Bellingham Film Festival – Day One

Bellingham Film Festival – Day One

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The great people who put on the Bellingham Film Festival asked me to be the exclusive photographer for this year’s event. A huge thanks to Wilson Large, the main man behind the whole event, and the guy ensured I had everything I needed to capture the event. On top of this being a weekend for local film talent to show their stuff, there were four workshops held for the public to come listen in on. Four very well established individuals in the film industry were awesome enough to make the trek up to Bellingham from the film country and talk to the audience about what they do, how they made it, etc. Each evening was capped with a party. Funny thing about parties and being the photographer… the event host is always there to make sure you get a drink in your hand. Luckily these were some very laid back after parties, so who cares if my framing is a little crooked, right?… 😉

We held the workshops at the soon-to-be new Pickford Dream Space. It’ll be THEE place to come watch movies in Bellingham when it’s done. Right now it is under construction, which has a really cool look and very fitting place to hold this event. Lots of open space, which was perfect for my white seamless setup. Our four guest speakers: Brian Sipe – Makeup FX artist, Michael Blundell – Cinematographer, Lisa Beach – Casting director, and Sara White – Executive producer, all donated a few minutes before their workshop to do a quick photo shoot for some PR shots on the white seamless. Andrew Lahmann, of P-51 Pictures, was another great help at the festival, ensuring I had everything I needed to get the right shots, and who was also responsible for recruiting the excellent guests for the festival. We setup a little studio in the middle of the floor space, even built some gobos out of some plywood we found laying around. It was a great little impromptu set! The awesome people at Sonya’s Quality Furniture let us borrow a cool chair for use as a prop, worked out perfectly. I used to live in Bellingham for a number of years and loved it, I miss that place a lot. As a whole, the people are so nice, very pro small business, and there is an amazing amount of people willing to lend a hand to help out.

Here is a shot of the seamless setup.

Make no mistake, these individuals are at the top of their game. You name a big time movie and at least one of these people were involved somehow. Here are just a couple: Iron Man, Terminator, Wedding Crashers, Star Trek, Benjamin Button, Pirates of the Caribbean, Role Models, Fast & Furious, 3:10 to Yuma… the list goes on. Though I was there to capture the event, I actually was very taken back by the amount of knowledge and the genuine nature all of the speakers displayed with the audience, it was a great experience. Going in to work an event, I usually am soley there to document the occasion, but I ended up coming out of the workshops with a good nugget of knowledge as well as some great photos for the festival team. Each a specialist in their own domain, they were interesting, and had amazing answers to the questioned they tackled.

First up was Brian Sipe, the makeup artist. Here is a combination of photos take during his workshop and white seamless.

For those photographers out there, yes, the actual workshop photos were a challenge. As you can see, practically all the light in the room was in the form of dim back/side light. Cool for real world applications, but not at all cool for photography. With the only light source being back lighting, you will get one of two kinds of picturesA properly exposed subject and an extremely overexposed background, or a properly exposed background with a under exposed/silhouetted subject. The focus of these photos obviously being the speakers, we ended up with a blownout background. And super dim to boot… shooting at ISO 2000, F 2.8, and still only getting a 1/40 second shutter. Had to time moments for my shots when the subjects were between movements to reduce blur.

All of the guest speakers were great, and the best part, they were all very down-to-earth, which was very evident simply by the way they dressed. A very casual style, which I totally dig. I’ve always been the same way, I show up wearing what I’m comfortable in, and in that, I am myself. It’s not a disrespectful thing, like a “I don’t care about my image or your event” kinda deal. Plus I’m there to take pictures, and I’m always trying to get the right angle for a shot. I want to be able to kneel, lay on the ground, and get dirty without worrying about ruining a $300 formal outfit. I want my mind in the camera and not on if I’m F’n up my clothes. But yeah… it was nice to see the casual vibe consistent throughout the guests.

Up to bat next was Michael, the cinematographer.

Oh, and if you are wondering who the people are accompaning the speakers in these photos, those are the moderators for each workshop.

These two workshops made way for film showings for the rest of the day, and then an after party at a local pub. The coordinators had a portion of the pub reserved for the party, with food and drink for the guests.

That pretty much sums up day one, stay tuned for my post of the 2nd day of photography.