0

Meet the Filmmaker: Olivia Abtahi, “Father Sun”

Father Sunwww.oliviaabtahi.com

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
OA: I remember watching a show called “AHHH! Real Monsters” when I was a kid and they had a projector that hooked into your brain to show everyone else what you were thinking and seeing. I was totally obsessed. When I learned that the machine wasn’t real, I realized that filmmaking was the closest I’d ever get to showing people exactly what I was thinking and feeling. It’s one of the few portals I have into my brain to share with others.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
OA: Father Sun is the story of a Navajo community getting solar energy on their community building. In Navajo/Diné culture, the sun is the father of creation, and powers our spiritual and physical lives. With solar energy, we see a community’s God powering their daily lives in a very tangible way.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
OA: Anyone who loves being transported should definitely attend– doesn’t matter if you’re a filmmaker or someone who’s never been to a film festival before. These are stories that we might not see on the big screen that still speak to our daily experiences of living in this region.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
OA: I try to make all of my narrative films with the restrictions I have. Budget, location, access to props, etc. I write to the resources I already have, not the ones I want.

Q: What else are you working on?
OA: I’m working on a new short film called Female Character.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
OA: www.oliviaabtahi.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
OA: Thanks so much for considering me!!

Father Sun will screen December 3rd at 6:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmakers: Jason Heath and Jacob Kedzierski, “The Battle of the Broken Spoons”

The Battle of the Broken Spoons

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JH: To avoid jail.
JK: The voices in my head told me to.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JH/JK: The Battle of the Broken Spoons is our documentary and this is it’s maiden voyage!

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
JH/JK: I would imagine that cinephiles, fans of all arts, scholars and the like, would most enjoy the festival…. but that’s not to discredit the layperson.

Q: What else are you working on?
JH: A series for Netflix.
JK: Wrapping up the ‘Streets of Denver’ analog street sign collage, and various future film projects.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JH: I’d kinda rather be in the Wu-Tang Clan.
JK: I collect paper napkins.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JH: Barefoot and Independent on any social platform.
JK: www.jkedz.com or @thestreetsofdenver on instagram

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about Mile Hi Mocs & Docs and The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JH/JK: It’s a pleasure just to be nominated!

The Battle of the Broken Spoons will screen December 3rd at 12:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmaker: Natalie Villa, “With the Power of a Thousand Suns”

With the Power of a Thousand Sunshttp://natalievilla34.wixsite.com/natalieannevilla

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
NV: I have always been in love with the movies. I really loved how you could get sucked into the world they created and make people see something in a new way. I became a filmmaker to create these worlds and hopefully change at least one person’s point of view.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
NV: We are going to see With the Power of a Thousand Suns, a short documentary showing Roxanne Mena’s journey after learning of her recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis. It has screened at a couple of other places including the Ridgway Moonwalk Film Festival, where it won best amateur film and audience choice. It also screened at the Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival, where I received the best short documentary film award.

I’m hoping to use this film as a showcase my work and hopefully gain new filmmaking opportunities.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
NV: I think anyone would enjoy attending the festival. It’s a great place to see the amazing work local filmmakers are doing. Plus you can probably learn something you might not have known anything about!

Q: What else are you working on?
NV: Currently, I am writing a short stop motion film with my sister. We hope to be shooting by spring next year. I also am working to create video content for a regional arts organization.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
NV: Weird thing about my movies – I cast either one of my siblings, mom or dad in everyone of my films. You’ll even see them in this documentary 🙂

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
NV: You can find more information about me and my work at http://natalievilla34.wixsite.com/natalieannevilla.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about Mile Hi Mocs & Docs and The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
NV: Thank you for what you do and for screening my film!

With the Power of a Thousand Suns will screen December 3rd at 8:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

1

Meet the Filmmaker: Hyapatia Lee, “Native Strength – Pilot Episode”

Native Strength – Pilot EpisodeNativeStrength.xyz

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
HL: As a child, I fell in love with live theater. I had been in 72 productions of plays and musicals by the time I graduated from high school. Telling stories in a variety of ways fascinated me. The medium of film opens up so many more possibilities for the creative mind to share their vision. When I first directed and produced films in the 1980’s we had to edit film by hand, send celluloid out to the lab for color correction, and basically fly blind during many steps of the process. Now that everything is digital, I have hands-on control from conception to delivery. This really opens up the creative process for me and I can’t wait to get more of my ideas on the screen.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
HL: This is the pilot episode of my Native Strength series. It is on TV in DC, Virginia, and Milwaukee. I am currently working on the sixth episode. The series is based on my Native Strength books, a traditional indigenous system for maintaining mental health and integrity. I discovered this system when traveling and studying with traditional leaders in Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Hawaii and all across North America. This is the path to an indomitable life, where one is not thrown off balance by man or nature. This is how to find your happiness from within. The teachings are said to have come from the Star People many thousands of years ago and were given to us in hopes that we would learn to grow past the need for war.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
HL: In my opinion, anyone who is alive would benefit from the festival. This is a reflection of life and provides varying viewpoints to give one a new perspective. When we can look at life differently, it is often easier to find answers to what is troubling us or discover things to explore that we never knew existed.

Q: What else are you working on?
HL: My company, The Lee Studios, has two sit-coms and two movie franchises in conception. At least one of these sit-coms will be animated. The Native Strength series is still in production and my executive producer has requested that I double my output. My company is expanding and I am very excited.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
HL: Just one? There are so many! Ok, the weirdest, I got my start in the adult movie business. Please keep in mind that was many, many years age. I am a grandmother many times over now and The Lee Studios will not be making any sexually suggestive material. About Native Strength? The information comes from the aliens and is given to us in Medicine Wheels that are like the circles the aliens in the movie Arrival used to communicate.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
HL: NativeStrength.xyz is a hub for information on the Native Strength series. I invite people to follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/HyapatiaLee) for frequent updates on our projects.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about Mile Hi Mocs & Docs and The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
HL: Thank you for showcasing independent filmmakers and giving us a chance to expand our audience! It is so encouraging to have someone give us a chance, show us some support, and encourage us on our uphill battle to get our creative works noticed in a world where money and power dominate. I am always amazed at how many wonderful filmmakers we have that haven’t been “discovered” yet. It is your hard work that encourages us to pick up the camera and record our vision. My life is enriched every time I attend a film festival and see what brilliant minds who are not restrained by bureaucracy have created.

Native Strength – Pilot Episode will screen December 3rd at 4:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmaker: Nicholas McNaughton, “Places Like This”

Places Like Thishttp://www.vimeo.com/nickmcnaughton

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
NM: I started out as a combat videographer in the Air Force, but I have always loved listening to, watching and telling stories. I love the creative process of putting together a documentary, and I try to choose stories that will continue to push me not only as a filmmaker, but also as a human being. With each story I tell there is an opportunity to grow in almost every facet of my life.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
NM: I will be presenting my documentary short, Places Like This. It is the story of ten veterans on an Outward Bound expedition in Colorado, learning to use their time in the wilderness to overcome the challenges of life after service. We premiered at the 2016 San Diego International Film Festival, and it was also screened at the 2016 Southern Colorado Film Festival, U.K. International Veterans Film Festival, 2017 G.I. Film Festival in Washington D.C. as part of their “Cinematic Salute to the Troops”, Rainier Independent Film Festival and G.I. Film Festival San Diego. I have given it to Outward Bound to use however they can to highlight this amazing resource and encourage other veterans to explore courses like this to assist them in their lives after service.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
NM: I think most people would enjoy attending the festival. It is a great opportunity to come out and see some independent films by local filmmakers, often telling the stories of people in our community. I think most of the people screening their films are telling these stories purely out of their love for filmmaking and telling stories, and the festival gives people an opportunity to connect with others that share that love, network, and watch some great local films.

Q: What else are you working on?
NM: I currently have two documentaries in the early stages of development. The first is almost fully funded and explores the evolution of the American dream, where we are as a country today and how we got here. The second is a story about a veteran researching the correlation between time spent in the outdoors, its chemical effect on our bodies and how we can use this to help veterans and other people dealing with traumatic events of their past.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
NM: I love hot sauce, and put it on almost everything.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
NM: Most of my work is on my Vimeo page, Nick McNaughton

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about Mile Hi Mocs & Docs and The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
NM: I am extremely appreciative of organizations like The Emerging Filmmakers Project. I think it brings together a group of people that absolutely love what they do and gives them an opportunity to share their stories, connect with other local interested parties, and continue to stoke that fire that gets us out there creating. Its one thing to “connect” online, but there’s just something about getting together in a room full of passionate storytellers and having real conversations about the challenges, joy and art of filmmaking.

Places Like This will screen December 3rd at 8:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmaker: Maureen Maloney, “Transitions”

Transitions | www.maureenleemaloney.com

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
MM: I was doing research on the effects endocrine disrupting chemicals on animals, a very poorly understood yet critical topic, and several of my mentors were emphasizing the importance of science communication. I met a woman very similar to myself who was working on a documentary about food justice, and it hit me that I could be combining my love of science and film to educate people. I later became a Peace Corps Volunteer, which gave my work more a focus on people and culture.

Q: What are we going to see at Mile Hi Mocs & Docs? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
MM: Transitions is a short documentary about the bureaucratic process of going through transition. Miriam Suzanne is a trans-activist who has been very open on social media about this process. When I read about what she was going through, I realized this was a way more people could understand and identify with people going through transition. It’s a subject that is usually sensationalized, which makes many people feel very distanced from it.

Transitions has screened at the Taos Pride Film Festival, the Watsonville Film Festival, and the Feminist Border Arts Festival.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
MM: Our society is beginning to understand the value of hearing different viewpoints, and film festivals like this one make it easy and fun to learn and experience the world from a variety of people.

Q: What else are you working on?
MM: I’m working on a documentary about overcoming obstacles to live a more full life.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
MM: maureenleemaloney.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about Mile Hi Mocs & Docs and The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
MM: It is so great that we have an organization like the EFP here in Denver to nurture filmmakers, and I’m honored to be part of Mile Hi Mocs & Docs.

Transitions will screen December 3rd at 8:00pm during the 2017 Mile Hi Mocs & Docs Film Festival at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmakers: Jamey Hastings & Travis Duncan, “Channeling the Wild”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
Travis: It’s a good way to combine my interest in storytelling, images, and music. If it weren’t for filmmaking, I’d be on the streets flippin’.
Jamey: I like to tell good stories, and filmmaking is the best way I’ve been able to do that, so far. Also, I can’t dance, sing, or ice skate.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
T&J: This is the first public screening of Channeling the Wild. We originally created it for a National Geographic “Let the Wild In” contest, then found out we needed a shorter version for the competition.
We decided to finish this version anyway, because we enjoyed it so much!

Q: What else are you working on?
T&J: Too much! Right now, we’re filming a short horror film Travis wrote called, I Am Awakened. That should be finished early next year.
We also filmed another short documentary in September about the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, which is a 10 mile run and fly fishing competition. That piece is in post production.
Jamey is also wrapping up an edit of a feature-length documentary about Concrete Couch, the Penrose Library mural project, and the Community Built Association.
We also have loads of footage from Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and a couple segments of the Colorado Trail to do something with eventually!

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
Travis: We’ve never had thoughts that were taboo, improper, or violated social norms (Yay!)
Jamey: What?

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
T&J: You can find You May Clap Productions on Facebook and Twitter, or at www.youmayclap.com.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
T&J: We love this venue! It’s always a fun time with an entertaining crowd. Can’t wait to see the new screen, projector, and sound setup!

Channeling the Wild will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, November 16th at The Bug Theatre.

0

Meet the Filmmaker: Travis Lupher, “A Hero In All Of Us”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
TL: Ever since I was a kid, I always loved telling stories… Whether it was drawing picture books, writing stories or making fun movies on my Dad’s old VHS camera, It has always been in my blood.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP?
TL: My award winning short film A HERO IN ALL OF US

Q: Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
TL: It has screened in film festivals all over the country. The plan from the beginning was to create a project that would be seen by a wide audience and now that the film has made it through its film festival run, I am proud to say I think I accomplished that.

Q: What else are you working on?
TL: I am now in the early stages of another horror short. The script for this horror short was written at the same time as A HERO IN ALL OF US so it has been sitting on the back burner for a while now.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
TL: When an actor nails a take during a scene, I will sometimes get the giggles because it came across so well. I’m not sure if this is a normal reaction by a director but I always warn the actors a head of time that if I get the giggles behind the camera during a scene it’s because it was perfect!!!! If you have me laughing with excitement all day I know we have some great stuff in the can.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
TL: You can learn more about me and see more of my work at Tlupher.com.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
TL: The Emerging Filmmakers project is an incredible opportunity for aspiring Colorado filmmakers to get their work seen. I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity and I can’t wait until Nov 16th.

A Hero In All Of Us will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, November 16th at The Bug Theatre.