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Meet the Filmmaker: Jamey Hastings, “Honeybee, your dance partner is death”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JH: I became enamored with special effects in high school — Star Wars and Jurassic Park and George Melies. Later, I learned what I really love is telling stories of all kinds, and so far none of them have involved dinosaurs or space, but there has been a magician.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JH: Honeybee, your dance partner is death was created for a gallery show organized by Thom Phelps titled, Farewell to Bees. The entire show was centered around bringing awareness to the plight of bees. Thom made a giant dead bee sculpture, which was front and center and various bee art surrounded it. This film was playing in the gallery, and offered a bit of soundtrack to the experience. I hope the film inspires people to look up what is happening with honeybees and why they are so important.

Q: What else are you working on?
JH: I am in the finishing stages of a supernatural thriller called, The Dollcatcher.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JH: At some point 6:15 a.m. became a normal time for me to start working. I still find that kind of weird.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JH: You May Clap Productions on Facebook and Instagram, my website (http://youmayclap.com/) or Vimeo.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JH: Eeeee! Congrats on 20 years!

Honeybee, your dance partner is death will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, May 19th, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmakers: Amanda E.K. & Jesse Livingston, “Second Surface”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
AMANDA: As a synesthete, I’m drawn to filmmaking because it gives me an opportunity to express my cross-sensory experiences in ways that aren’t possible to convey in writing alone. I love how so many different artistic elements come together in filmmaking.
JESSE: I’ve been obsessed with movies for years. The entire process is fascinating to me. When we were kids, my brother and I would make short films using our stuffed animals.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
AMANDA: Our first short film, Second Surface, will be screening at the EFP. This will be its first live screening. We’ve been submitting it to local and international film fests.
JESSE: Second Surface is a surreal journey through a dreamlike landscape inspired by Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon. During the pandemic we needed something we could shoot outdoors with as few actors as possible, so we wrote a story in which a character’s environment mirrors their interior journey.

Q: What else are you working on?
AMANDA: I have four more episodes of The Pandemic in Pollyville web series in the works (of 14 total; Episode 1: The Supermarket screened at EFP last July), as well as a TV show I’m writing and pitching with Jesse. Individually, I’m also pitching a memoir about the impact of growing up in evangelical purity culture, promoting my queer erotica short story collection, and offering one-on-one creative coaching & Reiki sessions.
JESSE: The TV series we’re writing is called Hazelwood. It’s a supernatural mystery inspired by Amanda’s hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa. Other than that, I’m always working on music with The Far Stairs.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
AMANDA: The diary featured in Second Surface was my actual diary from the year 2000, which is filled with a lot of tragic-comic commentary on my life in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.
JESSE: The mirror we used in Second Surface came from my childhood home. I used to pretend it was a doorway to another world.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
AMANDA: Check out my website AmandaEKwriter.com, or find me on instagram @amanda.ek.writer and @glasscactus_prods. You can watch all of our films on our Glass Cactus YouTube channel.
JESSE: You can check out thefarstairs.com/jesse-livingston to see my previous film projects, music, and writing.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
AMANDA: I’m excited to get to know other local filmmakers via the EFP as I seek to expand my community of like-minded creatives.
JESSE: I’m grateful that there are people in Denver who care about film this much and put their energy into spotlighting new talent. Thanks for all your hard work!

Second Surface will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, May 19th, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Josh Wilson, “Fear of Flying”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JW: I am a writer first and foremost; of music, comic books, and film. But I have a passion for creating and directing projects as well, and a love for film.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JW: This is a short film called Fear of Flying It is a scene from a feature length script that I wrote. It’s about anxiety, phobias, and identity. The feature is called How to Heal and is about a YouTube host who helps people overcome their fears while being themself afraid to leave their apartment.

Q: What else are you working on?
JW: I just released a graphic novel called Twilight Custard, and am working on a few more comic projects. As far as the film world, I am trying to meet friends and collaborators here in the Denver area to create with. I’ve written three short films recently and would love to work with some people locally to make one or all of them happen. My ultimate goal is to find a team to make a contained feature length film.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JW: I usually find my ideas from unusual places. I like to find the smallest kernel of something and pull it apart into story. My novel Twilight Custard came from a random band name generator online. I loved the title so much, I had to figure out what it meant.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JW: The best places at the moment are Instagram at @joshwilsoncreates, and Twitter @joshuadwuane

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JW: I think this is such a wonderful thing that you all are doing, and I am so thankful to be a part of it. Independent art in any medium is so much better with a community of people willing to lift each other up. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or come up to me at this event. I’m excited to meet everyone, and can’t wait to see what we make together.

Fear of Flying will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, May 19th, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Frances McIlvain, “Julia’s New Friend”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
FM: I was one of those kids where you couldn’t get me to talk about anything besides Star Wars. I’d come home and sit in front of this little portable DVD player and, after the fourth or fifth viewing of the movie you start to veer into the bonus features, so there I was at six years old watching these behind the scenes videos learning what film composers and model builders and sound designers do. It was this Wizard of Oz pulling back the curtain moment where I realized regular people made movies. I spent about three years from that point just waiting to get my hands on a camera so I could get a couple of friends together and make it happen. I suppose it was hereditary, too. My uncle was a visual effects artist, and I remember the first time getting to read his name in the credits watching Spider-Man 3. He studied animation in Emeryville, and my dad graduated from the same program. My dad really was the first person who taught me how to storyboard, and he kinda guided my hand as I was figuring out, you know, that movies are shot out of sequence and you shoot from these angles and then you put it all together in the computer afterward. I’ve been very lucky to be a part of a family that was encouraging of that. My mom really wanted to drill into my head that making movies was something you could go to school for. She’d always bring up the South Park creators, because they met at CU Boulder, and Matt Stone grew up right in Littleton, which is where I’m from.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
FM: Julia’s New Friend is a film I made last spring. It was the final for my sophomore production class at the University of Colorado Denver. It’s a coming-of-age story, I guess you could call it a dramedy. The movie follows this girl, she’s a bit stunted developmentally, and she’s starting her freshman year of high school and she builds this kind of crude mannequin out of tubing and paper mache. She treats the doll, very sincerely, like a real person, which is cute at first, but it causes a rift between her and her mom, and the movie is really about exploring the peculiarities of that mother-daughter relationship. It played at my college’s film festival last year, which was virtual due to COVID, so this will be the first time the film’s screened in front of a live audience, which is exciting. There’s a handful of festivals it’s in contention for right now, but it’s been on YouTube for a year. I don’t really like to be exclusive with my films, or to spend months tinkering around with it after I’ve shot it. The process is very personal to me, on top of being totally consuming- part of it is just about getting to have a life again. So to me, whenever the movie comes out, that’s when it was supposed to come out. I was born two months premature, so I guess that has something to do with it. I will say, I’ve learned a lot about film sound in the last year, but when I was cutting the film I didn’t know a lick of Audition and I just didn’t really have the time to get into the fine details of the audio like that. That’s the one part that I look back at and cringe a little. Maybe for the five-year anniversary or something, I’ll do a whole new sound mix and CGI some snow into the sledding scene, like how George Lucas would do it.

Q: What else are you working on?
FM: I cut a film in March that I think will be finished by the time this is out. It’s called You Can Say It and it was directed by a young actress named Taylor Husser. It was my first time editing a film that wasn’t directed by me, which was a whole new discipline. I’m assuming Taylor wants to do a festival run for that, and I’m really hoping some places pick it up. Taylor has, especially for a first-time filmmaker, a very astute sense of framing, and Porter Hunt, who I go to school with, was director of photography and he did a great job as always. I have a couple of scripts that I’m into, I won’t get into the details of all of them. I had some conversations about a project earlier this year with some producers and cinematographers and production designers, but it didn’t get past the development stage. I’ll be going back to school in the fall, where I’ll be in the junior production class, and I might pitch something there, because it’s generally easier to get movies made with the support of the school. Whatever happens, I’ll surely be bouncing around a few sets, and I think I can convince some of my classmates to let me do some editing or sound effects for them. I’ve really begun to enjoy doing sound design for shorts.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
FM: Well, I like to inject a little surrealism into everything I do, because it’s one of the few languages I understand well. Even with Julia, which I knew from the beginning was going to be a lot more grounded than anything I had done before, I designed Ed like I would design anything else, which is to say he’s a little funny looking. He creeps some people out, but that’s what I like about him. I have a different idea of what beauty is, and I think Julia does too. She’s used to being othered and feeling different from everyone else, so I think she takes comfort in having a friend who’s abnormal. I couldn’t imagine her pulling out a ruler and drawing out a grid on his face and trying to fill in every little line and edge perfectly. Julia’s whole deal is a rejection of that sort of thing.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
FM: My website is frannyquacks.myportfolio.com. It has my resume, and there are a few movies that get their own page. I have kind of a miscellaneous section, with some bits that aren’t really narratives, but it’s me toying around with montage and sound design and such. In each page, I put some parts of the scripts I’ve written, and there’s a lot of storyboards.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
FM: I’d say to any filmmaker who is looking to get their movie in front of an audience that EFP is the first place they should go. They really promote variety in their programming and the whole thing is arranged in a way that places the filmmakers front and center. I came to their March screening this year and I loved the atmosphere and the sense of hospitality they created. I have to shout out, too, they closed the night with Cassidy Blues, which is a brilliant film. It’s the brainchild of two men, Richard Corso and Kareem Kamahl Taylor. They brought the house down, deservedly.

Julia’s New Friend will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, May 19th, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Grant I. Worden, “O.D.D.I.T.Y – The Cycle feat. Keiana Whatley (Official Music Video)”

In Photo: Grant I. Worden & O.D.D.I.T.Y on the set of “The Cycle”
Photo by: Shauna Kommrusch

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
A: I am still growing into the filmmaker I wish to become. My creative shaming document grows with every production I produce, script, and direct. I only wish to RISK CREATING SOMETHING while BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY MYSELF. This is the motto I encourage myself to run towards. My individual writing/directing voice as well as my point of view/camera language will be forever changing, but at the helm are unconventional and unique ideas. And I hope those ideas, when they become reality, help people, serve people, challenge people, and encourage people.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it been screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
A: “The Cycle” has screened at four different film festivals in 2021.  Niagara Falls International Short FestivalHollywood Verge Film AwardsLos Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival, and the 44th Denver Film Festival. We are currently waiting on the 2022 film festival judging, so this is the first 2022 screening of this music video. I am so happy to have been part of the April EFP and among other Denver creatives. For all five “Impaired Vision 2021” music videos check out O.D.D.I.T.Y live on his YouTube Channel.

It has been an honor working with such a talented artist. O.D.D.I.T.Y and I have known each other since our high school creative writing and poetry class days. Working on the visuals for his 2021 “Impaired Vision” album has been life-altering. I hope you enjoy “The Cycle.” This music video is based on his home life and upbringing around drug abuse. The powerful music and visuals require a couple of watches… did you notice the plant? Enjoy, doubt, and listen to the unconventional lyrics while contemplating what CYCLE you continue to repeat.
Check out the BTS VIDEO – The Making of “The Cycle” Music Video (LINK HERE)

Here is a blurb from our film festival run last year:
“Welcome to the world of O.D.D.I.T.Y, – 2021 “Impaired Vision” his debut studio release. “The Cycle” hits close to home for O.D.D.I.T.Y, as it is loosely based upon true-life events he experienced as a young man. His father’s recent passing opened the door for what is one of the most personal entries in his journal. ‘The Cycle’ doesn’t disappoint, featuring vocal contributions from featured artist Keiana Whatley. ‘The Cycle’ is real, in your face, and unapologetically liberating and truthful.”

Here is the 44th Denver Film Festival page on the project page – Music Video Mixtape 44th Denver Film Festival

VIDEO CREDITS Executive Producer: E.M. Lysonge , Producer / Writer / Director: Grant I. Worden, Assistant Director: Jackson Lowry, Cinematographer: Andrew Hanson, 1st Assistant Camera: Dylan Krause, 2nd Assistant Camera: Leah Dory, Production Design: Mike Wallace, Gaffer: Dan Stubbs, Key Grip: Joel Keiter, Wardrobe / HMU: Molly Murphy, HMU: Lauren Minder, Lead Editor: Kyle Homan, Sound Design: Kyle Homan, Colorist: Dan Stubbs, BTS Videography: Erin Homan, BTS Photography: Shauna Kommrusch, Production Manager: Shauna Kommrusch, Production Assistant: Jordan Aburto, Covid Compliance Office: Gerad Woolsey, Location: Public Works & Battery 621, ENGINEERING CREDITS Produced by: Mike Bland, Tracking: Stone Tree Studios, Mixing: Lance Powell

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
A: “The Cycle” in particular was weird because our team needed to camera prep, prop prep, and choreograph prep all while sixteen people interacted with O.D.D.I.T.Y rapping at quarter speed. The movements and timing in the video were based on the two makeup artists having enough time to apply their different looks. While O.D.D.I.T.Y rapped at quarter speed, the makeup artists were acting in real-time. The three acts structure holds thirty different choreographed moves. This was a very collaborative set, meaning that it had three shots with a 12-minute “oner.” If our team’s timing was off in the choreography or O.D.D.I.T.Y flubbed a verse, there was not enough time to let the twelve-minute take run its course. Our 1st AD would yell “CUT! Back to one,” and we would start over. We fined tuned the choreography in six takes total and were able to edit on-site.

Our lead Producer and Editor broke his back a week before our filming date. He produced from his hospital bed and was on set days after surgery… but that is a different story. HA!

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
A: Find my work here – Ghimselfproductions.com
Instagram: Ghimselfproductions
Thank you for watching and reaching out!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
A: I have been showing at The Bug Theatre in the EFP, Filmapaloozas, and 48-hour film screenings since 2017… and I have never appreciated the hard work more than now. I would love to speak on the element of acceptance. I always feel extremely welcomed whenever I attend an event at The Bug Theatre. A large amount of creative empathy, love, and laughter fills the room. I always leave the theatre thankful for showing up, sitting in the crowd, watching the films, and listening to the artist share. So lastly, thank you for caring and showing the films. I encourage other filmmakers to submit their work to the next round of EFP (LINK HERE) showings because people want to hear about the “who, what, when, where, why, and how,” of your production and creative choices. Cheers.

O.D.D.I.T.Y – The Cycle feat. Keiana Whatley (Official Music Video) will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 21st, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Madeline Frankenstein, “An American Prayer” (Music Video)”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
A: I became a filmmaker because I love art. Art has really captivated me the past few years and I decided that I will surround myself in this field for the rest of my life. I am a humongous fan of writing, cinematography, and editing. My career dream is to open to own film studio!

Another reason why I became a filmmaker is because of my grandmother. She showed me the classic movies while also explaining to me the making of the films. Sitting on her couch on Saturdays was a great way to get my attention towards this art and I was so influenced by her aesthetic of superb works of films that she chose. I have seen some fantastic movies because of my grandmother and couldn’t be happier. But she also worked in production as a career!

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
A: This week at EFP I am showcasing my experimental edit. It is a music video with a Doors song, An American Prayer. I call it my “experimental edit” because the footage is from March 2020 when I helped my friend shoot his music video in Brooklyn, NY. I took my footage and edited to the tone and timing of this video, from what I felt was needed to combine the two elements. I love this song and NYC. I have not showed this video on a big screen and I’m very excited!

Q: What else are you working on?
A: I am currently editing my first student film. I wrote, directed, shot, and made the set design. This is a true student-film. Ha!

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
A: One weird thing about me is that I do not like David Lynch’s films. I am definitely not inspired by him like my millennial peers, or my ex.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
A: People can find my photography on Instagram, @frankensteinproductions. I also have a Facebook page where I can be hired to work on films, Frankenstein Productions.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
A: I would like to give an appreciation to The Emerging Filmmakers Project. This is an extremely important event that gives light to local filmmakers that want to express their art through filmmaking, like myself. Like static art galleries, movie premiers on talented yet unknown filmmakers gives a spotlight on another field of art. It’s crucial to let these curators have the same respect. EFP is the best!

An American Prayer” (Music Video) will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 21st, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Josh Berkowitz, “Jimmy Los Angeles”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
A: I became a filmmaker to be able to control my destiny and so I would not be subject to whether someone picked me or not.

I love movies so much that I absorbed a unique style that was cultivated overtime. My imagination is not the type where I can pretend the camera isn’t there. I address the camera in almost all my films because I feel like it and I want to be free.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
A: You are going to see some madness. Jimmy Los Angeles is my alter ego and he is a nasty dude. Its an odyssey wherein he battles witches who kidnap his dogs potentially for his own good. He is out of control.

Q: What else are you working on?
A: I just had an art exhibition open on April 15 and will be on display for a month right in the heart of the Santa Fe Art District at SassaBird Fine Art Gallery (840 N Santa Fe Drive). Please come to see it on First Friday in May or on April 15 between 5:30-10:30.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
A: The workout scene was completely improvised. The ladies egg’ed me on and questioned my manhood which led to a very bold and spontaneous choice.

I do pseudo-documentaries for 90% of the films I make .

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
A: https://www.sassabird.art/josh-berkowitz

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
A: They have great taste in movies. Thanks for picking something as risque as this one!

Jimmy Los Angeles will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 21st, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Nicolas Turner, “Vaporwave Dream Therapy”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
NT: I like to make people think and laugh. Ever since I got my first video camera in highschool, I knew I wanted to make films.
I find the medium to be very entertaining and influential.
The best way to convey a message is through a story, and, in my opinion, the most effective way to tell a story is through film.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
NT: We are going to see Vaporwave Dream Therapy. (Tony goes to see his doctor about chronic despondency and anxiety.
However, the therapy sessions are altering his perception of reality.)
The only other place it has screened publicly was at Blissfest, a local film festival that showed a variety of short films. That took place in 2019 at Denver Open Media.

Q: What else are you working on?
NT: I am currently working on a short film that I hope to submit to the Sans Souci film festival,
a dance-themed film fest in Boulder. My choreographer, Will Treat, and I met each other when we were in film school together at CU.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
NT: I like to rate movies that I see, and I often write reviews on them. Currently, my favorite movie is Ida.
(It won the Oscar for best international film a few years ago.)

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
NT: Instagram: @ZionCinema -or- Vimeo.com/ZionCinema -or- Letterboxd.com/ZionCinema

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
NT: I am so glad EFP is part of the community! It is important for filmmakers to have a practical way to show their work publicly.

Vaporwave Dream Therapy will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, March 17th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Bill Johnson, “Kate”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

BJ: I was a large format landscape photographer for a long time and when it became difficulty to fly with film, I switched to digital cameras.  The new cameras had a feature to record sound, and take video.  I became intrigued with the possibilities presented by combining two mediums: visual and sound.  I have become increasingly interested in recording the stories of likable people who strive for some compelling goal against seemingly impossible odds.

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

BJ: Kate is the story of a woman who was in a tragic accident at age two and strives with the aid of her mother to live the best life she can.  She has become an advocate for people with disabilities and a model for all of us.  The film has been used as a training tool by the State of Colorado and Kate has been asked to share her stories with school children to help change perceptions about disability.

EFP: What else are you working on?

BJ: I am working on another story about a man who is an autistic savant.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

BJ: I love editing.  I try as much as I can to see through the other person’s eyes.

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

BJ: More of my work is at billjohnsonstories.com

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

BJ: Thank you for being here.  Having a community of filmmakers, actors, writers and all those related to the industry is important to the well being of Denver and Colorado.

Kate will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, December 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Jared Vigil, “The Rejects: A Christmas Story”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

JV: I became a filmmaker to tell interesting and compelling stories using audio and video as the medium.

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

JV: We are going to see “The Rejects” A Christmas Story. This is the first time the animated short has screened. I plan to turn it into a series with multiple episodes.

EFP: What else are you working on?

JV: I’m currently working on an action/sci-fi short called “Time Jump” which I plan to release late summer of 2022.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

JV: One weird thing about this animated short is that it’s done in a South Park style look but the characters feet actually move.

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

JV: People can find more of my work at JaredVigilProductions.MyPortfolio.com

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

JV: I just want to say thank you to the Emerging Filmmakers Project this will be my 4th film they have showcased and I really appreciate the support and everything they do for the local filmmaking community.

The Rejects: A Christmas Story will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, December 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.