“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)

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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.

Back from the Land of the Long White Cloud

I’m back from a month of shooting in New Zealand.  If you’re looking for a place with every kind of setting that you could imagine, New Zealand just might be your next location.  Snow capped mountains and sun kissed beaches often collide, separated only by a slight moment of green grass and forests.  If the land pulls you to New Zealand, the people will be the reason you stay.  We were lucky enough to be greeted some of the best hospitality I’ve ever encountered in the world.  Rather than me writing about this incredible place and you reading, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.  Here’s a little taste of what’s to come.

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

Going Out

The weekend started Friday by working on the story structure for EOE until 3:30 am.  The next morning came much too early and was followed with more progress on EOE.  With all of this work, I have been neglecting from my leisure time and haven’t stopped to smell the roses.   Saturday night I decided to take a break from editing and I went out.  I didn’t “go out” in the way that you may think.  “Going out”, to many people means going to the bars.  “Going  out” to me means venturing out into the world to experience something great.  The traditional expectations of going out seem boring to me.  I don’t like limiting my experience based on what’s popular or easy to do.  Whether it’s a bar or simply walking down the street, going out is an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of each moment in a setting outside of your house.

I took a drive around town just to see what was happening, to see what I wanted to do while I was out.  Living life means opening your self up to the spontaneity that it may bring.  Saturday night it brought me to the University of Wyoming campus.  It was freezing, the wind was blowing, and I was completely exhausted from the last few months of editing and shooting.  That wasn’t what was on my mind though.  The moon was low in the sky, spilling perfectly balanced light onto the symbolic Bucking Horse bronze sculpture of Wyoming.  I found my experience for the night.  At first I just looked at the scene and then decided to take a few photos to share the experience with others.  Here are a few shots of “going out” this weekend.  For me, it was incredible.  It gave me a well-needed break and reminded me that simply opening your eyes to the everyday beauty of living can be the inspiration that can’t be found anywhere else.

Mark


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.