Here at No Film School, we're massive fans of Stillmotion. Not only was their transformation from small wedding videography outfit to an Emmy-winning production company an incredibly inspiring one, but their dedication to the craft of storytelling and their commitment to educating the next generation of storytellers are truly admirable. Last December, the Portland-based company unveiled the trailer for their first independent feature-length documentary, simply entitled #standwithme. After several months of touring the film around the country, Stillmotion has returned home and released the film to the public through the online distribution platform Yekra. Read on to hear more about the film.
We've seen some great educational content from Stillmotion that was derived from their work on this project. First, Joyce Tsang, an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer who was one of several cinematographers for #standwithme, wrote an excellent guest post for us that explained the Stillmotion approach to choosing the correct camera for each individual story. We also shared the techniques the Stillmotion used in order to incorporate photography into their film in a way that is unique and visually interesting.
Not to mention that just about every recent post on the Stillmotion blog (which was recently revamped) draws on the experiences and lessons learned in the production and distribution of #standwithme. This post -- a study in why "less gear is more" when traveling -- is a personal favorite.
First, in case you haven't seen the trailer for #standwithme yet, here it is:
Only a 9-year-old would dream a lemonade stand could free 500 enslaved children. After seeing a photo of two enslaved boys in Nepal, Vivienne Harr is moved to help in the only way she knows how: by setting up her lemonade stand. With the goal of freeing 500 children from slavery, she sets up her stand every day, rain or shine. In telling Vivienne’s story, #standwithme examines the realities of modern-day slavery, the role we play in it as consumers, and the importance of knowing the story behind what we buy.
Lastly, here's the making-of piece that Stillmotion released alongside the trailer back in December.
Stillmotion put their hearts and souls into this film, and what they ended up with is perhaps one of the strongest statements yet for conscious consumerism and the fair trade movement. Even though it's not a perfect film, #standwithme is a film that needs to be seen and discussed; it's the type of film that gains strength and momentum as a community grows around it. If you're interested in checking out the film, $5.99 gets you a 48-hour rental on Yekra.
Let us know what you think of the film down in the comments, and, as always, keep it civil.