much more than "just" a music video.

It's inspiring, informative, art.

Ryan is also in the final days of Kickstarting the SerialBox TV Pilot. A one hour show going even deeper into the artist cerebrum and amping up everything they already do so well over at SerialBox Presents. But just watch the video below and you'll get the idea. They're featured artists is one of the first SerialBox videos I watched: Noah Gundersen. Amazing.

I'm in awe of what Ryan has created. Even more so while having a family (baby girl number two only a few months ago!) Showing the balance is possible and that with the limitations come the inspirations.

Thanks, Ryan. You inspire me more than these words could try to describe.

 

Cheers.

 

Make sure to head over to SerialBox's Kickstarter page here and help them out. Be a part of something truly special. You won't regret it.

 

Catch Booth on Twitter, Vimeo, his site and of course: SerialBox

The Inspiring: Anthony Scott Burns


Where do I start. Anthony Scott Burns (also known as PILOT PRIEST) is one hell of a talented individual so it's hard to pigeon hole him. He's got skills in filmmaking, visual effects and music. And probably a bunch I don't know about too.

I've known about Anthony's film work for a while. From his TRON inspired short Destiny to the recent titles for OFFF Barcelona he directed with Ash Thorp (below). 

But it wasn't until I finally looked up his music (as PILOT PRIEST) and gave it a good listen that I would truly feel the inspiration flow. 

Holy shit. Amazing.

His album Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (love the title) has to be the best collection of sonic sex since Daft Punk's Alive 2007.  Not to mention the wealth of singles he has floating around on his site. I've had my favourite tracks (most of them) on repeat for the last several months all while kicking myself for not having found it sooner. I've written countless scenes and stories in my head (one very Blade Runner inspired robot noir) as the sounds filled my ears. Everyday. Never getting tired and always getting inspired. So do yourself a favour and don't wait any longer, head over to pilotpriest.bandcamp.com and give this man some money so we can hear more. I have and will continue. 

What's also truly inspiring about Anthony is the level he executes in multiple passions. He takes the age old saying "jack of all trades, master of none" and shoves it up its own ass. It's inspiring when I myself refuse to believe that you can only be good (or great) at so much and then see someone like Anthony rock many talents so expertly.

Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Priest. Keep it up.

And keep the tracks coming too, please.

 

Check out two of my favourite tracks below and the rest of Anthony's film work here.

The Inspiring: David Fincher


My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people’s idea of obsessive.
— David Fincher

It goes without saying (but here it is anyways) that David Fincher stands as one of the most talented filmmakers out there. No argument. From the masterpieces that are Se7en to Fight Club to The Social Network. Fincher's films exude a polish and precision that goes unrivalled. 

What's inspiring about Fincher (and there's so much more than one) is his insane attention to detail. To getting every bit right. Even go to the lengths of filling a character's desk with things they might use and have those same things never see the light of day as far as the audience is concerned. But they're there. 

Filmmaking (and specifically directing) requires so much concentration about so many moving pieces. How they all come together. A director being able to focus on details we'd never see or know about while still keeping the overall idea on track isn't just amazing: it's inspiring.

People will say, “There are a million ways to shoot a scene”, but I don’t think so. I think there’re two, maybe. And the other one is wrong.
— David Fincher

It's hard to pigeon hole what David Fincher is all about. Even this post is a grave injustice to what he has become as a filmmaker. From changing the game in the sound department by bring Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross on to The Social Network (they won an Oscar for that btw) to the phenomenally executed House of Cards. The guy knows what he's doing and does it well.

Fincher will continue to be the level with which I'll always hold myself to. Imagining him standing behind me as we watch playback of the latest take, whispering: "One more take."

Thank you for the inspiration, Mr. Fincher.

See you soon.

The Inspiring: Joey Camacho


Earlier this year I embarked on the most ambitious project of my very young career. A short film about an android in the broken home of a father and son called Hello World. Born out of a multitude of passions from story telling to visual effects, I was quickly biting off more than I could chew. I was going to need some help. A lot of help.

Insert Joey Camacho.

I'd met Joey once. At a Behance Portfolio Review. We'd chatted, connected over mutual friends, etc. Nothing too much came of it but when Hello World was looking to become a reality, I called him up to ask for a hand in one small, simple area on set: capturing HDRs.

Now, Joey could have stopped there (I wasn't paying him anything so that would have been easy). He could have just said "sure". But instead he offered so much more. I was quick to tell him my hesitation in bringing people on to something when they didn't really understand the scope of how much it would take (because it's always more). He got what I was getting at but said something that really stuck with me when it came to projects like this (indie projects): Someone is either in or out.

And he was in.

But this post isn't about Hello World. So I'll stop that story there. This series is about those that inspire me. And what inspired me about Joey was his unwavering commitment. He's the kind of person you want to constantly surround yourself with both professionally AND personally. I spent day after day, night after night in a small (very sweaty) room with Joey working away at a project that I had so much more to gain from than him. Inspired and grateful to say the least. 

Now inspiration doesn't always have to come in the form of someone's work (Joey's work is plenty inspiring but that's not my point). A person's character can carry them great distances and Joey's will be taking him to a great many places in his future. As of now he's rocking it out over at MPC and well deserved too. I hope I'm lucky enough to work on many more projects with Joey. He's one hell of a talent and one hell of a guy.

Thanks again, Joey.

 

Make sure to check out his work at (incase you missed the links above) at:

Raw & Rendered and his Tumblr

 

The Inspiring: Ash Thorp


It's a long road becoming any kind of creative professional. With many people playing their cards so close to their chest it's hard these days to truly learn from anyone not afraid you'll one day (or already) be better and more successful than them. Not the case with the first talent on this list.

This list never plans to play favourites but it's not often you find someone that already gives so much back to the community that helps inspire. So it feels just natural to start things off with the man that's already been a huge inspiration to me: Ash Thorp.

And we haven't even met.

Ash has worked on such behemoths as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 & Ender's Game.Recently, Ash did what might be the sexiest, best thing on the internet, an homage to the classic Ghost in the Shell called Project 2501. Do yourself a favour and click that link before you go any further.

(cue inspiration drool pause)

Inspired yet? I know I was. Ash brought together some monster talent from all over the world to bring to life one of the best stories ever told. And not only did they do it. They fucking nailed it. It's so perfect and amazing in the details and execution I cringe to think what horrible attempt Hollywood is doing right now as they adapt this story because Ash & Co. have set the bar mighty high. Why they haven't picked up the phone and dialled up Ash asking him to save them I don't know. Okay, who knows, maybe the have... I hope.

And that's just ONE project. Make sure to check out the rest on his site and get ready for a relentless mind-blast of inspiring projects. Don't even get me started on the awesome that is Lost Boy, Ash's personal project which looks to be a mix of Mad Max & Ghost in the Shell and I'm sure is set to blow minds soon.

Now, not only is Ash a talent and a force to be reckoned with creatively, he's also down to earth and real about all the aspects (good & bad) this industry has to offer. His (essential) podcast The Collective has to be the best source for honest conversation with real artists about what to expect and how to grow in the creative landscape. What benefits a family bring versus being a free lone wolf. Neither better or worse, just different. Every angle and experience you could imagine. With no bias to the artists he brings on you're ready to absorb (and overload) on amazing talent that you may never have found. And get ready, these aren't 30 minute fluff pieces, they're full 2-3 hour conversations that you'd imagine happen between the likes of Lucas & Spielberg on a weekly basis.

They're honest and most of all: Useful. So do yourself a favour and start listening. I know I'm still trying catch up with this train of inspiration and there's no slowing it down.

Keep it coming, Ash. You're one inspiring force. I mean, you inspired me to do this.

So, thanks.