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Meet the Filmmaker: Olivia Abtahi, “The Reason I Jump”

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 the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
OA: This film is an adaptation of The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, a 13 year old’s tale of his experience with autism. It screened at CIWF but I don’t have any other plans for it.

Q: What else are you working on?
OA: I’m shooting my next short film the first weekend in May. It’s about a female protagonist that gets into a fight with her male narrator.

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: 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!!

The Reason I Jump will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Andrew Olas, “Detective Meredith Hitler, Secret Private Investigator”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
AO: My first attempt at state university failed when i found myself (more often than not) skipping class to write novels. About a year later i took a film class at a community college, and on day 1 i knew i had discovered my true calling. I just want to make films that people enjoy.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
AO: Detective Meredith Hitler, Secret Private Investigator is a Sci-fi/Noir/Comedy about a 1930s-esque detective, set in a futuristic world from the perspective of the 1980s. It has screened once at Denver Comic Con and once at the Rooster Cat Cafe. Eventually I’d like for it to be my job application to Adult Swim.

Q: What else are you working on?
AO: Much of my time lately has been spent finishing my first feature length screenplay which i plan on submitting to the Academy Nicholls Fellowships in a few weeks.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
AO: I taught myself to speak backwards when I was 8. Also, in each of my films I credit my friend Paul, even if he had nothing to do with it. In “Meredith Hitler” he is credited as “Invisible Mime.”

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
AO: I’ve got a couple silly things on youtube, but you wouldn’t be interested in any of that. Well, unless you enjoyed Meredith Hitler, in which case I guess maybe you would. Check out “ThuhManeMan15” if you dare to be stupid.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
AO: Many thank yous to the EFP for selecting this film, as well as to the busy, busy Arthur Martinez for convincing me to submit.

Detective Meredith Hitler, Secret Private Investigator will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Michael O’Connell, “Triangle”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
MO: I became a filmmaker because the entire process of getting an idea and bringing that idea to fruition is the most satisfying thing I could ever do.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
MO: You will see my film Triangle. It’s an absurdist comedy about a young man who goes to a band tryout and meets a conductor who has lost his mind. It has screened previously at Show Us Your Shorts with the Pikes Peak Film Forum. I hope to put it through some Midwest film festivals because while I’m a Colorado native, a majority of the cast/crew are from that area.

Q: What else are you working on?
MO: I’m currently in post-production of my next short film entitled ‘Selfish.’ It’s a drama/thriller that explores the concept of self-interest.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
MO: Well this film is weird by itself but I’ve been told that not being a coffee drinker is weird since most filmmakers thrive on coffee. I’m more of a tea guy.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
MO: You can visit my website at: ocvideoproductions.com or go to my vimeo profile at: vimeo.com/michaeloconnell

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
MO: I just think it’s a great thing to promote local creative talent and support the arts.

Triangle will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Jeremy Mercer, “Lured”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JM: Growing up I obsessed over films and how they were made. I probably watched more behind the scenes footage than actual movies. The magic of filmmaking and the collaborative nature of it all always fascinated me. As I grew older I never thought it was something I could really pursue myself, but a few years ago I had an epiphany of sorts. I told myself that if this is something that I love and that I’m passionate about then why waste life not pursuing it.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JM: It’s a project with a specific message that I haven’t seen represented in other films. I’ve seen countless videos and shorts about the dangers of the internet, but not quite like this. Lured has screened at the Northeast Wisconsin Horror Film Festival and I’m currently looking into get it shown in a few more festivals before the end of the year.

Q: What else are you working on?
JM: I’m currently finishing pre production on another short that I will be filming in the next few months and I’m also working on completing a feature script.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JM: The film is based off of a popular YouTube video that caught my attention late one night. The idea for this script hit me right away and I knew that this was going to be the basis for my next short film.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JM: I have a website, www.jeremymercerfilms.com, where I post my short films and any updates on upcoming screening or future films.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JM: I am very excited to check out The Emerging Filmmakers Project, this is my first time attending, and I’m grateful to be a part of it! I cannot wait to meet more local filmmakers and to share my work with you all!

Lured will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Maureen Maloney, “Transitions”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
MM: At the time I chose to pursue filmmaking I was actually in grad school studying biology. Several of my mentors were pushing the idea that there needed to be more science communicators, and it resonated with me. I was watching a lot of documentaries, and really felt like it was THE way to educate people. Then I met another female grad student who was making a documentary, and it hit me that it was something I could do. After that I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar, and my interests became more human rights focused.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
MM: Transitions is a short documentary about Miriam Suzanne, a trans woman, and her experience going through the bureaucratic steps of legal transition. It premiered online as part of the America Heard webseries, which aims to show the diversity of political perspectives around the US.

Q: What else are you working on?
MM: I’m currently a grad student at the University of Denver in the International and Intercultural Communication program, and complete my degree in June. I am shooting a documentary about a local tattoo artist as part of a Documentary Production class with Sheila Schroeder.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
MM: My first job as a camera person was a complete disaster. I bought my first video camera after taking a 4-day filmmaking bootcamp. Before I even opened the box a friend had recommended me to someone, and I was immediately hired to shoot National Geographic Adventurer-of-the-year Andrew Skurka at the end of his 6,875 mile hike around the western US. Unfortunately I had to hike with Andy a few days, and he was in such better shape than me. I was dying, and I missed some important footage without realizing it. The person who hired me was really angry and mean to me. I’m glad to say that he has since forgiven me and apologized.

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 The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
MM: I’m so grateful to EFP for providing this opportunity for new filmmakers like me to show our work, get feedback, and see other work being done. The Denver film community is so welcoming and supportive, but it can still be daunting to put yourself out there. The EFP really helps.

Transitions will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Ketrick “Jazz” Copeland, “American Family: Picture Perfect”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
KC: I became a filmmaker because I wanted to create my own content, get more exposure as an actor and be able to create whatever type of character that I want to portray.
Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
KC: You will see American Family: Picture Perfect at the EFP, it has not been screened anywhere else, this will be the first.
Q: What else are you working on?
KC: I’m not working on anything else at the moment.
Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
KC: One weird thing about me and my movies is that I love playing bad guys even though I’m one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
KC:  People can go to my personal website at www.ketrickcopeland.com to find out more about me and my work or www.imdb.me/ketrickjazzcopeland
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
KC: I would like to say that The Emerging Filmmakers Project is a great event that I appreciate greatly.  I have attended many EFP events in the past and you guys give filmmakers a great opportunity to show their work to the local community and to gain exposure.
American Family: Picture Perfect will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, April 20th at The Bug Theatre.
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Meet the Filmmaker: Michael Bliss, “Clown”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
MB: On my 16th birthday I wrote in my journal that I want to be a Filmmaker and Director. Through the years I have made that dream a reality by working with ABC, FOX, ESPN, and working on many films and Documentaries. I have also worked for and with great directors like Robert Rodriquez, Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino. Currently I am creating live television shows at DOM and working for imADgine Studios.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
MB: Clown is a film I shot in Austin on Super 8 Film. It was for a film festival similar to the 48 Hour Film Project. They gave us a soundtrack and you had to shoot on Super 8 Film with that soundtrack. It was one of the best in fest films.

Q: What else are you working on?
MB: Blissfest333
A multimedia, Cultural Arts, Film Festival
We are creating unity in our commUNITY, bringing love, peace, harmony and bliss to a festival about creativity and individuality.

I also have many films I am currently working on. Here is a couple of them.
“The Troll” This is a story about a troll that gets lost in the city.
ZombieFest II “Sloppy Seconds” The Dead are Alive

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
MB: The number 333 keeps coming up in my life. In one of my first films The Asylum 3:33pm pops up for one minute. It was an accident that we hit the button for the time to pop up on the screen and now its time stamped on that film forever.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
MB: www.blissfest333.org

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
MB: We love Patrick Sheridan and everybody involved with EFP. So grateful to have a venue like The Bug and all the wonderful people that help run EFP and all the Film Festivals held there. Thank you so much for supporting our film and art commUNITY.

Clown will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, March 16th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Carlos Daniel Flores, “I Stand Still: a love poem”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
CF: Filmmaking is one of those things I somewhat inadvertently stumbled upon when I was younger. I already had a passion for music, writing, art and photography, and film just beautifully puts all of those together. I love the technical challenge, the endless possibilities for telling the human story, and just about everything about the process.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
CF: I Stand Still is a freeform exploration of the love between two women and the challenges arising from the protagonist’s fears. It premiered at the Southern Colorado Film Festival in Alamosa. This is the second in a series of short cinematic poems, conceived mostly to hone our skills, open up our creative process with a more improvisational flow, and meeting new talented people in the Denver area. The production process for this one was unique in that, while most of the shots were planned in detail, the argument between the lovers that becomes the focus of the story was entirely improvised on the spot.

Q: What else are you working on?
CF: I am currently entering production for an exciting short poem, Con tus manos, which will feature a dance between two men, and refining a feature length screenplay to be produced here in Denver!

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
CF: I’ll watch almost anything with the subtitles on… I hate missing things!

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
CF: For general updates, www.facebook.com/watcheyestudios
For new movies, www.vimeo.com/watcheyestudios
And for artwork, www.1-carlos-flores.pixels.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
CF: This is my second time at the EFP. Last time was a lot of fun, can’t wait to see the other projects and meet some more cool peoplez!

I Stand Still: a love poem will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, March 16th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Bradley Haag, “365 Day Video Project – 2016”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
BH: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
BH: You’re going to see 365 2-second video clips from each day of my year in 2016. So far, it can only be seen online and I plan to continue this project through 2017.

Q: What else are you working on?
BH: How much time do you have? While I’m trying to get all my films turned into blu-rays with cool special features, I’m also producing my weekly podcast (Reel Nerds Podcast) and writing the second season of the companion web-series and hoping to lens it over the summer,

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
BH: One weird thing is that we have to perform a human sacrifice before and after each production.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
BH: Nebulusvisions.com mostly has everything I do on it, but if you wanna follow me like a friggin’ stalker, you can keep up via my instagram @nebulusvisions.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
BH: Thank you for accepting experimental video and giving it a platform among traditional films. I hope EFP can help encourage filmmakers to branch out and play with the unconventional.

365 Day Video Project – 2016 will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, March 16th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: D.K. Johnston, “Father of Lies”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
DK: I got into filmmaking when I was young, but really took it on full time in high school. I enjoyed taking short stores and turning them into film-ready scripts. I produced my first short with a buddy of mine Mike Collier, who is actually the DP for Father of Lies, and we just took off from there. I’ve always enjoyed the process of telling a god story whether it was on paper or on the screen. Developing new characters, and in some cases, new worlds to explore. I have become more of a project manager and facilitator for various projects ranging from comedies and dramas to commercials and documentaries. As long as I’m on set I’m a happy guy.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
DK: We are screening a film I produced in 2015 called Father of Lies, which is one in a 5 part series of shorts directed by Levi A. Taylor. Through this short we learn about a young boy named Jack Ryder and his family. In this story we find Jack on a camping trip with this father Billy Ray, and learn a little of about a very memorable experience Billy Ray had when he was a Preacher. All of the tales in these short films are slightly fictionalize stories from the director’s childhood. While sometimes disturbing, these stories helped shape the man he is today.

Q: What else are you working on?
DK: Currently I’m producing a Colorado-based feature comedy shot in the Denver/Boulder area. We have an Indiegogo campaign running right now raising funds to put the finishing touches on post-production, and an eventual release to either film festival or distribution. Maybe a combination of both. You can find out more at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/army-coop-feature-comedy-post-production/x/5485433#/

I’m also collaborating with a new production service company called Ironsmith Films based at The Lot. Currently directing commercial and corporate productions.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
DK: When ever I am producing a film or commercial I typically become the set’s First Assistant Director at the same time. As a fun tradition I carry a lightsaber hilt on my belt. Makes it easy to find me in the crowd.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
DK: You can visit the following websites to see work I’m currently working on.
www.trisevenpictures.com
www.crookedpictures.com
www.goironsmith.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
DK: I’m very excited to be included in the EFPlooza this year, and look forward to seeing all the great films that were programmed this year. EFP has been a great way to network with like minded individual who share my passion for storytelling. I’m sure it will continue to be so for many years.

Father of Lies will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, March 16th at The Bug Theatre.