Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts

Aug 23, 2021

About the Medalta Documentary

I have social media to thank for reminding me that two years ago this week I completed "that Medalta documentary" called Clay, Creativity & the Comeback. Late 2019 only feels like 5 years ago given the weird time loop we've all been in, but as I'm currently in the middle of finalizing several new contracts it's exciting to look back at a project that by all accounts was a success.

As a quick recap, this doc tells the story of the industrial ruins and abandoned factories of a once booming clay industry in a small prairie city and how a group of volunteers helped to transform the area into a National Historic Site of Canada through efforts that spanned decades.

Medalta Documentary Editing Luke
I think more people have found this documentary in the last year as a result of having more time, but I also attribute it to more house cleaning and organizing. No joke, the number of messages I've received about this documentary because someone found a random piece of pottery that lead to them discovering this film is amazing.

While I really don't have more to say about this project that I haven't already said in previous posts, I'm always happy to recount what a great experience it was and have a reason to share it again. Given the incredible amount of work that went into this and all of the efforts from so many amazing individuals, I will gladly keep promoting it. 

The entire documentary is free to view online here   

Aug 8, 2021

A Look Back at "the School Project" Documentary

For much of this summer I've been in the process of writing proposals and exploring options as we head into the fall. This isn't out of the ordinary, but with a lot more time on my hands over the last year I found myself revisiting past projects and trying to contextualize them. In short, I was re-exploring what I've already done, what's worked, and what I'd like to do next. 

This is how I found myself re-watching hours of unused footage from "The School Project" again, a documentary I completed in 2017 that was never formally released in full. That's actually another story entirely, which if you care to dive into and watch some clips you can here

School Documentary Editing Luke

What's been amazing about exploring this old project (among several others) has been finding so many fragments of ideas that were never fully developed. "The School Project" was an incredibly ambitious documentary about finding the culture of a brand new Canadian school by filming the daily life inside of it over the course of an entire year. 

In some ways this fall feels like starting over again, which is perhaps why it's been so liberating to re-explore highlights amidst projects that I remember taking on and thinking, "where do we even start with this?". Finished work aside, diving into the ideas that inspired past projects to begin with has been a valuable creative exercise to get the gears turning again. Especially with a project this size, it reminded me how much of it was about just being present. 

Thinking all this, I then found the teaser (see above) that I'd made just after principal shooting on this documentary had wrapped. It felt poignant. This work in progress really is never ending - that, and I'm still just a big kid continuously trying to find new ways to entertain myself lol.

School Project Documentary

Sep 18, 2020

Clay Documentary Continues To Find New Eyes

One year ago today the documentary I directed Clay, Creativity & the Comeback premiered inside one of the historic factories showcased in the film (Medalta Potteries) and was then released to the public. Resulting in some amazing connections over the last twelve months, the project has now reached hundreds of thousands of people on various platforms across Canada. 

Editing Luke Fandrich Documentary
Clay, Creativity & the Comeback is the story of how the factories and abandoned ruins of a once booming industrial clay district were saved from demolition and renewed through the work of artists, volunteers, and a community with a vision. 

Shot in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta this was a story that I felt echoed one of the challenges that communities across Canada are continually facing. How do you preserve heritage while also adapting historic sites for renewed purposes? What does that even look like? And who are the people that make these visions a reality?

Clay, Creativity & the Comeback is a documentary that captures the first hand stories of many of the individuals directly involved in this decades long transformation - a transformation that lead a collection of crumbling structures to not just be saved or restored, but to become a National Historic Site of Canada that would welcome artists from around the world.

The entire feature length documentary is FREE to watch and has been posted on Editing Luke. View Clay, Creativity & the Comeback here.  

Sep 19, 2019

Documentary Premiere at Medalta Potteries

Last night was a surreal experience. Thank you to everyone who came out to see the premiere of my documentary Clay, Creativity & the Comeback at Medalta. We seriously underestimated just how many people would show up - which was a great problem to have.

Editing Luke Documentary
To be in this old factory, surrounded by many of the people who stepped up to save it, while watching a film I'd worked on for months inside what is now a National Historic Site of Canada - it was an experience I won't soon forget.

I've been truly humbled by the reactions and messages regarding the documentary and am so grateful to everyone who made it possible. Thank you for the incredible night!

Clay, Creativity & the Comeback will be released on the Editing Luke website tomorrow, September 20 for those who missed it.

Sep 16, 2019

Documentary in the Medicine Hat News

My latest documentary - Clay, Creativity & the Comeback received some attention in the Medicine Hat News today in anticipation of the debut screening taking place at Medalta Potteries this week. The documentary explores the efforts that were made to save the buildings of Medicine Hat's clay district from demolition (including Medalta) beginning in the 1970s - a journey that lead the site to becoming a National Historic Site of Canada.

Editing Luke Documentary

See the full article on the Medicine Hat News website here.

The debut screening of Clay, Creativity & the Comeback takes place Wednesday, September 18 at 6pm at Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, Alberta. All are welcome. Admission is free.

Jul 15, 2019

Documentary in Post Production

Updates have been sparse recently as my latest documentary project entered post production at the beginning of July. Hours and hours of interviews, stacks of archival material, and all of the other bits and pieces surrounding a project like this become a bit consuming. 

All that said, I'm really excited to see this project coming together. This is going to be an interesting story to share about the historic clay district in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. It's a story that I was personally interested in, one that I hadn't seen told before, and certainly one that you won't find at the Medalta museum. 

You'll have to excuse the lack of new photo sets in the meantime - although there are lots of those still in the works too. This new documentary is set to be completed by the end of August.  

Documentary Medicine Hat Alberta

Jun 12, 2019

Filming in Vancouver, British Columbia

Over the weekend I made my way to Vancouver, BC to film another interview for my upcoming documentary. In addition to uncovering a few treasures and getting some more details on camera, the quick trip also allowed me to squeeze in a bit of travel shooting (as always).

Vancouver Travel PhotographyHaving explored Vancouver several times over, the trip was mostly a comfortable refresh. The real highlight of my time in BC was in flipping through vintage albums and sharing stories over coffee. The interview was a success and I think it'll help play up the novelty of the project. Of course, more on that to come as the documentary moves into editing next month. 

I also played around in a Jaguar while in British Columbia - because, why not make a few more memories? As always, I shared a few sneak peeks on the @editingluke Instagram. Be sure to follow for updates on the documentary and to see when these new photo sets go live.
  
Vancouver Jaguar

May 17, 2019

Production Underway On New Documentary

With principal photography kicking off just few weeks ago, things have been a blur as this latest Editing Luke project gets up to speed. It was only one month ago that I revealed the documentary had been greenlit, but since then there hasn't been a day without planning, shooting, interviewing, upgrading, and more planning in the mix - as you'd expect. I've been having a lot of fun so far and have already captured some amazing material.

Editing Luke DocumentaryWhat's the documentary about, you ask? Well, it's still a little early to reveal the narrative, but those of you who follow @editingluke on Instagram will have noticed quite a few clues as I've been filming around the Historic Clay District in Medicine Hat, Alberta. And no, it's not a history lesson on when pottery was booming in the Hat - not exactly anyway.

Production will continue through to the end of June with the project scheduled to be delivered / released later this summer. Obviously I'll have a lot more to share as all of this unfolds - like the picture above which was shot in the old Medalta factory while preparing for the very first interview of the documentary or meeting with this local legend. More to come here

Mar 1, 2019

A Production Company Grows Up!

Editing Luke officially became a full fledged production company at the end of February 2014 - and like many entrepreneurs before me, that leap from casual side-hustle to a full-time business of my own felt like a monumental leap. Now, here we are 5 years later!

Editing Luke


While it would be a lie to say that the last 5 years haven't been without their challenges and growing pains, looking back I can't help but feel proud about what's been accomplished in that time. From travel shoots to documentaries to art commissions, Editing Luke has come a long way from a simple website I launched in my film school dorm room in 2007 to a company that now reaches millions of people around the world through various multimedia projects each year.

Even saying that out loud to myself still sounds pretty wild.

Editing Luke

From the beginning I always believed that the key to growing this idea was in holding myself accountable to the things I said I wanted to achieve. This has meant continually experimenting, stepping outside of my comfort zone, pushing myself creatively, and challenging myself to surpass my previous milestones. I won't pretend that any of that has been easy or has always worked, but consistent effort has certainly opened a lot of doors. 

In many ways the success of Editing Luke is a result of simply defining the types of content I wanted my company to be known for and then always pushing for new opportunities within that arena. For example, Editing Luke is a photography & video production company, but it's never been a portrait studio or a wedding video business - instead, the focus has always been about producing narrative, experiential, or lifestyle content, often with a promotional component. 



This simple distinction really helped to define the kind of work that Editing Luke became recognized for - and 5 years in that's truer than ever. Back in 2014 it was a gamble to intentionally restrict production jobs within an already competitive market when there were no guarantees. As is often the case though, big risks can lead to big rewards. It worked. 

That's not to say the work is done. Every year presents new challenges.

Editing Luke owes a lot to the daily audience, clients, collaborators, and businesses that ultimately helped this company to thrive. Thank you to all of you who have continued to support, share, and engage with the projects we've released over the years. It really wouldn't have been possible to keep this dream alive without you. Genuinely, thank you!

Editing Luke
And finally, what anniversary would be complete without sharing a few highlights? Here are some of the things that Editing Luke achieved in the last 5 years:

  • Over 1000 photo essays have been shot and shared on this website alone. 
  • I launched new travel photography collections including the Middle America series, Roadside California series, Around Alberta series, Hey, Canada series, and massively expanded on the Pacific Northwest series and Around the Hat series.
  • Production work expanded from simple promotional videos in 2014 to larger scale documentaries, cultural showcases, and travel campaigns - including new Editing Luke specific projects (like On 2nd) that received independent backing. 
  • I was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.
  • I began shooting professional concert photography which lead to capturing artists like the Tragically Hip and gaining media access to music festivals like Shambhala.  
  • Commissions for Editing Luke photography increased dramatically - an achievement that became especially noticeable in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. 
  • Thanks to a growing online audience, social media shares, and consistent networking, in 2018 the impressions of Editing Luke content on this website surpassed 50 million.
  • What else ... these projects lol.
  • And perhaps what I'm most proud of - in 2014 my production company felt limited to projects only in Alberta, but it's since expanded to include collaborations with clients all over North America - from national brands to local tourism boards. Honestly, the potential has never been greater. 
  • Here's to continued adventures and the next 5!


May 3, 2018

How a Schoolwide Documentary Changed Everything

I understand that it's no small statement to say that one project 'changed everything', but in my personal experience, that's exactly what happened when I agreed to take on what inadvertently became the longest shoot of my career (thus far anyway). For over a year, from December 2015 to December 2016, I captured months worth of footage while filming an open-ended documentary inside a newly built Canadian school. Here's the story in a nutshell. 

School Documentary Medicine Hat Alberta


It all started in the summer of 2015 when I took a meeting at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. We sat down to discuss the idea of collaborating on an original project that would utilize video and photography in some capacity. The concept was loose, but essentially the goal was to document learning, collaboration, and to showcase the emerging culture of a brand new school. The funds had been made available through a private donor to do something just like this, however it was clear from the start that we would all be embarking on a big experiment.

Schoolwide Documentary: Clip #1


What none of us really knew at the time was how a project like this would evolve. While it was clear it would take months to create, I don't think any of us imagined how big it would become or that it would end up stretching over several years. I had a lot of other projects in the works at this time as well, but I still found myself in the school almost weekly throughout 2016 to shoot another classroom, interview, discussion, etc. 

We truly embraced the unknown in those early months of filming. As things progressed a narrative began to emerge about the importance of collaboration, how education had evolved in recent years, and what learning looked like inside a modern Canadian school. 

After filming wrapped at the end of 2016, editing began and continued into the spring. In early June 2017 a rough cut of the documentary was completed, screened, and received with overwhelming positivity and excitement. I'm glossing over what a daunting task editing a project with terabytes / weeks worth of raw footage actually was, but let's just say it was an experience. It seemed we were only a few final tweaks away from having the project go live and released to the public at large. Then we hit a roadblock.

School Documentary Editing Luke
The thing about working on a project with a timeline as long as this one was that there had been some major shifts between when we began shooting to when we finished. Pressures outside of the school, internal politics, the school district - I would love to tell you exactly what happened, but frankly, I still don't fully understand it myself. All I know is that the barriers that kept the documentary from a public release had nothing to do with anyone involved in our project.

Schoolwide Documentary: Clip #2


As frustrating as that setback was, too much had gone into all of this to simply give up. After months of back and forth we finally got the green light to share some of the collaborative clips that had been filmed around the school.

It bears repeating, this project would have never happened in the first place had it not been for the incredible involvement of the teachers, students, and staff at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre who wholeheartedly embraced this wild experiment from the get-go. From class projects to impromptu interviews to candid scenes playing out all over the school, there was no shortage of enthusiasm (particularly with the grade school kids) when the camera came out.

On top of that, to be invited into classrooms, to participate in class projects, and to share some of my own passion for multimedia was a real bonus throughout this entire journey. I owe a lot to the lead team, teachers, and staff who helped to facilitate these experiences and link a lot of the moving pieces together. These few clips just scratch the surface of how much was actually happening. You have to realize, by the very nature of the project, this schoolwide documentary had a cast of hundreds.  

Schoolwide Documentary: Clip #3


While the narrative element of this documentary has been archived, I'm proud to at least be able to share some of the collaboration that really defined what this experience was all about. When I took this on I never could've imagined what a profound impact making this documentary would have on my own creativity, shooting style, and outlook. Whatever small impact I may have had by simply being in the school, I was rewarded tenfold by the humour, ingenuity, and the willingness to share I experienced from the students of WLC week after week. 

There's poetry in the fact that shooting a schoolwide documentary (that was never officially released) ended up becoming an elaborate life lesson. We all grew a bit in the process. We embraced an ambitious challenge and a rare opportunity to do something big. We turned a lot of everyday moments into art. And when it counted, there was no shortage of inspiration, ideas, or creativity to go around. Maybe it was all just a glorified work in progress, but in my humble opinion, that's how a schoolwide documentary changed everything.
   
     

Mar 8, 2018

On 2nd Teaser

The story of a main street, its evolution, and some of the people behind its recent revival is a compelling subject to explore. I set out to do just that with On 2nd, a brand new documentary short about the first block of 2nd Street in downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta. The project is set to release later this year on Editing Luke.

On 2nd Documentary Medicine Hat Alberta Editing Luke


Featuring a handful of local business owners, On 2nd focuses on some of the strides that have been made in the last 5 (or so) years that have seen the street transform dramatically. Challenges certainly remain, but some of the achievements that have been made on this block may surprise you. Shooting for On 2nd is still underway, however the teaser can now be viewed above.
 
On 2nd Street Documentary Medicine Hat
On 2nd Street Documentary Medicine Hat Alberta

Sep 30, 2017

2nd Street Documentary Production Underway

Getting an original Editing Luke documentary project, such as this one, collaboratively funded and moving forward is an achievement in itself. Discussions began earlier this year about an idea I had for creating a short-form documentary about the rapid evolution that's taken place on 2nd Street in downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta over the last few years.

Medicine Hat Video Documentary



From renovations, street upgrades, new businesses, and the growth and popularity of my Medicine Hat photo series - I've been surprisingly close to a lot of the change on 2nd Street over the last 5 years without fully recognizing my connection. That was until this year at least. 

While a lot of the plans and ideas for this project have been roughly laid out for months, the last few weeks have been especially exciting. With the budget finally secured, partners on-board, questions prepared, and interviews scheduled, production on the documentary is now officially underway. Naturally, that means there will be a lot more to share very soon.

Medicine Hat Video DocumentaryI'm keeping a lot of the production details quiet for the time being, but if you're an individual with a close connection to this street or a business that would like to become a last-minute sponsor / partner get in touch with me here and let's chat. 

It's always difficult to make predictions at this stage, but if the numerous photo essays I've shared are any indication it seems likely that this project will also reach thousands and thousands of interested viewers. A documentary like this is unique for a community like ours, and it wouldn't be possible without local support. Given the interest already shown, I know this is going to be something special.

Dec 19, 2016

Have You Heard About the School Documentary?

For over a year now I've been shooting a schoolwide documentary project with the students, teachers, and staff of Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Whether you've been following any of my 'documentary updates' on social media over the last year, whether you're being reintroduced to the project, or whether this is the very first time you're hearing about it at all - welcome. This is a great time for an update! 

editing luke video photography

This week marks the end of principal photography at the school, which means that after months and months of on-location filming, this massive documentary project is finally going to start being assembled. In this post I'll do my best to explain some of what this project is, what we've accomplished so far, and where we hope to go from here.    

So, what IS this documentary about?

On the surface it's a documentary about a modern school, their culture, and their approach to project based learning. More specifically, it's about students. It's about their work, how they collaborate, what they like and dislike, and how they value their education - much of it expressed through their own words. From a purely observational standpoint, it's an exploration of what learning looks like. 

Why was it filmed for over a year?

What makes this project so exciting is the scope under which it was shot. To document project based learning over an entire year allowed details to be revealed that otherwise would've been missed. It gave me the chance to see numerous projects, classrooms, students, etc. that are going to give this project a depth that would not have been possible otherwise.

From an archival perspective this is also a pretty unique project in that it's a detailed record of a modern Canadian school in 2016. That should make this even more interesting as it ages.  

editing luke medicine hat documentary video

What is this going to look like?

Either a series of short episodes or a longer documentary are all on the tablea the moment. The outlines are still very rough at this point, but I think episodes will allow me to utilize more of the material. 

You can expect to see students working on a variety of projects, candid moments around the school, interviews with students and teachers, community classrooms, collaboration in action, classroom activities, etc. etc.

Was this project your idea?

Actually, no - not in the beginning anyway. The school reached out to me. I was contacted in the summer of 2015 and asked about collaborating on a schoolwide project utilizing video and photography. The definition of the project evolved several times early on, but as things really kicked off in January 2016 it became clear that I was shooting a documentary. 

The school (WLC) was actively involved in facilitating shooting and keeping me in the loop, however this was about embracing the documentary approach. The school did not mandate what the message was, what I had to film, or what it should look like. I made those calls as the project unfolded based on what I observed. I went in with an open mind and over the course of 2016 simply filmed teachers and students in action. It's been a big experiment in many ways, but also a great opportunity to document learning in a way that most people don't get to see.

documentary directing
How has this project been funded?

None of this would have been possible without the donation from a private benefactor who made the contribution to Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre for something like this to be created. This happened before I was brought on board. 

Production thus far has been funded from this donation, however there are still hurdles to overcome. As with any big project, especially on a tight budget, there are a lot of variables and challenges. Funding to fully complete the post-production side of this documentary is still not a sure thing. We're optimistic, on schedule, and moving ahead as planned, but there is portion of this story that is currently to be continued. We're working on it.

Editing Luke
When will we get to see it?

Sometime in 2017? Editing will start in January. Depending on how that goes we hope to eventually have a public screening, most likely release it online, and then like I've done with past projects, hopefully submit and promote it through a film festival or two. Frankly, there's still quite a few steps before we get to that point though. 


So, that's where we're at right now. 

I have a ton of work ahead of me but I'm so excited for what's to come. This has honestly been one of the most incredible projects that I've ever had the opportunity to be a part of, and certainly one of the most ambitious that I've tackled since film school. I hope you all continue to show your support as this unfolds. More updates are sure to follow in the weeks ahead!   

Jun 29, 2016

Progress on the Schoolwide Documentary

For the last 6 months I've been shooting a documentary and capturing countless hours worth of raw material at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. At the beginning of the year I expressed my initial thoughts towards the ambitious project that we were all embarking on together. Now, on the last day of school, it seems fitting to share a few updates. 

First things first, this is not the end. Admittedly, certain aspects of this undertaking are just as open ended as they were at the start. Documenting the evolution of a school, the process of learning, etc. is no small feat, and we knew this going in. A big part of this experiment is rooted in the experience of creating it to begin with. But, we've come a long way!

dr roy wilson learning centre editing luke medicine hatSeeing the enthusiasm of students, how they collaborate with one another, and their eagerness to share (especially when the camera is pointed in their direction) has been an absolute blast. You'd be amazed at the impact a camera makes. In the beginning it was a novelty, but as they warmed up to it it provided an opportunity. It gave students an informal excuse to express themselves and to share their candid thoughts directly from the classroom. 

The story for this documentary may not be complete, but I've captured some amazing moments so far. A lot of them have been subtle, but as a collection they paint a layered picture that I don't think most people actually get to see. That's been incredibly exciting. 

My entire perspective on kindergarten to grade 8 has been refreshed over this last year. It's also made me realize that there's not only value in the story we choose to tell, but as an archival project this material will only become more insightful with age. How many other documentaries like this are being shot over months and months at a single school, spanning multiple classrooms? That alone makes this noteworthy.

On a personal level this has been so much fun to be a part of. The teachers and staff have been so friendly and welcoming from the very start. The students have been amazing and have overwhelming embraced the camera and open concept of the project. The youngest grades, especially, have made me feel like a celebrity every time I visited one of their classrooms. I can also thank the well timed release of the latest Star Wars movie for keeping Luke Skywalker on everyone's mind, as the nickname stuck after my first week - that's been a lot fun too!  

school documentary project editing luke medicine hat wlcIn June alone I interviewed over 50 individuals, and after capturing so much random material around the school it was nice to have a few formal discussions. It wasn't that the interviews were that heavy, it was just the candid nature of the discussions that made them unique. Time clearly moves differently when you're a student, and their retelling of the school year seemed just as random and disjointed as it was for me. If I hadn't been documenting it as I went, you'd have thought that everything was a lot more straightforward than it was in reality. 

More than anything, it was all of the positivity from the students that stood out. There's something thrilling about documenting them as they're just starting to figure out who they want to be, what they like, and where they want to go. And if the project has proved anything, it's that they just appreciated someone bluntly asking them to talk about themselves. Sometimes everyone gets so caught up in what they're doing day to day that they're not able to see the big picture. That's where I came in. 

If this first half of 2016 was about getting our feet wet, I think the fall will be about sculpting and refining our approach even further. Whether it's a single video, episodes, or part of some other elaborate plan, I think there is still a lot of material to come out of this experience. I don't want to hype it too much, but I'm still as excited as ever to see how this journey continues. But, more on that later. School's out!

 

Jan 16, 2016

Wilson Learning Centre and Editing Luke

Last year I was contacted by Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta about taking on an artist-in-residence position with their new school. They were interested in telling their story, adding to their cultural identity, exploring multimedia potential in the classroom, and documenting the learning and teaching process. 

In those initial discussions we touched on a lot of big concepts in search of a few specifics to get the ball rolling. The idea of having an "artist" in the school as a support and storyteller was intriguing, and honestly, it's what ultimately hooked me. It's too early to start making definitive predictions, but the scope and scale of what we're embarking on may turn out to be one of my most ambitious projects to date. 

roy wilson learning centre wlc medicine hatI have to clarify that collaboration is at the root of this entire undertaking. This is not just my story or the school's story, it is about the students, staff, teachers, and community at large. Part of what makes this so exciting is that we've essentially agreed to do a giant experiment.

The footage I capture, the projects the classes create, and the day to day activities that are documented have the potential to showcase the "process of learning" in ways that we can't yet predict. We're not sure what the end looks like. A school-wide exhibition? A documentary? At this stage everything is on the table.

It's rare that a project has this much freedom where the act of making it is arguably more important than a specific outcome. This willingness to challenge ourselves to find the stories as they're unfolding is liberating. It opens the door for some really meaningful and genuine content that I don't think we could logistically capture without investing this amount of time.

Odyssey (defined as a series of experiences that give knowledge or understanding) is a word that we've used a lot to describe this idea / project. Even now as things are getting underway, I think we tend to ask more questions after each meeting than find answers. It's exciting, and maybe outrageously ambitious, but that's also what makes it seem worthwhile.   

As of this month I'm starting to become a regular face around the school with my camera. This is not a permanent position for me, and I'm still working on a number of Editing Luke projects outside of the school, however I cannot downplay the significance of this new role in my professional life. In just this last week at the school I captured over 50GB worth of material. Whatever this is, it's going to be big. It's likely to be an opportunity for incredible personal growth as well.