How do you reclaim and redefine the stories and American iconography present in films? Kanani Koster is a filmmaker from Portland, Oregon, flipping the script and telling stories that explore race, power, and privilege with violence, gore, and brutality, without feeding collective trauma. From her early days in Seattle meeting amazing mentors to the community atmosphere and punk vibe of Portland, Oregon, Kanani brings her imagination to life by collaborating and ensuring that her team challenges and checks one another’s perceptions and ideas.
With over 8,000 and counting film festivals worldwide, how will you make sure your film gets into the right festivals? Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith is the founder of The Film Festival Doctor, a company that helps filmmakers create a focused film festival strategy, including planning, organization, logistics, and support. Suppose you are a filmmaker who hasn’t considered the life-changing impact of film festivals. Rebekah is adamant that you’ll discover community and new voices, not to mention the chance to polish your film’s vision.
Never before in the entire history of cinema has animation been more crucial to film and television production. Not to mention technologically possible and affordable for artists around the world. From his early days programming draw functions in computers to currently teaching students rotoscoping and animation, Karl Jahnke has been exploring stories and the surreal much of his life. In this conversation, he shares the significant influences in his early career, his approach to storytelling, why he created the Mobile Animation Film Festival, and his prediction for the future of animation.
What does it take to build and connect with an audience in the digital age of independent film? Taylor Morden of Pop Motion Pictures discovered the answer in his early musician days: make friends, not fans. The transition from music to film was natural as the do-it-yourself punk rock work ethic made sense in the world of documentary film. Learn whatever you need to learn, do what you need to do, and always build your community. From his first documentary about the band, The Refreshments, to his films about ska music and the last Blockbuster Video store in Bend, Oregon, Taylor brings movies to life that matter to both him and his audience. On top of that, he makes sure to have a good time.
I’m always fascinated with stories of how people have built long-lasting and sustainable careers. But what happens when someone burns out doing something they love, decides to learn a new trade, and ends up not only rebuilding a career but creates a more meaningful life in the process? That is the story of Robb Mills, an independent audio contractor for over 20 years, working on films and video games as a sound designer and music composer. From the hustle and grind of his early days to resetting his life with yoga therapy, Robb candidly shares story after story of honing his craft around his love for sound and music while serving and sharing life with others.