documentary film // Alma Mater Tacoma Artist Spotlight 002 : Sarah Gilbert

#002 in our collaborative series of Artist Spotlights with Alma Mater Tacoma—this one on Sarah Gilbert.

“We look for signs wherever we go: navigating the freeway, exploring a restaurant destination, searching for the bathroom. We seek out ‘signs of life,’ we talk about ‘telltale signs,’ and excavate our past for missed signs — red flags. We are obsessed with signs and signifiers as a species, always on the hunt for the visible that signals that we are on the right track. We believe, intrinsically, in right tracks and wrong tracks, and any song, poem, or proverb that speaks of paths or tracks will tell you that the right way always leads you home. In Sarah Gilbert’s latest work, Signs and Signifiers, Sarah explores ideas of way-finding—both in our species and beyond…” (read more)

event film // Tacoma Film Festival 2017

We were on hand all week to capture the 2017 Tacoma Film Festival—from screenings to workshops to parties—here’s our look back at our favorite TFF yet (including original music composed in-house!)

art film // Case Study 0003 : “Protect”

CASE STUDY 0003 // “Protect”

poem / music / film by
Peter James Berkley
copyright 2016

music film // Bombay Beach : “Thee Mote”

Allow us to present this music film we put together for our friends in Portland’s Bombay Beach. We used motion graphics, rephotographed footage and original footage to create this beast—we hope it only serves to make the band that much more mysterious than their music…

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music film // Phinisey : “Something New”

Seattle area producer and musical collaborator Phinisey is striking out on his own and releasing solo music—doing Something New…starting with this music film we created for him. We wanted him to exist in a dreamy blank slate miasma of color about to take shape into “Something New”—like the dawn of the universe or the morning sky. It’s Phinisey’s heartfelt delivery, though, that makes the visuals pop!

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film // YOURS TRULY : The Head and the Heart

We had the opportunity to once again shoot this short live music film for our friends at Yours Truly—this one of Seattle indie darlings The Head and the Heart.

award-winning video // A Brief History of Merlot

First—credit where credit is due. Once upon a time a wonderful, whimsical, wry little nugget of a narrative seeded itself in the brain of Gundlach Bundschu Winery Marketing Director Susan Sueiro. Perhaps (just maybe) after sipping on a glass of Gun Bun Merlot—a come-hither, ruby slipper of a wine, that—under the right circumstances—transports you over the rainbow. It’s no laughing matter, this wine. It’s just, well, much maligned. How to tell its story with winks rather than winces?

After what we can only imagine was a richly inspirational foray sliding down various rainbows, one of the things Susan did after putting fingers to keyboard was to call us. And we’re so glad she did. Our own Art Director Peter and Susan together finessed the script and shot list so as to make it possible to capture in one day, Peter clicked his heels down to California and ta-dah, they did it. One day. By jove. Peter behind the lens, Susan directing, coordinating scenes, costumes, wings, prayers and wine.

Back home Peter edited, nipped, tucked and nipped some more. Refined the flow and polished the audio, added graphics and selected the songs. Creative Director Sarah said things like, “That looks good,” and “Nuh-uh” and “But…” (She was pregnant anyways.) Peter burned the midnight oil night after night. He felt he owed it to Merlot. And Susan. And rainbows.

Their efforts paid off. Last month A Brief History of Merlot nabbed Wine Spectator’s 2012 Annual Video Contest.

A Brief History of Merlot humorously depicts the trials and tribulations of a varietal misunderstood—even shunned—in the aftermath of the movie Sideways, before its redemptive return to greatness.

After its debut in March of this year, A Brief History of Merlot quickly went viral on YouTube—accruing nearly 20,000 hits in a matter of weeks as major media outlets and blogs across the wine world shared in collective laughter before passing it along. It currently boasts more than 36,000 views.

The video was then submitted to Wine Spectator’s sixth annual video contest this August, where it won the popular vote. According to Wine Spectator, this year’s competition drew entries from all over the world and broke the record for the largest number of voters.

So there you have it. The little Art Dept. video that could. Proving that anything is possible if you put a little blood, sweat and tears into it.

Thanks to all the voters out there who displayed phenomenal taste in choosing A Brief History of Merlot. Thanks to our creative friends at GunBun for having faith in us, for their good wine and their great storytelling.

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video // CULT TACOMA : Squeak + Squawk 2012

These are videos we recently produced for Cult Tacoma as part of their coverage of Tacoma’s recent Squeak + Squawk Festival.

video // CULT TACOMA : 1022 South

We produced further content for Cult Tacoma—this time featuring the epicurean artisanship of Tacoma’s 1022 South owner Chris Keil.  To illustrate Chris’s philosophy and approach behind 1022 South’s cocktail alchemy, we captured his process for creating the hand-carved ice used in the drinks.  As Sarah, who also shot and edited the video, writes for Cult Tacoma:

Nobody is asking Chris to dismantle 150-pound slabs into rugged, fist-sized rocks customized purely for patrons’ drinking pleasure. It’s a choice—and admittedly, a good one. Each a diamond in the rough, winking up at you from your glass with the self-sufficient pluckiness of a Klondike gold miner and the crystalline purity of glacier melt.

But melt is what they won’t do—at least too fast anyways.

“You’re going to notice a difference in flavor because of the difference in dilution,” says Keil. “You’re going to be able to enjoy your beverage more, whatever the drink is. It’s going to honor the ingredients more. It’s better quality ice. If you start with better quality ingredients, you end up with a better product.”

Read more here . . .

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Cult Tacoma

1022 South

“Grand Daddy Blues” by
Jelly Jaw Short

video // CULT TACOMA : Elk & Boar

Here are a couple more videos we shot for Cult Tacoma.  We caught up with the band Elk & Boar as they were preparing for performances down at SXSW last week.

Over coffee at Bluebeard the other day, we had a conversation with Kirsten—the Elk in Tacoma’s soulful Elk & Boar—about this and that and mostly, the weather. Our consensus was that Tacoma skies brandish more diversity—day to day, hour to hour—than any other place we’ve lived. From the gauzy west-facing pinks of afternoon to glowing cloud obelisks pervading the port skies at night to the otherworldly opacity of surprise snowfalls, Tacoma never fails to awe us when we look up.

Kirsten invited us to join Elk & Boar in their studio—”The Cottage”—to record a couple of their songs on just such a mercurial day . . .

Read more at Cult Tacoma!

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