Earlier this summer I worked on a spot for United Way that explored the idea about what makes a community. When I first saw the script from the creative team at BBDO, I instantly knew that this was the kind of project I had been yearning for – one that would really let me capture a feeling of authenticity, a strong cinematic visual aesthetic, and all the while getting to venture out and explore the various parts of our city. It was a chance to channel the inner Malick & Lubezki that had been brewing inside.

The concept of the creative was to capture a diverse range of places and people that help build strong communities. We shot for six days from sunrise to sunset, meeting people of all different ages and ethnicities. Getting to explore areas that I hadn’t seen or heard of in the city I live in was a great experience. Making new friends was undeniably cool as well. You hear about certain films and directors who use local non-actors in certain projects, and there’s definitely something refreshing and unique about it. I’ll never forget the seniors’ yoga class that took place at Rexdale Community Hub. It was a class comprised of mostly South Asian men and women. The women wore traditional salwar kameez’s, and the men wore casual dress pants and shirts. It was no yuppie yoga class. But it was still energetic and full of life. Something that I don’t think I could’ve easily replicated in an artificial set.

From a technical standpoint, it helped that we had a lighter load of film equipment that allowed us to move quickly and not be so intimidating to the various people we filmed. We shot on the Red Scarlet along with a variety of lenses – Canon, Rokinon, Zeiss Super Speeds. We had the Scarlet rigged up quite mobile while still allowing us the necessities to capture quality film. It was also the first time we brought in an Easy Rig. While it may look a bit strange (sort of like a hangman stand), the Easy Rig is quite the incredible tool for this style of shoot. Not only did it provide comfort throughout the long days as it takes off a big portion of the weight off your arms and onto your core, but it also allowed me to film with nice balance of smoothness and camera shake without it being too jittery.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone who was involved and helped. To each individual of every community that put in their time and effort to help put together a beautiful tapestry of how a community is woven together through their daily efforts and enthusiasm. I also must thank my small but solid crew. Couldn’t of done this without the help at Kith & Kin, dedicated Line Producer Courtney Boyd, and top notch Camera Assistant (and, well, everything!) Jason Kraus. On the post side, also want to thank Upstate Post for quality editing, and Notch for a beautiful colour grade and transfer.

Overall, this was one of my favorite productions to work on. And a piece that I’m quite proud of. It’s always cool when a creative endeavour can help one grow in many different ways.

Check out the spot HERE.