“Energy! O Energy!” is off to the Film Festivals

Great news!  EOE is screening on June 17th in Palmerston North, New Zealand at the 2013 Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival.  Along side Energy! O Energy!, award winning films such as If a Tree Falls and Fall and Winter will also be screened.  Check out the rest of this year’s selections here.  It’s an honor to be included in such an incredible program.  Congratulations to all of the films selected. Reel Earth 2013_Official Selection (1)

2012 Reel

It’s been a great year.  We’ve been driving, flying, biking, walking, and just moving in general  Burning Torch Productions has been logging miles and footage all year.  Here’s a glimpse into the world of Mark Pedri.

From the desert to the runway

From the desert to the runway.  I tried to think of a witty quote to open with but this is all that came out.  Last week I traveled with Burning Torch Productions from the high altitudes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the debts of Canyonlands National Park in Utah and to the 2012 Runway Show in southwestern Wyoming.  Looking over the pictures, I’m realizing just how diverse the week really was.  When you put snow next to sunbaked desert soil, the snow feels colder than ever and the soil seems that much hotter.  When you wander through the most desolate wilderness in the lower 48 and then go to a fashion show, the solitude of the wilderness is the purest you’ve ever felt and the people of the fashion show are the most inspiring.  The power of film is in the tool of juxtaposition.  ImagePlacing diverse images side by side brings a sense of power that can’t be experienced any other way.   Capturing and compiling these images is my passion.  The diversity of everyday life is one of the only true beauties we can experience.  Everything else slowly fades and becomes average.

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I would characterize myself as an adventure filmmaker.  It has taken me to the far corners of the earth to capture some of the most obscure and intense moments.  Balancing “getting the shot” and my safety is more or less a common equation in my daily life.  One might ask, how could the excitement of this ever fade?  It doesn’t fade.  It just loses perspective.  Sometimes you have to juxtapose experiences in your own life rather than just watching them on the screen.  My method to bring back perspective into my daily life is by diversifying how I can experience my passion.  Shooting extreme sports isn’t my passion.  Shooting life is my passion.  This past weekend I shot a fashion show.  The excitement and energy surrounding the event was incredible.  Shooting high fashion and glamour has always been part of my excitement towards filmmaking, but juxtaposing it with shooting the loneliness of the desert or the risk of extreme sports makes it one of the most exciting things on earth. Here’s short clip to give you an idea of what it was like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWlLL2DJxic

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Long days and long nights make for short lives?

Have you ever heard this saying?  Probably not, because I think I just made it up. It’s been quite some time without any updates and although it feels like just a few days have passed, it’s been over 3 weeks!

So where I have I been? I’ve been locked in my house trying to edit a number of different films.  The first one you are familiar with, “Energy! O Energy!”  It has officially hit the 1-hour mark and is nearing the completion of a rough cut.  The second film is something brand new that I haven’t told anyone about until now!  I stumbled across this link about a week ago and knew that I had to make something.

http://www.wyomingshortfilmcontest.com/VideoContest/1198276/About

It is a short film competition hosted by my home state, Wyoming.  The requirements are that each film must be less than 15 minutes and feature Wyoming as a major character.  This is when “Western Wandering” was conceived.  “Western Wandering” is a story about discovering what truly defines the state of Wyoming.  It is within days of completion!  I’m just working on one of the last songs and it will be ready.  The competition officially starts on April 5th. Part of the judging is based on viewers’ ratings so make sure to check out some of the great films in the competition this year.  If you find that you like my film, please support me by voting!  This competition is a great way to encourage filmmaking in such an amazing state.  The winner will be awarded $25,000 to make another film in this beautiful state.  So if you like what you see, vote and just maybe, it will give that person the opportunity to make another amazing film for your viewing pleasure!Image

Governor Matt Mead

If the suspense of what Governor Matt Mead said in our interview the other day has been building for you, I am here to offer some relief for your anxious mind.  I entered this project without the slightest idea of where it would take me.  I have been from the middle of the desert in Wyoming to both coasts of the US to the Governor of Wyoming’s office.  The most recent addition to my adventure in search for the best type of energy led me to meeting with Governor Matt Mead in Cheyenne, WY.  Energy is a huge topic in Wyoming and if you live here, you know that it’s everywhere!  Is that a good or bad thing?  You tell me. 

For my visit with Governor Mead, I was primarily interested in how energy and politics interact.  Everyone has stereotypes of politicians.  Whether it’s simply not liking them, or feeling like they just talk without ever saying anything, people have their opinions.  My goal for the interview was to free myself from all of the stereotypes that I have ever heard about politicians, political ideologies, and government in general.  I wanted to have a conversation without expectations, and let the situation speak for itself.  In doing this, I was rewarded with a very straightforward and fascinating conversation about energy with the Governor of the number 1 energy exporting state in the nation, Wyoming. 

Governor Mead was very personable and addressed each of my questions with concern and accountability.  If you think that politicians can only waltz around a question without actually answering it, then you’re in for a treat when you see Energy! O Energy!  My goal for the film, since day one, has been to be as direct and objective as possible.  You’re probably saying, “well, why in the world did you bring politics into it then?”  I can only tell you so much but in short, sometimes political issues aren’t really political at the heart.  We’ve made them political in the way that we’ve handled them.

Overall my visit with the Governor went very well.  We had an intelligent conversation about energy and that was my goal.  I can assure you that people from the entire political spectrum will be in the film and I hope that we can see past the political stereotypes to see what’s important, the situation at hand.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not campaigning or promoting anyone with this project.  I’m just not leaving anything out.  What’s worse, a lie or only half of the truth?  I’m avoiding both.  As Marty stated previously, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, that’s not the issue.  If political stereotypes interfere with how you make decisions and think, then that is the issue. 

 

“Rather than being driven by politics, lets be driven by the best idea available.”

                        Matt Mead

 

What is the best idea available?  What is the best type of energy? 

 

Energy and Politics

If you’re anything like me, all those lovely pictures of a snowy Park City in that last post distracted you. Winter in the West can be rough, and it can definitely cause some chaos around town… especially a ski town hosting one of the largest independent film festivals and celebrating the first good dump in FOREVER. But, for those of you that made it past the slideshow and read those last few sentences, you know that Mark had an interview with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. So lets pick up where Mark left off, on the issue of politics. Well, politics and energy.

The day I’m writing this is not only the day Mark had the interview, but it also happens to be the day of the State of the Union Address. If you watched it, you will have noticed that about 15 minutes were devoted to the discussion of the future of our nation’s energy. I guess this whole energy thing is a pretty big deal…  According to our President, it’s one of the 5 biggest issues facing the United States right now. But let’s put the ultimate future of America and the human race aside for a second and ask a more simple question: How political do you think the issue of energy is? Are there sides? Do your political opinions influence the type of energy production you support? In an earlier post Mark replied to the criticism that he was “green” or an environmentalist (re: liberal) because he rides his bike. After getting to know Mark, you would soon realize that he rides because he loves it and couldn’t care less about what political stereotype is attached to pedaling a bicycle.  It’s funny how political lines can get drawn anywhere, even the type of transportation you choose. (For the record, I know lots of liberals that drive big honkin’ trucks for one reason or another; I also know a staunch Republican that drives a hybrid.) So, are solar panels Democratic? Is natural gas Republican?

Mark has approached this movie with what I consider to be a devout stance of neutrality. But that brings me back to my point; his neutrality towards favoring one type of energy resource has by default required him to detach himself from the political spectrum. I for one am extremely interested to hear what Governor Mead (R) has to say about energy in Wyoming. Maybe Mark can chime in here and talk about his interview… or maybe you’ll just have to wait and see it in the film.

Marty

What’s in a story?

I have been hitting the editing pretty hard these last few weeks, maybe a little harder than I should.  Between the stack of hard drives to my left and the server to my right, I would say that if megabytes were Big Macs, I could feed the entire country for a year.  The amount of footage is irrelevant though.  The story that is emerging is what’s important.

On these long days that consistently drift into even longer nights of editing, I’ve found myself pondering the idea of a story.  What is it about a story that makes us so attracted to it?  There are so many exciting things happening every second of our lives, but every now and then, we choose to tune it all out and tune into a story.  Whether it’s a book, a film, or someone telling it to us, a story has the power to show an aspect of life that often goes unnoticed.  A story conveys truth.
At the root of every story is truth; the truth of human experience, the truth of emotion, the truth of life.  This is what brings us back, time and time again.  Life can be overwhelming, and as a result, one can become numb to the everyday experience.  Stories are where we run to replenish our soul of human experience.   This is what makes the “story” one of the greatest tools ever utilized by humans.  Even something as powerful as fire or electricity can’t reach the level that a story can.  Fire, electricity, and steel are all tools of a physical world.  A story is a tool of the mind.  As powerful as these energy producing machines that I have been studying are, they can’t do what a story does.

So as I sit here in front of the video footage of the last six months of my life, I am wondering what my story will be.   A director has a unique responsibility.  It’s the responsibility of creating a story for the world to experience, creating something for people to believe in.  It’s the responsibility of creating truth.