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Dec 17, 2017

2017 in Review

It's been a big year at Hearts+Sparks with some major milestones. Here's a breakdown of 2017!

Client-Based "One Woman Band" Work

This is work where that I worked with client to develop, then shot and edited to deliver a final video. This year, I made a total of 19 videos for 10 different clients including Women's Foundation of Oregon, Kaiser Permanente, APANO, Portland'5, Clackamas Women's Services, the Regional Water Providers Consortium, Blanchet House and Northwest Forest Workers Center. I also made two videos with donated gear and labor--one highlighting the work of North Northeast Community Health Center in collaboration with Rachel Bracker and another for Ana del Rocio's campaign. All of these organizations and individuals are working to create change for our world and I feel privileged to collaborate with them as well as to highlight and feel a connection to their good work. It's an amazing way to spend my days. Thanks to everyone who hired me to help tell their stories.

I get a lot of people that ask me how I earn a living as a filmmaker and this is it! It requires the additional skill of running a business--something I admittedly am not as excited about as telling stories, but that in the end is worth it to be able to set my own schedule and choose who I work for. 

ABOVE: Filming Isis Harris for the Women's Foundation event video using a Ronin-M, one of the new pieces of gear I started using this year. 

ABOVE: Candace Kita interviews Sabina Haque at JAMS for the APANO Placemaking video. 

Behind the Scenes Shoots

Something new for me this past year was to shoot behind the scenes footage. I documented a Spalding commercial (following Damian Lillard around!) and was on the set of two feature films. It was valuable to be on larger sets and learn about protocol and roles.

AND I got to work with Claudia Meza on a She Shreds Magazine video shoot! (They got my name wrong--my last name is "Jones and Redstone" together, fyi!)m

DP and Director Work

This is all work where I served as Director and/or DP.

Another milestone as part of my work was being hired by Metro to do a narrative project for the first time. Until now, most of my client-based projects have been more documentary in nature including the many videos I have made for Metro. But this year, I was hired to develop the concept for a video series that is completely narrative (fictional storytelling) to create for/with them in 2018. This will also be the largest project I've undertaken for Metro in terms of scope and budget. Can't wait!

This year, I moved more into narrative directing by launching a DP/Director focused website and working on multiple personal projects (and getting paid to make them). Directed by Women also featured me in one of their articles. 

One of the best things about this year was working with crews on larger projects and finding collaborators. I met and got to work with so many new people.  Below are some of the projects I was part of.

Graphic Means, a feature film I shot for director Briar Levit in 2016 about the history of graphic design, has now screened all over the country and the world including 17 countries. I've been blown away by the reception for the film. Congrats, Briar!

ABOVE: On stage with the team that made Graphic Means at a sold out screening at the Hollywood Theater. From left to right there's Emily Skaer, Emily Von W. Gilbert, me and Briar Levit.

In June, I served as Director of Photography on Shilpa Sunthankar's latest short film entitled Working Lunch. It was a joy to work with my friends including producer Tara Johnson-Medinger and many more. The film was just awarded a RACC grant and is due out in 2018. 

ABOVE: Filming Working Lunch. Director Shilpa Sunthankar is the first one on the left!

Also in May of this year, I got to do a job shadow with director Debra Granik as a pilot for the 5 to 50 program which pairs filmmakers with established directors. Debra Granik's last film Winter's Bone starred Jennifer Lawrence and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Debra was in town shooting her latest feature, Leave No Trace. This was an incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and observe and soak up knowledge from a skilled storyteller. I'm grateful to Juliana Lakasik for spearheading 5to50, to Oregon Film for helping to make it happen and to Debra for sharing her process. Leave No Trace premieres at Sundance next year. 

Sista in the Brotherhood, the 2016 short I directed and co-wrote which was produced and inspired by the work of Dr. Roberta Hunte, continued to win awards this year and moved into being used as an educational tool by industry folks. It's now been purchased by over Screening licenses have been purchased around the country to use the film to help bring awareness to the discrimination and harassment tradeswomen face. I also served on multiple panels to talk about culture change in the construction trades as well as screening a clip for 500 people at the DJC Women of Vision luncheon. 

ABOVE: A packed screening of Sista in the Brotherhood at PSU in Spring.

This year, I made three narrative projects including the short film Nemesis which I shot and directed in collaboration with Brenan Dwyer who wrote, starred and produced the project for her Potty Talk Productions. The film received funding from the Open Signal and Lower Boom Post TRUTH project. 

ABOVE: Cast and crew of Nemesis. 

I also began a new partnership with Luann Algoso (the creator, star, producer and co-writer) to make an upcoming web series called Nonprofit. I co-wrote, shot and directed the pilot and we plan to release it in February of next year! The project was funded through a crowdfunding campaign. Follow us for a lot more!

ABOVE: An unofficial still from Nonprofit starring its creator, Luann Algoso. 

And at the end of this year, we completed We Have Our Ways, a short film about reproductive justice that I directed and shot, Kjerstin Johnson wrote and Chrisitan Henry produced. The amazing Sidony O'neal stars. It was funded by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and begins the festival circuit next  year. Stay tuned for more info. Check out the article in Willamette Week about the film.

ABOVE: The poster for We Have Our Ways.

I have a feature film script, a tradeswoman thriller, that needs a lot of work, but I might be slowly coming to the realization that my first feature will need to be something I can make for a smaller budget. I have other ideas, but I also have some projects made this year that could become much larger projects depending on reception and funding. Let's put it this way: I'm not worried about having stories to tell!

All in all, that's about 30 projects I worked on this year! Thanks for reading.

It's been a year filled with fun, personal growth, new friends and renewed sense of urgency around storytelling. Most if not all of the project I've led or been a part of offer perspectives that right now especially, are urgently needed to bring balance to the mainstream media. This is the common thread that runs through most of my work and I'm committed to keeping this as my personal mission as a media maker.  I look forward to what we'll make together in 2018.

Happy Holidays!


Dawn Jones Redstone

Owner Hearts+Sparks Productions