Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Obscura Broadcasting Company (Interview)

 On Jan 5th, filmmakers Andrew Alden and Christopher Jarvis officially launched a new video production company called the Obscura Broadcasting Company (OBC). 

photo by Steven Wieckowski

Excited to see someone I've known primarily through participation and contributions to the local music scene (that being Jarvis with the band Ancient Language), I was eager to chat with both of them about how OBC got started and to hear about their future plans.

Alden is based in Detroit but is from New England; he's a music composer in his own right and is currently working as a freelance cinematographer. He studied film scoring and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. His work has been shown both nationally and internationally, on NBC, and in Nuit Blanche (in Toronto). He's also had his work shown by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Berklee College of Music, Greentopia Film Festival and many more, including more than a hundred other festivals and venues across the US, Canada, and Europe.

Jarvis, meanwhile, went to Specs Howard School of Media Arts to study Digital Media Arts. Both of them have been making films and videos for years. Jarvis has also worked on several short films, music videos, feature films, and documentaries, including “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” which premiered at SXSW in 2016 and went on to become a Vimeo Staff Pick. He's been seen and heard on this blog via projects like Ancient Language.

Every Sunday at 8pm, you can stream a new short film produced by OBC on Facebook. 

"(Alden and I) met when I was looking for a cinematographer to shoot a short film I wrote last year," Jarvis said. "A mutual friend of ours put us in touch and we really got along and worked really well together. There was an immediate shorthand between us that is really rare to come by. We kicked around the idea of starting a production company but after shooting the film I had to go back to Arizona. We kept talking over the next several months and I decided to move back so we could make it happen."

For now, the duo want to stay as productive as possible, with personal creative projects as well as client work. The goal is to eventually grow their business beyond just the two of them. Jarvis' brother, Zachary, his girlfriend Hillary Ilyssa and Teresa (Andrew's wife) work with them on most of their projects, along with a dedicated intern and a bunch of actor friends who put it in a lot of hard work to make each production come together.

"We always try to pull from a diverse actor pool through friends and colleges who put in a lot of hard work that make everything possible," Alden said. "We are fortunate that South Eastern Michigan harbors some really great talent and the goal is to keep making quality work, continue to get our name out there and grow our brand."

Currently, OBC is working on a bunch of short films, including a web series (written by Teresa and Andrew) a feature film, and two documentaries. They shot recently a bar tending contest for Tequila Herradura, while Andrew and Teresa have continued to make branded content for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. 

Alden took a second to look back almost a month to the OBC Kickoff Party. "...we have been feeling the afterglow all month!  I feel like we’ve been working so hard to get where we are. I’ve always dreamed of being a part of a dedicated team of creative people and I feel really grateful to have finally found that." Alden added: "You can’t make films or videos alone, it truly is a collaborative effort. I just feel really grateful and excited."

I was most curious to hear about what life is like as an independent filmmaker in the Internet era and Jarvis was very enthusiastic about it. "It’s a great time to explore new stories and subjects that don’t get much attention or recognition," he said. "I think people are opening their eyes to these new stories and are hungry for them. The gear and tools to make films has never been more accessible. Finding an audience is definitely a priority but the beautiful thing about working with a team is that our reach is so much further than just one or two people. We can already reach a lot of people with our content and we only expect that to grow." 

"By the end of the year we want to have an entirely new program of shorts and other videos and hopefully start getting some of our work onto the festival circuit," said Jarvis. 

To catch up on OBC's last couple short films, as well as see the efforts of their production team and actors, click here

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