Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

By: Nicki Legge

Isla-Isabel2As a filmmaker, the process of making a film can mean a number of different things to different people. Some people consider film a form of art, some think of it as a business, and some of us think of it as a way of life. Despite what it means to us, all true filmmakers have one thing in common, our passion. Making films is something we do because we want to and because we love it. It is obvious when watching the mini documentary, “Los Amigos in Baja California,” that Cat3 Productions is passionate about their work. This is why, for the first time in Jump Ship history, we are bringing you two filmmakers of the week, Brice LeCarre and Ivan Nevares, both owners of Cat3 Productions.

Brice and Ivan began their film journey with a deep love for still photography. Due to their “intense desire to create,” they decided to make the transition to moving pictures and formed Cat3 Productions in fall of 2012. They attribute the easy transition into the film world to the wonderful advances in technology over the past decade. They became absolutely addicted to the “challenge of blending a million parts, seemingly unrelated to one another, to appear to belong together seamlessly. Don’t forget the rich experience of like-minded people working tightly together to achieve a goal.” They came up with a simple, yet important slogan that perfectly describes their approach to filmmaking “Explore, Discover, Capture;” these words are the guidelines that they live by.

With their newfound love of film, Brice and Ivan decided to do a film challenge. They participated in the 2013 IFP Breakout Challenge and submitted their film, “The Recipe.” They say, “It was our first film and it showed, but we will never forget the experience.” Brice and Ivan work so closely during the process of making a film that it is hard to give a firm definition to who takes what roles, but they say that Ivan would be considered the Director of Photography and Brice would be the Director. When I asked what they loved the most about film, they said “From an intellectual perspective, it is the process itself, from the original idea throughout its developmental period, its evolution, to finally seeing the film come alive in the edit bay… It is exhilarating. From a technical perspective, it is the camera work, whether in the field on a documentary or in a controlled environment on a narrative project. The complexity of the camera and lens is a fascination for us.”

Despite how much they fell in love with the craft of filmmaking, Brice and Ivan did not call themselves filmmakers until they began working on their documentary about the Sea of Cortez. They say, “First, this documentary is by far our biggest endeavor and requires us to cast aside any doubt on our abilities to produce a great film… Then, we realized the hundreds of little moments, captured in the present with our cameras, are exhilarating. During those moments there is no doubt in our minds that we are filmmakers.” They didn’t initially intend for the project to be so large. The conversation was simple.

IVAN: Brice, you know I own a sailboat in the Sea of Cortez. Wanna shoot some video down there?
BRICE: Sure, let’s do it.

CoPro0078-0195Once they were at the Sea of Cortez, the idea of making a documentary began to blossom with every new thing they learned about this magical place. They say “We want to show the beauty of the Sea of Cortez but also how that beauty is revealed against some social issues that are at odds in the region. Most of these issues revolve around the local and commercial fishing industry, to be sure. There is also the tourism impact, the ecological push, the corruption and so on.” They plan to show all sides equally with an unbiased eye so viewers can come to their own conclusions. The more digging they do on each of these subjects, the more they learn about the sea. This discovery of things they had not previously thought of has become their absolute favorite part of filming this documentary, on top of getting to spend so much time in such a beautiful place.

Ensenada-ChicaLast year, Brice and Ivan estimated that they were about 80% done with the project, but as they uncover more secrets of the sea, they realized that they have a lot more to discover. They now believe that the project is about 30-40% complete. They say, “Our latest trip in April turned over several stones sending us bouncing in different directions. As an example, in august, we are taking our cameras for an interview at Biosphere 2 in Tucson. Someone is recreating a controlled ecological representation of the Sea of Cortez, inside a laboratory environment. This interview could shed some eye-opening light on the interactions we have already captured on film and take us in yet another direction.”

It’s difficult to imagine that there could be so much hard work involved in spending their days at such a serene place, but maintenance on the sailboat alone is taxing enough without the added tasks of shooting a documentary on top of that. They say “A sailboat needs care and maintenance and becomes the priority. Once the boat has been taken care of then filming becomes the priority. Sometimes we have set up interviews and those timelines have to be respected.” But despite all the hard work, they still manage to find a day or night here and there to relax and take in the sea. They say “Spending time in the Sea of Cortez definitely had an effect on our souls. It is extraordinary to spend the night at anchor in a deserted island under the Milky Way. No internet. No TV. No phones or other distraction of the ‘civilized’ world. It is rejuvenating in every aspect when your world is the sailboat and your backyard is three-quarters the size of Arizona.”

Cat3 is planning to have the Sea of Cortez documentary completed in the next one to two years depending on how far down the rabbit hole they go. They also have several other projects in their infancy that you can keep your eye out for. They say “Beyond that, we are always open to helping other filmmakers with our camera work. Every project we do is a challenge to be conquered and we learn something new and amazing about our cameras, our abilities and the world of filmmaking.” If you would like to get in touch with Cat3 Productions you ca reach Brice at 602-751-6291 and Ivan at 480-381-8236. You can also email them HERE and visit their website HERE.

Los Amigos In Baja California from Cat3 Productions on Vimeo.

By: Nicki LeggeMike FOTW

With such an amazing film community here in Arizona, it is so easy to accumulate incredibly talented friends. These are people you know you can always rely on to tackle any project by your side, regardless of how crazy the idea may be. One of the people that I am proud to call my friend and fellow crew mate is Mike Daiz, a man who was on the very first Jump Ship set and has grown with us over the years. Jump Ship recently went through a large transition, one of the main changes being the move away from film challenges toward other ventures. As we’ve been gearing up to take on the biggest project we have ever set our eyes on, we’ve also been working on a strange little short film involving a devious Banana. We knew that we could rely on Mike to help us bring our vision to life, and boy did he rock our socks off. We are proud to name Mike Diaz as our Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week.

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Every filmmaker has an origin story that they hold close to their heart. For Mike, his story begins five years ago with fantasy football and his best friend, Jonathan Levi Mauiri. One day they decided to film a video making fun of their fantasy football league, and they had so much fun that they kept making more. Mike says, “Back then we were using this humongous old school camera; It looked like we had a RPG on our shoulders! The camera had no functioning battery pack so we had to use extension cords to lug it around on our shoots. The quality was horrible, but we made up for it with a hilarious story to tell! We were naturals!”

Mike has always had an affinity for telling stories, using his words to captivate his family and friends by painting a picture with his famous Mike Diaz charisma. He says “Comedy was my medicine, and I loved making people laugh!” The film community was a perfect way for him to exercise his talents. He is absolutely in love with writing, although he says he feels like he has been acting all his life. Mike believes “nothing is more fulfilling than immersing yourself in a role, and shooting the video in your mind of this character’s life!” With that much love for the craft, Mike and Jon decided to build their own production company, A Mexican and a Jew Productions.

With such an amazing name, I had to know just how they got the idea for A Mexican and a Jew Productions. Mike says, “I remember the day it came to Jon, and I. We were trying to think of a name that stands out, and conveys the kind of personalities you were dealing with. Our good friend Chrissy Jensen was on the phone in a meeting at her work, and somehow the phrase ‘Well you are a Mexican and a Jew, right? Why not A Mexican and a Jew Productions?’ We immediately started laughing, and apparently the people in her meeting did too. And so it began!”

A Mexican and a Jew Productions is a company with a lot of talent and even more heart. Mike says Jon is my brother, the best man I know, and I love him very much. He’s the one that has encouraged me, even when I don’t believe in myself. It’s because of him I believe we can do this!” His favorite part of filmmaking is all of the wonderful people that he gets to share his creativity with. Being surrounded by hard working passionate people who grow to become your friends and family is what he lives for.

Because of his absolute love for film, Mike is an invaluable asset to have on set. He is willing to do any job, no matter how big or small. When we asked him to be a part of our project “Who is the Mannequin?,” he “didn’t hesitate to climb aboard!” Our tight knit crew has grown into a pretty amazing family. As Mike puts it, “This is a crew filed with hardworking people that know how to have fun! It’s in between takes, that’s where you really get to know people!” But aside from having fun and bonding, Mike really stepped up to the plate during this shoot. Not only did he make a darn good dolly grip, but when our boom mic operator had to leave early, Mike took the reins and dominated a position that he had never done before. He says “I’ve never run sound before, so when I was asked I was a bit reluctant. I stepped up to the challenge, learned as much as possible, and believe I did a good job!”

You can see the fruits of all the hard work that went into “Who is the Mannequin?” at the Filmbar Phoenix on July 31st. A Mexican and a Jew Productions also just finished working on a Promo video with the local band, No Gimmick! You can go to the CD release party tomorrow at Pub Rock Live. Not only is Mike a permanent member of the Jump Ship family who also runs his own production company, but he is very interested in working with anyone and everyone in the film community. He says “In Arizona there is strong art culture, where local artist from all walks of life band together to help create, and promote each other’s work. Working with other production companies is not only something I would love to do, it’s also a duty in my opinion. One such production company that has always stepped up to plate and helped us out is Lucky 20 Pictures. Talented, hard working, and lovable group!”

You can find A Mexican and a Jew Productions on facebook, or you can contact Mike via email Here  or phone at 480-444-9649. He says “I’m a shake hands, and kiss babies kind of guy; give me a call! Do it!”

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In the not to distant future Titan, one of  Saturn’s moons is colonized. The colonists cultivated this moon with a synthetic atmosphere. However, 5 years after the colony was established the moon rejected the atmosphere by pumping large amounts of methane gas to kill the inhabitants. Panic broke out in the colony, and the moon has almost been completely evacuated. This film premiered at The Phoenix Art Museum on November 13th 2012 for the IFP Masterpeice Challenge 2012. It won 6 awards: Best Overall FilmBest Director (Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge), Best Music (Nile PopchockBest Overall Technical ElementsBest Actor (JP Frydrych) and Best Trailer. It was an Official Selection of the Phoenix Film Festival 2013 and nominated for several awards at Phoenix Comicon 2013 including:  Best of Festival, Best Narrative Short, and Best of AZ. This film took home Best Science Fiction at Phoenix Comicon 2013.

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Directed By: Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge

Cinematographers: Robert Garcia & Nicki Legge 

Edited by: Robert Garcia & JP Frydrych

Written by: JP Frydrych & Nicki Legge

Produced by: JP Frydrych & Craig MacDonald

Original Score By: Nile Popchock

Set Photographer: Jacquelyn Nelson

Makeup, Wardrobe and Props: Devon Garcia

Behind the Scenes: Craig MacDonald

Lighting Technician: Eric MacDonald

Sound Design: Nile Popchock

Boom Operator: Ryan Ammann

H.L. Corey: JP Frydrych
Young Samantha: Emmy Boucher
Adult Samantha: Kelley Rence
Intercom: Devon Garcia

By: Nicki Legge

Lee_Quarrie_HeadshotThere are a few very special people within the Arizona film industry that I hold in extremely high regard; they are out there on the front lines every day working hard and really getting their hands dirty on any set they can. When one of these people tells me to check out a project or a person, I know that it comes with a level of experience and knowledge that should not be ignored, so when Nile Popchock suggested that I check out Patchwork Dreams, I knew I would not be disappointed. Lee Quarrie is the writer, director, and producer for Patchwork Dreams. This amazing film has taken her to new heights in her career, and she has chosen to share this experience with local filmmakers with the motive of bringing work to the very community that raised her as a filmmaker.

Many of us today are grinding away day in and day out at jobs that we hate, dreaming about all of the other, much more wonderful things we could be spending our time on. Lee spent many years of her life doing “soul-sucking” jobs that left her feeling unfulfilled, but then she found film. Lee says “I believe that a person should do what she loves, and do it with all of her heart.  Filmmaking is what makes me curious about the world… it makes me ask questions, probe and inquire.  Being a filmmaker means I am constantly engaged in creating art.  So the moments of time that are less than exciting suddenly become about informing the larger process of being a filmmaker.  Being bored or sad becomes research.  Then suddenly I’m no longer bored or sad; instead I’m asking myself questions about a character or a relationship or situation in which a character is bored or sad.”

Lee graduated from Arizona State University with a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Digital Media.  “It’s not a film degree; rather it’s a theatre degree that focuses on creating media for live performance.”  She was incredibly grateful for her advisor who recognized her interest in film production and pushed her in that direction while she got her degree. Lee wrote and produced a live, mediated play for her thesis called Mother and Daughter Live! 2.0. During the play, live performers interacted with several characters who were filmed in advance. Lee began her filmmaking by taking several classes at Scottsdale Community College, where she began to refine her skills.

All her life, Lee had loved being an actor and hadn’t really imagined doing anything else, but as an actor she found that she had to do things she didn’t particularly enjoy in order to make a living. Lee says “My reaction to unhappiness is to find something else that interests me. When I found myself dissatisfied with acting and my professional life, I decided to take a screenwriting class, and that hooked me in.” Now, her two favorite roles are writing and directing. Lee says “I’ve produced most of my own films, but enjoy the writing and directing so much more when there is someone else doing the production work.”  She says that as a writer “my mind is constantly noticing stories, shots, characters and relationships.  I believe that having a mind that works like this makes me a strong writer. That and lots of practice, bad writing, practice, accidental good writing, practice, and constructive criticism.”

Lee has done approximately 15 short films, most of them for 48 or 24 hour challenges and won several awards.  In October 2012 she won Best Director, the Brock H. Brown Best Script Award, and 2nd Place in the Almost Famous Film Festival 24-hour challenge for her film “Second Chance.”  She has also won several prized for her submissions to IFP Phoenix Beat the Clock Challenges. Her film, “M.O.P.! An Intergalactic, Melodromatic Rock Opera won the Audience Favorite award and Best Use of Prop. One of Lee’s two favorite films “The Line Up” took Third Place and the lead actress, Jennifer Pfalzgraff not only won Best Actress in the initial competition, but also took Best Actress in the final round at the end of the year.

Photo by: Laura Durant

Several months ago, one of Lee’s friends posted a link to a script competition on her Facebook wall.  She says “Funny thing to me is that he’s not a writer; he’s a gaffer. So it was one of those moments where the Universe got the information under my nose in a roundabout way.” She decided to take a stab at the competition and wrote Patchwork Dreams, about a migrant worker in Beijing who dreams about creating something meaningful. Lee has a friend, Maggie, who spends several months a year in China. She used her as a great resource to understand what life is like in Beijing, in addition to doing all sorts of research about migrant workers.  Lee says “I felt that the migrant workers of China and the migrant workers of America had similar tales to tell.  I’d also recently found myself fascinated with kites for some reason.  The two ideas meshed in my imagination and became Patchwork Dreams.”

Lee ended up winning Grand Prize for the her submission to the shorts competition. She was flown out to Beijing to be honored in a ceremony, and was awarded with a $10,000 production budget. Pre-production began immediately after she found out she had won. Lee says “I received an email on May 15 that I had been selected, and we began shooting on August 8th.” Because the Arizona film industry had been so good to her, Lee knew she wanted to bring the work here.  She found her actors through and social media and messaged several directors, producers, and casting agents for recommendations.  She says “The crew was mostly a crew of people I had worked with on previous projects.  I was very happy to have each one of them on board because it was the first time I was ever able to pay any of my crew. I wanted to be able to give them the opportunity to earn a wage rather than donate their time for food and credit.”

Once she had her cast and crew, it was down to business. Lee was able to find wonderful locations, including the Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center and The Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix. Lee says “It’s my understanding that the Cultural Center has never before permitted a commercial film crew to shoot on their premises, so I consider myself truly blessed to have been able to utilize their unique venue.” They also had to build one of their sets and were able to make it happen at the Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale.  Lee says, “They were so helpful and generous with us  If they had charged us what their services were worth, we wouldn’t have been able to afford them.” Production took about five days over a ten day period from August 8 through 18th and post began immediately afterwards. The final cut of the film is due on October 1, 2013, so Lee and her crew are hard at work to make the deadline.

Lee plans to submit the film to multiple international film festivals, and it will also be viewable in China through their online television presence LeTV.comLee is also working on a script for a feature length film and is “actively seeking representation as well as writing and directorial opportunities.” Lee is a big fan of collaboration. She says “I consider filmmaking the ultimate collaboration.  I’d be a fool to think I could do this by myself!” If you are interested in working with her, you can contact her HERE.

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An unnamed hero faces imminent danger as he confronts a gluttonous mob boss and his two henchmen. Just as he is about to make his move, something unexpected happens that completely changes his world.  This film premiered at the Phoenix Art Museum on August 10th 2012 for the IFP Beat the Clock Challenge 2012. It was Nominated for best trailer, Awarded 3rd Place overall and Best Actress (Chelsea Samuelson). It screened at the Phoenix Film Festival during

an IFP Short’s Finals showcase at Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101 and took home 2nd Place overall. It was an Official Selection of Phoenix Comicon 2013 and nominated for several awards including: Best of Arizona, Best Narrative Short, and Best Action Adventure.

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64330_314153972046078_2092282656_nProduced by: JP Frydrych and Craig MacDonald
Directed, Shot, and Edited by: Robert Garcia
Written by: Nicki Legge
Set Photographer: Jacquelyn Nelson
Makeup & Wardrobe: Devon Garcia
Script Supervisor: Chelsea Samuelson
Behind the Scenes: Herbert Steve Hernandez
Lighting Technician: Jeff Elwell

Sound Design: Nile Popchock


Hero: JP Frydrych
Villain: Herbert Steve Hernandez
Comic Book Boy: Craig MacDonald
The Duel ActressComic Book Girl: Chelsea Samuelson
Henchmen: Jonathan Levy Maiuri & Mike Diaz
Damsel and Jackie: Nicki Legge
 Alvis Scary and Cool Kat Lyss

Special Thanks to:Haus Murphy’s
Drawn to Comics
Kathy’s Corner Boutique
IFP Phoenix

The Duel 3rd place

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