Monday, July 19, 2010

Local filmmakers and musicians ally together

Local director and producer, Jon Shepard, has worked with indie film legends such as Hal Hartley and James Toback as well as giants in the industry such as Philip Noyce and Spike Jonz. Credited as Executive Producer on nine short films last year, the films he participated in 2009 went all over the world in various film fests and garnered all sorts of critical praise and awards.

Shepard moved to Jacksonville in late 2008 to work as a film producer for the Doorpost Film Project, which was then headquartered in Ponte Vedra. However, when festival operations relocated to Nashville after the 2009 Doorpost contest, he elected to stay in Jacksonville.

“What I found and still find about music in Jacksonville is that there is this inventive musical collage of acts that either hale back to sounds I already gravitate toward, stuff up until fake punk pop/rap/whatever combo packs, or sounds that are really new and original. It all happens in this place that is unnavigatable otherwise,” says Shepard.

Shepard directed Lazerstar's You’re the Best video created for the 2009 Conmoto Art & Music Festival and produced and edited Crash the Satellites' Pretty Knees video, both local Jacksonville bands. This year, he directed a video for local lady rocker Pilar's Flight, currently in post-production.

“When Crash the Satellites sent me the finished Learning to Land album I literally cried because I knew how much labor and sweat had gone into making this record come to life. Long story short; I commuted in from Brooklyn every day to my job at MTV where I had access to unfathomable amounts of music, yet on that ride each day for a year I kept going back to that album on my iPod and it literally became like the soundtrack for my life over the next year.”

Shepard's efforts are helping local Jacksonville bands garner national recognition. He wants to encourage other ambitious filmmakers in Jacksonville to team up with their favorite local bands to further both endeavors. Local artist Ian Chase has been working with local bands to enhance live performances and produce a more punk-rock psychedelic type of music video for bands such as Chicken & Whisky and local hardcore band National Dairy.

“To market themselves today an act needs to strike virally and visually as well as sonically and a music video can do that instantly. If your song is just sitting out there on iTunes waiting for someone to stumble on it, well good luck with that. I like to give an act something that they can push to their audience. Then that audience can push it further. Later in the day we all meet back at iTunes and buy some music. I think it’s critical to breaking over the bridge out of Jacksonville. It sets you apart from the rank and file and it says you’re serious,” says Shepard.

EU Jacksonville is hosting a music video showcase to support this effort at the 5 Points Theatre August 6 from 6pm to 9pm. To read the full article on the alliance between local filmmakers and musicians, please visit EU Jacksonville.

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