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New Video: Selling Coffee to Save Lives

I haven’t been on my personal blog in a long time. I’ve been very busy working on several videos and many photographs from this summer and fall, as well as just the general work of being a teacher, father, husband, home-car-mechanic, etc!

Water_Well_Drilling_01Last spring (the last time I posted), I wrote that I was preparing to head off to Africa to film for a non-profit ministry called Ugandan Gold Coffee. UGC owns a coffee farm in the western rural area of Uganda outside of the city of Hoima. They use the profits from the sale of this coffee primarily to drill and repair water wells in the area, giving the people in some of the poorest areas access to clean water. It’s a great organization, and one that I have really come to appreciate and believe in. Their coffee is excellent (you should buy some!), and the people who run this organization are amazing; giving so much of their time and effort to help the people of Uganda like they do.

So, the short of it is that I was sent to Africa to shoot stills and video so that I could help them come up with more promotional material. I honestly wasn’t sure that I wanted to go. I know that sounds a bit crazy – who wouldn’t want to go to Africa, right? But I kinda didn’t. And yet I did. Let’s just say I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t afraid to go – it was just really inconvenient to go. But I did go, and I’m very glad I did. It wasn’t always easy, and I had travel problems, luggage problems, equipment problems, that sort of thing. But I met a very special group of people, and came home with a portfolio of images that I’m proud of having, and video that I hope will help Ugandan Gold Coffee sell their coffee and drill more wells so that more people in Uganda can have the basic need of clean water taken care of. It’s good, important work, and I’m blessed to be a small part of it.

For a look at my photographs, you can go to a blog I started just for my Africa trip, but below is the 2-minute video I recently finished that highlights what this awesome non-profit ministry is doing.

I’d also like to thank a few people for their help with the video, too: First off, the talented Josh Garrels and Marmoset Music for working with us on the rights to the music. Secondly, a big thanks to Paul Tracy of Envision Productions for his voice, and finally, a huge thanks to Brian Moore for allowing us to use his amazing recording equipment at Redbooth Studios!

New Adventure!

I’ve started a new blog on, which is focusing on my trip to Africa this summer! I’m going over to Africa to film and photograph water well drilling as well as all sorts of other things. If you’d like to see what I’m doing, as well as get updates from time to time, you can click the link below, or go to the “africa” link in the main menu bar up above!

I’m so excited I can hardly type!

The Magic in the Medium…

Categories: Film No Comments

One of the reasons why I think, as a culture, we are in love with movies (whether we admit it or not), is because they do feel like magic, especially at a young age. I remember watching E.T. in a movie theater on the Outer Banks when I was 7 years old. I remember the terror, and then the elation as the movie raced towards its conclusion. The magic as Elliot and E.T. flew over the road block… I felt like I was flying with them… I think about that now as I have grown older – and more cynical (or critical, if you please): It’s nice to remember that sometimes a great work of art can be more than the sum of its parts. The marriage of lights, sounds, and story come together to create a visceral experience that is, for lack of a better word, magic.

I can go back through the movie and try to pick it apart, talk about camera angles, dialogue, that sort of thing. But you know, to a certain degree, those things only matter to the critics. The end judgement of a movie is, well, did you feel like you could fly? And that’s what E.T. did for me, and so many of my generation. It was greater than the sum of its parts.

I write about this today because I came upon this YouTube video today, thanks to /Film. As I watched this little girl’s face as she experienced that magic, I found myself grinning like an idiot. I was reveling in her discovery of the magic of film in that moment. I was almost back in the theater in 1982, and I could almost feel my heart leap in my chest like it did at that moment when the bike wheels left the ground. What a great memory to have…

Anyway, I hope you enjoy watching the concern and fright in her face turn to pure joy right in front of you. I hope it reminds you of the power of art, and the magic of something that is, by it’s very existence, far more than just the sum of its parts!

Awesome Video on Vimeo

Categories: Film No Comments

I was browsing through Vimeo the other day, just checking out a few different things, when I happened to actually look at the featured films on the front page. And, to be honest, I don’t know why this film caught my eye, but it did. I clicked on it and immediately knew that something was different about it. First off, it had a voice-over quoting the Old Testament, and secondly, the style was something very different from what I expected. Needless to say, I loved it! My only issue with the whole thing is right at the end, where the scripture is talking about an army, and only one guy stands up. I would liked to have seen a whole bunch of guys stand up. But beyond that, I thought it awesome. Well, and I actually don’t like the title screen. Which is why I almost didn’t click on it: It looks like some kind of western or something like that. Oh well. I clicked anyway, and was the better for it!

So you can watch it below, or I would also encourage you to follow the link to the artist’s Vimeo page and check out his other work. He’s quite good!

Categories: Film No Comments

This is a documentary film done by a student of mine who graduated a few years ago. It’s a neat story about some people in Rochester who are trying to change things for the better in our city through art. Enjoy!

BELIEVE/Visual Intervention from Ian Wilson on Vimeo.

Categories: Film 35 Comments

So, I’ve spent WAY too much time doing this, but I wanted Darren Aronofsky’s commentary on his movie “The Fountain” remixed with the actual audio from the movie, so I could re-burn my DVD withe the director’s commentary as an extra audio track, like it should have been done from the studio.

But before we get to the download, let me just say that I’ve never been one to be too much of a “fanboy”, but in this case, I’ll admit it readily. I loved The Fountain. I honestly consider it one of the bravest and most astounding movies ever made. Aronofsky is a director who communicates visually as much as he does through dialogue, and that is pretty rare. He packs his movies full of symbolism and visual meaning like no other director of his generation.

Anyway, I have a lot of opinions about The Fountain, and some of its meaning, and I know that I am probably in the minority when I say that I believe that the only “fictional” part of the movie is the Conquistador portion of the movie. I believe that Tommy the doctor and Tom the space traveler are the same person. I believe that Tommy really does find the cure for death, and spends a lonely eternity searching for his wife’s soul, until he realizes that death is not the evil thing that he thinks is it. He finally stops being afraid of death, and realizes that the end of all his searching is the very thing he has been running away from: Death itself.

I could go on, but that is not the purpose of this entry in my blog. Maybe I’ll write more about my reasons for those ideas sometime later. But what we’re talking about here is me being a fanboy, and the fact that I decided to re-work Darren Aronofsky’s Director’s Commentary of The Fountain, and make it available for you to download…

Click here to see the rest of this entry »

Categories: Animation,Film No Comments

Well, for once I wish I lived on the West Coast! As a boy who fell in love with the magic of film and special effects at a young age, I vividly remember the 1981 Clash of the Titans. And make no mistake, it may not look as impressive as the newest version, with all of its computer technology, but it was as much – if not more – of a masterpiece in visual effects. And Harryhausen was the man who brought all of that to life. And unfortunately enough, I think his name may not be remembered by a majority of this current generation of movie-goers. True, we all know the likes of Lucas, Cameron, and maybe even John Gaeta, but I’m afraid that masters like Harryhausen may not be written down in history as they should. So, at my urging, go see this exhibition, or at least, do a google search on Ray Harryhausen, just to understand how magic used to be made.

USA Today

Categories: Film No Comments

Christopher Nolan is truly a master at his craft. I am wondering if this could possibly even eclipse “The Dark Knight.” Is it possible? Based upon how the premise of this movie is starting to take shape, I’m thinking that it could be a possibility.