What a crazy summer…

Shot right after the final Haka Performance – Sweet!

I’ve definitely been riding the wave of awesome these past couple months.  Over this past summer, I’ve been honored with several awards for my films, found out that Bean Caught has made the RIT SoFA Honor Show which will debut at the Little on the 29th of September, I taught another awesome year at GIV IT as the Animation Faculty, I was asked to teach this Fall for the 3DDG program at RIT, AND I just got back from New Zealand with over 15,000 photos and a new short experimental film.

Wow.  Just… Wow.

Of course, I’m very thankful that my lovely wife supported me through all this.  I’m hoping my luck continues to get better.  And speaking of which, I discovered while in New Zealand that my wife was promoted in her job – which is awesome.  However, with this news, it does mean that we will be moving from Rochester, NY, to the Washington DC area… It’s not bad, just different.  It’s a lot of change in a short period of time, but this is good change.  The benefit of being in my 3rd year of the MFA program at RIT means I get to work remotely on my thesis – though the facilities are what I’ll be needing to complete it.  I’ll need to figure out how to creatively get around this or maybe I’ll just be taking the train up during certain weeks.  Either way, I’m still super excited for her!

And speaking of which, I released my new film – “Here Inside You” – earlier this week on Vimeo and decided to open it up to the public, while Bean Caught will be sitting for a bit of time before it goes public as well.  If you decide to view it, please go full-screen as you’ll be properly immersed, kind of like light-pollution in the city blocking the stars vs seeing the naked-night-sky in the country.

The film is really about the Mana experienced during my stay in New Zealand and the questions of direction during recent changes in my life as mentioned above.  It was created over a six week study abroad program through a cooperation between Rochester Institute of Technology and Unitec Institute of Technology.  I was fortunate enough to work with some amazing dancers who performed the Haka:  Ben Temoku, Aloalii Tapu, Eddie Elliott, & Te Arahi Easton.  I also worked with a great local-Unitec-Kiwi lighting guy, Tim Williams, who was patient enough to stick around during the production and help enhance the performance through lighting.  Katie LeVander also helped me out with a bit of art direction and hand held camera work which she did a great job at.

The crew in good ol’ form.

Everything was painstakingly shot on Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D and Canon Rebel XTi.  And by painstakingly, I mean many many many patient hours were spent in making sure the shots worked well before timelapsing, which was a great-cool-process to experience.  I realized that by doing timelapsing for most of the shots, it allowed me to step back and enjoy the beauty of what was seen before me.  All shots taken on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.  I  could not have been any luckier.

Speaking of luck, I had the most fun with local Kiwi’s in the area, particularly my flatmates Steven and Vicki, along with their 3 year-old French Bulldog, Mackie.  I learned a crap-ton about the culture through them, not to mention the amazing hospitality, but also quickly understood how much I was going to miss them when I left.  They accepted me in like a good friend/family and were absolutely wonderful.  I’m crossing my fingers that one day they may step foot on US soil so I can properly cook them up a storm and show them around as well.  Maybe even introduce them to my disgruntled cat, Sam!

Wait for it… Wait for it…!

BAZINGA!

So happy, so content.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!

I also had an amazing time learning much about the Unitec campus, particularly the faculty and students, as well as New Zealand film language and history.  Never did I expect to see such a strong string of similarities through all their films, uniting in a very unique look on life, land and culture.  Scott was our surrogate faculty-lecturer and was great at keeping students in-line, focused, educated and entertained.  He exposed an honest viewpoint and truth to a lot that I never realized existed in New Zealand film.  I also watched The Piano for the first time ever and realized how amazing it was.  There were many other New Zealand films I was hoping to see, but now I’ll have to carve out much time to do just that.

While there, many of us including a talented animator, Mirium – another Unitec Faculty, watched many New Zealand Film Festival presentations.  One film that made the biggest impression on me was an experimental, documentary film called “Home”.  I don’t want to say much more than that, but holy cow – amazing.  It’s an original New Zealand film by Thomas Gleeson and all I can say is I traveled through the same landscapes you see in the film and – wow.  Maybe if it appears online I’ll snag it and post it – it’s a great piece.

Maybe I should stop typing and run through the rest of my photos and finally get all that out of the way.  I’d like to print a bunch of them soon to place in local galleries… I’ve been considering opening an online store – but that’s been for years.  Just another project to do I guess, eh?  But what I should REALLY be doing is my thesis… Just one more year left.  I hope I make as much of it as possible.

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