Art Meditations :: The Great War

For those living in the US, the Great War is something that we generally skim over in history class- we generally focus on WWII.  For those living in Western Europe, it’s a very different story.  You study WWI for years at a time, at least you do in England, and if you’ve studied it in the last 15 years, you’ve probably gone on field trips to the battlefields.  You’ve stood in the trenches, in crater holes blasted out by bombs and seen the remnant shells stacked up along farmers’ fields- those shells that were never cleared away after the end of the war.  At least that’s my experience of studying the war.  You almost fell guilty for not doing your part even though it happened decades before you were born.

There are reminders of the sacrifices made during that time all over Europe, intertwined with the memories of WWII.  It’s a part of the land and something that you can’t ignore.  There really isn’t anything to compare it with in the US – even Civil War battle grounds aren’t the same.

I found this video a few months ago and in the end, bought the book for my dad as a Father’s Day gift:

ww Norton


Most of my studies have come from books, some from old newsreels etc. but this book gives the Battle of the Somme a whole new light.  It makes it into something visual and puts across the magnitude much better than any other source that I’ve seen.  It actually gives the numbers a human element and not just statistics on the page.  This beautiful book is art and fact all combined into one and I love it for that.

I don’t see this book as being about tragedy, although it does encompass that.  I see it as a chance to truly understand something that is beyond our reality and to take in something that is one of the largest world conflicts in history.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words.


Film festivals have become the center of my life in the last few months.  Between working on getting  current projects into  festivals and attending films at festivals, I’ve become dependent on festival catalogues and spend far too much time looking at what films are playing at what time.  It’s almost like I’m back working for a festival again but for once I’m on the other end of the phone asking the questions instead of having to know all of the answers.

Now normally I would try to see documentaries to see what other people are working on but I’ve been mixing in narrative film as well.  One film in particular, Tracks, is an interesting mix of the two as it is technically a narrative piece while being based on a true story.  Now perhaps some scenes aren’t exactly the way that it happened, but for the most part the story is in tact.

Dir. John Curran

I know that the idea of watching a girl walk across q desert with four camels and a dog, interrupted periodically by a photojournalist, may not sound like the most invigorating story, but somehow it captures your attention for the full two hours.  I love the cinematography in this film.  It’s beautiful and it moves the viewer through the film so seamlessly (with many thanks to the editor and the composer too) that it’s pure eye candy.

The film also has another draw for me in that photojournalist Rick Smolan is featured in this film which adds an interesting connection for me.  I happen to work with Rick’s brother and at times with Rick.  It’s a surreal experience watching a film where you see the same name that’s sitting in your inbox pop on the movie screen.  I know better than to think of this person on the screen to be the true Rick, but it’s amazing to see someone who looks and sounds so much like him.

If you have the chance to see this film, I would highly recommend it. And, for those who are completely entranced by the story and want to know more, there is a book and the original National Geographic article.

Screening at SIFF

I’m a little early this week (and yes I will still post on my normal day) but I wanted to share something exciting and time is of the essence.

For a long time now I’ve been talking about a film that I’ve been working on called The Breach.  Now I haven’t actually worked on it in about a year as it’s been in post-production for a while and my role ended last summer, but I’m excited to say that it’s actually screening!10271559_839988009362041_2148807514626219220_n

Wednesday June 4th at 6:30 pm (Uptown Theatre)

Saturday June 7th at 1:00 pm (Pacific Place)

Tickets available here: SIFF TICKETS


Hope to see you there!


Wanderlust :: Vino


Now I’ve never been to Slovenia let alone to a vineyard in Slovenia but I have been to several vineyards.  There is something so serene about these specialized farms and they are the perfect getaway for just a few hours.  Its possible that after several wine tastings its just the fermented grape juice that I’ve been sampling that makes me feel that way but I beg to differ.

Since I can’t travel overseas at the moment, perhaps a visit to a vineyard is the perfect antidote… For now I will settle for a glass of wine.

Reincarnation :: The Barbican

Persistent Peril

While I was in grad school, I spend a lot of time around the Barbican.  There is this great market that has food from all areas of the world and it was a great place to grab a quick bite or gather picnic food.  I spend many hours with friends on grassy knolls along the Thames with a view of the Barbican and this video makes me appreciate it all the more.

London has a very interesting array of architecture thanks to its many wars, especially the Blitz, and therefore a video like this is special.  It may not be the most beautiful that I’ve posted, but I think it encapsulates the history of a place extremely well- and in a short amount of time.  Impressive, considering it goes back to 200 A.D.  How well could you tell 1800 years of history in only 3.5 minutes?

Ohana :: “Goodbye”

Another year over.  How did that happen?  I’m at a loss as to how it is possibly New Years Eve again.

Joel McCarthy

I admit that this film is not actually a documentary, although its filmed as if it is.  I love this film for many reasons, but most of all it reminds me that even with the loss of people that have a special place in our hearts, they wouldn’t want us to stop living our lives.  It also reminds me that even when I feel too busy to live life, there are more important things than the daily grind and to find those special moments that make life worth living.

Here’s to a new year with more moments that make life worth living and a little less nose to the grindstone.  See you all in 2014!

Ohana :: Holiday Workshop


Growing up, my mom always had us make all of our Christmas gifts for family and friends.  One year it was a watercolor painting for each person, another year it was homemade trail mix.  I think she did this for two reason- 1) it kept us busy during the school break and 2) most people on our list didn’t need yet more things, so making them something was both economical and original.  To this day I still enjoy making gifts for people.  The number that I make has decreased over the years but that allows me to put more time and thought into each individual project.

I like the idea of putting in time and effort into a gift- I feel that it has a lot more meaning when I receive homemade gifts and I hope that others feel the same.  This video reminds me of my own childhood and that special time around the holidays.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah (I know has already passed), Kwanza or just enjoy the season I hope the next few weeks bring you joy and happiness.

Ohana :: The Bear and the Hare

The John Lewis Christmas Ad is one of the most anticipated of ads in the UK every holiday season.  It’s kind of like the much awaited window displays in the larger department stores down Regent Street.  The best part is that you can now watch these ads anywhere in the world.

John Lewis

Admittedly, John Lewis is encouraging the public to buy the greatest gifts of the season but their message is always a good one- do something special for those you love this Christmas.  We could probably take a lesson from that other times of the year too.  I think my favorite part of this video is that it doesn’t seem to matter what species the characters are- they all come together to celebrate.  And of course don’t forget that they do what they can to include those who wouldn’t usually be able to be there.

I couldn’t help but post this as well- the making of The Bear and the Hare.  I am always in awe of animation production, but this takes it a whole new level.


So there you are, two videos in one post and hopefully they made you smile even during this stressful time of year.

Ohana :: Growing Up

Mark Nickelsburg

Once again, here is another film that is not quite a documentary… in fact it isn’t a documentary in any way.  BUT I think it has a very good message- maybe we should listen to toddlers more.  Plus, this makes me laugh.  Perhaps they know more about life than those of us who’ve been around the block a few times…

Ohana :: Inheritance

Process Creative

What do we inherit from generation to generation?  Of course there are the material items that we pass on, but what values and lessons do we pass on?

I love this film because it’s not just about the items that we pass on to one another, but how we pass on morals and advice to one anther through many modes of communication.  I also love it because it is beautifully filmed and I think the music brings it to another level of nostalgia.

What are we passing on to the next generation?