The SXSW Film Festival just announced its 2018 lineup and CHI-TOWN will have its world premiere this March in the Documentary Feature Competition !
Congratulations to everybody at Northern Lights who worked on the film, a project that took 4+ years to shoot – David Gioiella + Mark Littman, executive producers; Robin Hall, post producer; Chris Carson, editor; Chris Hengeveld, colorist; and Jody Nazzaro, sound mixer.
Directed by Nick Budabin + produced by Terry Minogue, CHI-TOWN tells the story of an underdog basketball player from Chicago, Keifer Sykes, who goes on a meteoric rise to become one of the best college point guards in the nation. But while he pursues dreams of the NBA, his success contrasts with the effects of gun violence on his friends back home.
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With a career spanning several decades, the great Jon Alpert is a past recipient of DOC NYC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Now he delivers a film that draws upon footage he shot in Cuba for over 40 years. Starting in the 1970s, Alpert’s pioneering work as an independent video journalist won the attention of Fidel Castro, who granted him unique access. Alpert makes repeated visits to the country chronicling its changes, from Havana to the countryside.
CUBA AND THE CAMERAMAN opens Friday, Nov 24th at IFC. Tickets here
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Arpita Mandal spends her days in distress about how to feed her children two meals a day and ensure that they are able to get an education of their own in her small village in India. Arpita and her family do not have any land to cultivate, living in just a 5’X7’ one single room home with a small veranda. Arpita shares her home with two children, her husband and mother-in-law. After Arpita’s husband was forced to leave the family to make a decent income, she discovered nonprofit Trickle Up and was able to earn her own income and join in a community of local women in similar circumstances.
Trickle Up focuses on the toughest challenges in global poverty alleviation: to reach the poorest, most vulnerable, isolated people and create trajectories towards financial independence.
Titled “Arpita Mandal,” this video directed by Mark Littman of BODEGA peers closer into Arpita’s journey with Trickle Up and how the empowerment of its services have not only boosted her financial situation, but also her outlook on the future and self worth.
BODEGA has lent its talent and expertise to media messaging for Trickle Up for more than a decade. Littman, BODEGA co-founder/partner, has journeyed to such places as India and Guatemala to tell the story of the nonprofit Trickle Up.
Client: Trickle Up
Production: Bodega Mark Littman, director; Min Park, producer
Post-Production: Northern Lights + SuperExploder Chris Carson, editor; Chris Hengeveld, color; Brady Hearn, mixer/sound designer
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Working with longtime collaborators HBO and producing in tandem with film star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, director/producers Jon Alpert + Matt O’Neill debut their new documentary ROCK & A HARD PLACE Monday March 27th at 10pm.
Jon + Matt are available for spot + branded content work at NYC’s Rascal Films.
Incarcerated young people enter the famed Miami-Dade County Corrections & Rehabilitation Boot Camp Program in search of a second chance: the opportunity to trade an extensive prison sentence for a fresh start. In this harsh, 16-week camp, drill instructors push inmates to their limit, but those who complete it can become constructive members of society who are substantially less likely to return to prison. The program reports a recidivism rate under 15%, while the national rate of prison recidivism is approximately 70%.
Inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s own experiences with the law as a youth, ROCK AND A HARD PLACE is a passion project for Dwayne Johnson, who calls it one of the most important films he’s been associated with. “By the time I was 16, I had been arrested multiple times for a variety of things, and can relate to what these kids are going through,” he says.
Johnson executive produces along with Dany Garcia, his producing partner and co-founder of Seven Bucks Productions, and Rasha Drachkovitch of 44 Blue Productions, the Emmy®-nominated executive producer behind “Lockup,” the longest-running prison series. Oscar® nominees and multiple Emmy® winners Matthew O’Neill and Jon Alpert produce and direct.
The film opens with Johnson’s visit to the boot camp, where he observes the induction of a group of 38 young offenders, convicted of crimes ranging from assault to armed robbery, who are on the brink of lengthy prison terms. Once the chaos has subsided, he tells the young men why he wants the world to see this program and emphasizes why he believes this may be their last chance.
ROCK AND A HARD PLACE follows the inmates through each phase of the camp, beginning with the brutal first weeks, which are marked by constant verbal confrontation, physical training and strict military-style discipline. Several cadets can’t or won’t comply with the rules, and the ranks are thinned to 35 after a month. Those who remain resolve to follow their instructor’s extreme demands, although tears and moments of resistance sometimes surface.
As the weeks go by, cadets attend anger-management classes, learn vocational skills and are surprised by “protocol tests” that measure their progress and patience. In what guards call “a test of discipline,” some of the more promising men are selected to leave the prison as part of a mobile work crew. Two of them decide to escape during one such session, but are soon recaptured after a manhunt that makes the evening news, and now face even longer prison sentences. The incident rattles camp guards and management, who warn the other prisoners that escape attempts will only undermine the legitimacy of the entire program.
Cadets finally arrive at graduation day, where family members beam as they march past in precise formations before being released to their loved ones. Johnson gives emotional remarks as he congratulates the young men at a post-graduation courtroom reception.
Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill note, “As our nation wrestles with a prison system that has become the largest in the world, ROCK AND A HARD PLACE highlights an alternative incarceration program that provides a pathway to hope and positive change.”
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New York/San Francisco-based content creation/production company BODEGA teamed up with Discovery Channel to launch the newest season of the reality series Naked and Afraid.
In the spot, a man and a woman stand side by side suited up for outdoor adventure, then begin removing layers of clothes and are left with only satchels and completely naked with dirt on their skin, while a narrator says, “Fully equipped, mankind can handle anything—but naked and stranded in the wild, we’re back in the food chain.”
Bodega director Haley Geffen worked with Discovery VP, Creative Pablo Pulido and senior writer/producer Luke Aeschliman to create the promo.
The spot was cut by Northern Lights editor Mark Tyler, who worked with the VFX team to incorporate effects. SuperExploder mixers Ted Gannon and Ted Marcus augmented the promo with a sound design that tied together the visual transitions. And Lustre colorist Chris Hengeveld added the finishing touches with his color grade.
Geffen worked with Pablo and Luke to create the subtleties of the stylized promo, overseen by Discovery Channel SVP Lara Richardson.
“We focused on how to remove clothes in a stylized way that enhanced our concept,” notes Geffen in a statement. “We didn’t want the act to look silly or even sexy. On the show, there’s nothing sexy about being naked. So we choreographed their actions and focused on specific motions that added energy to the visuals and uniquely branded the promo without sensationalizing the nudity.”
Naked and Afraid airs on Discovery Channel on Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET.
Client: Discovery Channel
SVP Creative: Lara Richardson
VP Creative: Pablo Pulido
Sr. Writer/Producer: Luke Aeschliman
Production Manager: Daniel Oleksiuk
Production Manager: Chau Hoang
Director/Executive Creative Director: Haley Geffen
Head of Production: Kris Walter
Line Producer: Jordan Tarazi
Line Producer: Michael Flexner
Post: Northern Lights
Editor: Mark Tyler
Lustre colorist: Chris Hengeveld
After Effects Artist: Matthew Lucas
Executive Producer: Robin Hall
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Only a few seconds into the first episode of “Lowrider Roll Models,” we meet Steve Alvarez-Mott, an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices in Glendora and San Dimas, Calif. The camera slowly focuses in on Alvarez-Mott’s face as he explains how he got involved in the lowrider culture–a world where elaborately customized classic cars with hydraulics brings Latino families together. In the background bottles of Quaker State oil line the shelves.
It’s subtle product integration executed well by TEN: The Enthusiast Network. Nancy Bruner, Shell Lubricants manager of influencer strategy and engagement, was looking for an experience that would let advocates in the lowrider community see that Shell was equally passionate about helping their community thrive.
Shell Lubricant’s involvement began in 2015 as a way to gain traction and awareness in the U.S. Hispanic market, explained Rudy Rivas, GM, Lowrider Network. Mr. Rivas met with Don Moser, North America Marketing Manager at Shell Oil Company and Ms. Bruner many times, getting to know each other and developing friendships. It was a good match, said Mr. Rivas, because everyone involved shared an appreciation for not only the cars, but also the people and culture surrounding the lowrider lifestyle. Even though the LOWRIDER staff are “knucklebusters who have grease under their nails”, the human interest aspect of each episode offers broad appeal.
During those multiple meetings, the group brainstormed ways TEN could help Shell by creating custom video content that would make a difference in the lowrider community.TEN’s LOWRIDER magazine staffers had toyed with the idea of creating video for years, said Mr. Rivas, and having Shell Lubricant, featuring Quaker State Motor Oils, be a part of it made it all the more enthralling. “They wanted to integrate with a program that shows respect to the culture of the lowrider car enthusiast,” he said. “TEN has always been a first mover and helped brands grow new and existing audiences. We knew we could help the Quaker State brand activate and drive real engagement with the audience they wanted to reach.”
After bouncing a few ideas back and forth, Rivas and the team at Shell Lubricants decided to turn the magazine’s “Roll Model” column into a monthly video series, focusing on the four pillars of lowriding: performance, artistry, pride, and culture. The short video segments would profile male and female lowrider community leaders and their cars. It would also work to dispel outdated, negative myths about the lifestyle. (Television and movies have done a good job of making lowriding synonymous with organized crime and guns.) The fact that the people and cars featured in the lowrider series are true role models, working in their own communities for the betterment of all is an added benefit for Quaker State.
“In the case of ‘Roll Models,’ it wasn’t just, ‘We want to market to you [Hispanic community].’ It was really building out the idea of, ‘We have a shared passion around automotive and design. We all share this love.’ Now, we can help change the perception of a culture that has really well-respected folks designing, building and driving lowriders. For us, that’s incredibly appealing,” said Ms. Bruner.
That includes putting product in the hands of the lowrider car clubs and community to support their passion.”By supporting the lowrider community with product that they want and use, we help deliver a message that we all want to deliver – getting the stories told,” said Ms. Bruner.
To date, the videos–which launched in March 2016–have generated over 3.9 million views, and over 325,000 likes, comments, shares to date. There’s also cross-promotion via the one-page profile in the print magazine. While Ms. Bruner will not disclose all metrics, she said Shell Lubricants is “pleased with the program and our investment in underwriting has been well-placed.”
One reason: Quaker State is seeing a great benefit from earned media. “We’ve seen a big increase in earned media awareness. There have been a lot of interview opportunities for us as well. From a reputation and brand perspective, the earned media is phenomenal and begins to build the credibility piece for us,” she explained. “It helps us to appeal to a broader number of people.”
TEN: The Enthusiast Network is the world’s premier transmedia network of enthusiast brands, such as MOTOR TREND, AUTOMOBILE, HOT ROD, SURFER, TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING, and GRINDTV. TEN’s audience represents the largest concentration of males age 18 to 34 within the automotive and action/outdoor categories.TEN helps brands connect with a powerful, active and influential group of passionate enthusiasts. Its massive scale across all platforms allows partners unmatched reach. For more information, visit enthusiastnetwork.com
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