So Long 2016


This year has been one of the most challenging I’ve had in a long time.  What is it about this year?  Almost everyone I talk to is happy to see the back of 2016 and are ready for a fresh start. I’m not sure about others but I know that for me it’s been an emotional rollercoaster and although it’s been a good ride I’m ready for things to calm down a bit.

Forget world events, natural disasters etc.  I’ve had one of those years where I’ve had work some months and then nothing, not at all unusual in the film business, but the intensity was what got me.  When I had work, I usually had several contracts all at once so I was working 20 hours a day for weeks on end and then nothing. Exhausting.  And then there were all the projects that we thought were going to happen and they fell through at the very last minute.

I make this year sounds like it was pure agony, but actually this year has been a really good one in many respects.

  1. I had more work than ever and several projects that I’ve been working on for three years or more now have finally made their way into the world. i.e. The Human Face of Big Data, CRAZYWISE and The Click Effect.  I even managed to fit in a few shorter films that I directed myself for PLU’s MediaLab and the PSESD.
  2. I’ve had more design projects than I’ve ever expected, especially considering I’m not a graphic designer.  Film proposals, websites (, film promotional pieces (posters, invitations, infographics) and more in the works.
  3. I have a beautiful new niece that I can’t wait to see grow up – but not too quickly please!
  4. And the biggest drain on my emotions – I’ve decided to finally move to California (sometime in the Spring after several postponements) and fulfill my lifelong dream to become a surfer… well in actual fact it’s to find more consistent work and take on a new adventure.  The surfing will be a perk if I can ever stand up for more than 0.5 seconds.  Right now I’m really talented at sitting on my board.

And on that more upbeat note, I’m preparing to venture off to meet my family for the holidays.  It’s my favorite time of year because for a week or two, we are all together which is rare for us.  I guess we can’t expect much else when we all live in separate states and/or countries.

As I sign off for the rest of this year, I leave you with this wonderful little piece that makes me smile even if it does seem a little scary in places.  The world really is a big scary place but I can only hope that this next year brings more peace and joy than we’ve witnessed in the last 12 months.

Karni and Saul

Until next year…

Talking with Whales

Have you seen “Finding Dori” yet?  If you haven’t, you’re missing out.  Yes, most of it is pretty fantastical and completely unrealistic but who said entertainment had to be resemble actuality?  After all, it’s a story about talking fish.

Even if you haven’t seen “Finding Dori” (or “Finding Nemo” *Gasp!*) you’ve probably heard someone try to speak whale just like Dori.  In Pixar’s world, speaking whale is something like “Weeeeeelllllcooooommmme tooooo theeee oooooccceeeaaaan!”  I’m sad to say that it’s not nearly as lyrical as we’d like to imagine but instead is more like a series of clicks.  You know, kind of like morse code.

No, I haven’t been taking whale lessons but in the last year I’ve learned a lot about whales (and virtual reality) for a relatively new project – “The Click Effect“.  I won’t try to explain the science or even how it whales communicate as I’m certainly not not a marine biologist but this little film explains it beautifully.

The Click Effect Poster

Here Be Dragons

Back in December, we embarked on the journey of creating a new virtual reality (VR) film about how marine researchers use freediving to research how whales communicate.  Besides the fact that I got to be a part of this project, the whole introduction to VR is quite amazing.

Unfortunately, VR is something that requires a separate headset (you can buy inexpensive versions from Google or you can go for the gusto and buy a high end headset from Samsung or Valve) but if you have the chance to experience it at the many new venues that this technology is popping up, I would highly recommend the experience.  It’s impossible to explain how cool it is without experiencing it first hand. To get some sort of an idea, check out this film that I shared a few months ago.

Of course, there are other ways to see “The Click Effect” if you’re interested.  Either visit Here Be Dragons or NYTVR and it will show you how to watch the film without a headset.

Now that this project is done and out in the world – it was at Sundance International Film Festival in January and released online in March, we’re on to other projects.  Many, are underwater and will premiere in a VR format but that’s all I can tell you for now.

Until next time, just keep swimming!

Snow Banks and Wet Noses

I really have no excuse for my lack of posting since the beginning of October other than I’ve been busy and this blog took a back seat to everything else.  I’m relieved to see that several of my other favorite blogs have also been slowing down on their posting frequency and it makes me feel a little less guilty… well, sort of.

As per usual, I’m not ready to share what I’ve been working on but will (hopefully) in the near future.  It’s not entirely my fault that I’m not sharing my work at the moment – a lot of it has to do with timing with PR etc. and/or the projects aren’t ready to reveal so I’m afraid you’ll have to have a little more patience if you are dying to see what’s new.

As I’ve completely missed the holiday season, I’m going to jump ahead to one of my favorite things about winter.  Skiing.  If I were a dog, I would hope that I could have a job like this:


If I’m ever in an avalanche or an incident that results in me buried in snow, I hope I’m rescued by one of these puppies.  Heaven forbid I’m ever in that kind of situation.  I’m just saying…

I love the use of slow motion in this little diddy.  What better way to glorify these little superheroes?  It works for humans so why not dogs, right?  Also, the camera motion with the action shots works really well here and for once I’m posting about professional skiers and their stunt reels.  I’m so glad someone has finally made a video about skiing other than a stunt reel!

I haven’t made it up to the mountains since the snow starting piling up but I’m excited to get a few trips up as long as the snow holds out this season.

I know I won’t be posting again in the next few days so I will say it now.  Happy New Year!  See you in 2016.

Cloud Formations

We’ve had a very odd summer here in the PNW.  For many parts of the world it’s not unusual to have high temperatures and no to little rain for months on end.  We however, are not used to it here.  Today, it’s finally raining and although it’s back to being grey (for one day only), it’s kind of a relief.

A normal summer would include frequent cloud cover, temperatures in the mid-70s and days of either brilliant sunshine or light drizzle.  So far 2015 has has blue skies and little wispy clouds that chase each other across the sky.  We don’t tend to get sightings like this:


I’ve only seen clouds like this in the Mid-West when I was in my late teens and while driving through the Southwest when I was 12.  It’s videos like this that prove just how powerful and beautiful nature an be.  It’s simply mesmerizing!

The patience that it takes to film scenes like this always astonish me.  This is why I didn’t go into nature documentaries – I’m not patient enough to wait for things to happen.  I sure am thankful to those who do have the stamina and patience to record things like this though.

Time Speeding By…

Growing up, I was warned that time would speed up as I got older.  Now that I’ve been out of school for a while and making my way in the world this warning is all too true.  I wish it weren’t the case.  For instance, it’s already the end of June and I have no set plans for the July 4th holiday – mostly because I thought I still had plenty of time to figure out my weekend.  I can’t quite figure out how it snuck up on me so stealthily.

Thinking about this the other day made me think back to my days when I was able to travel frequently for pleasure and the days seemed to stretch on forever.  You might say that the long days had something to do with me sitting on a bus for 19 hours to get to my next destination but I don’t think that was the only thing.

Then I came across this little beauty:

Kenny Laubbacher

Could Jed’s theory be exactly the reason for the time warp that I’m sure I’m stuck in?!

The Breach is on Tour!

I’m beyond excited to announce that The Breach is officially on tour!  Now I know that I’ve posted dates already, but here is the full list, as well as links to tickets etc.  And in case you need a small reminder of what The Breach is, here’s the trailer:

New York, NY – 04.25 6pm – The Rubin Museum of Art – GET TICKETS  Panel to Include: Chef Tom Douglas!  All the way from Seattle…

Boston, MA – 04.26 – 2pm–  Theatre 1- GET TICKETS

Washington D.C. – 04.28 – 7pm – Goethe-Institut – GET TICKETS

Raleigh, NC –04.29 6pm  The Rialto Theatre – GET TICKETS

Miami, FL – 04.30 – 630pm –  O Cinema – GET TICKETS

Chicago, IL – 05.03  12:30 pm – Gene Siskel Film Center – GET TICKETS

Minneapolis, MN – 05.06 7pm  Showplace Icon Theatre — GET TICKETS

Denver, CO – 05.07 630pm  Landmark Mayan Theatre -— GET TICKETS

Boulder, CO – 05.08 – E Town Hall – GET TICKETS

San Francisco CA – 05.12  530pm – The Bay Aquarium – GET TICKETS

Berkeley – 5.13 630pm – Brower Center/Goldman Theater – GET TICKETS

Seattle – 05.15 630pm  – Seattle Art Museum (SAM)  – GET TICKETS

Portland – 05.18 6pm – McMenamin’s Kennedy School – GET TICKETS

Salt Lake City – ****Special Additional Screening**** 05.19 – Utah Film Center Tickets forthcoming from Utah Film Center

Santa Monica, CA –05.20 7pm – Cross Campus – GET TICKETS

Escapade :: Frame by Frame

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film about the Middle East.  That’s mostly because I’ve been shying away from them as I get tired of hearing about the wars that have been fought there and the depravity that the people live in etc. etc, but this film trailer caught my eye and I was immediately drawn in by the story.

I wouldn’t say that the U.S. has a completely free press – at least not like they do in Europe where everything is fair game until it breaches privacy laws, but it’s a far freer press than other parts of the world where the government controls everything. Completely everything. You don’t appreciate what you have until you see what it could be like or worse, you experience it first hand.

Red Reel

This film is beautifully shot and it has a powerful message: if you don’t have a visual presence on the web or in the news, then you are left behind.  As someone who has always lived in countries with a “free voice,” it’s hard to imagine living somewhere where you could be killed for documenting something on a camera.  We have become so accustomed to taking photos with our phones and other various devices to share our experience with everyone that we know.  What would it be like to not be able to document what is going on in your life? And, what would it be like to live in a place where once a group of people have left, you have the potential to be forgotten by others?

Escapade :: What is Adventure?

When I was little, I would ask my dad to take me on adventures.  He would always return my request with “what kind of adventure?” and I never quite knew how to verbalize it.  I knew that scaling a mountain or hand to hand combat with pirates was probably not an option for a quiet Saturday afternoon.  But I always had this image of what adventure was.  It was probably due to me watching too many Pippi Longstocking movies as a kid.

That image of “adventure” has never really been realized, even when I’ve been in exotic countries, climbing mountains, sailing the oceans or zip lining through rain forests.  These have been fantastic adventures and I would never trade them for anything but I’ve never gotten that thrill that I was looking for.  I guess I did when I was in a rafting accident in Ecuador but I really don’t want to repeat that again.  So I suppose I just need to appreciate the experiences more as I go through them and not expect something out of the ordinary to happen because I’m probably already doing something extraordinary.  At least for myself.

So while I’m thinking about adventure this month and I STILL can’t really define what that means to me, I came across this video that lends perfectly to my quest:

Kalum Ko

The lighting is beautiful and the images crisp, all while showing off how beautiful the Pacific Northwest is.  Lovely.  Plus, it features my new obsession with stand up paddle boarding, which I have yet to try, skiing and a few other outdoor sports that I love.  So content wise, there really isn’t anything to dislike.  But even more appealing is it’s challenge to the viewer to embrace life and adventure- whatever that definition might be.

So now that I’m all enthused, I’m off for the weekend to try to find some sort of new experience that I can define as an adventure.  Preferably without pirates commandeering my ship and probably without the need of an ice axe, but you never know…

Getting out of the house

I’ve been working a lot lately, or at least I feel like I’ve been working a lot.  It’s been a lot of sitting and staring at my computer screen and frankly, I’m sick of it.  I didn’t get outside nearly as much as I would have liked to this summer, but c’est la vie.  Fall is here and it’s time to start thinking about the end of the year.  Already!

I’m actually looking forward to Fall even if the weather is colder and the days shorter.  I know that seems contradictory to the fact that I’m sick of sitting inside, but I’m also hoping that it means that I will take more advantage of the daylight hours and get out more instead of sitting at my desk with the mentality that “there’s still plenty of daylight left,” when actually I should have been outside all along.  When you have less time to devote out of doors (or to other things), it changes your perspective on things, don’t you think?

So for October, I’m dedicating the month to celebrating adventure, to doing something new and out of the ordinary (for myself).  I’m hoping to feel that spark of life again, because if I’m completely honest, I don’t feel like I have much of a life when I’m staring at a screen for several hours of the day.  It makes me feel rather like a zombie.  And this is why I’m sharing this video with you:

Albin Holmqvist


Education First (EP) teaches languages and therefore, opens the door to exploring new places. So take a gander and go do something new, even with the shorter days.  The end of the year is rapidly approaching and wouldn’t it be a shame to realize that all you had done is worked all year?