Category Archive: Uncategorized

Floods, moves, new work: We are still here!

A lot has happened in the last… oh… month or so. In list format, because let’s be honest, lists are so easy-peasy:

1) In late February, a pipe burst in our office space at the David Stott Building that flooded the space and rendered the building without power and mostly useless. Then I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal (glass half full!).

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Emergency remediation crews respond to a pipe bursting at the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit.i

2) Moving out, or at least getting our core set of gear, workstations and hard drives out, was pretty interesting. And by interesting, I mean I walked about 300 floors worth of stairs. Read: Our office is on the 28th floor, there was no power in the building and therefore the elevator, so taking the ol’ fire stairs was the only way up or down. Fear not, however, we were still in reasonably good spirits (albeit with legs feeling like Jell-o) after making the first run of unloading gear.

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The glorious group of men that responded very quickly to help remove essential gear from our dilapidated office space in the David Stott Building. From left: Brody Webster, Andrew Pixley, myself and Alex Lauri.

3) Given the above, it looks like we will be getting a new office. But fear not (not that you were necessarily as scared as I was at one point)! We’re on the doorstep of securing a new space, with details forthcoming once we’ve done so. But I am so incredibly excited with where things are headed and hope to have some big news soon!

4) Amidst all this, we’ve been very busy with a handful of fun projects in the last month or so. We had the pleasure of working with Loveland Technologies, a tech company and the age-old venerable Kresge Foundation— a brand spankin’ new client for us. Very exciting. Take a look at the two I mentioned, below.




So, anyway, thanks for reading this update after a relative period of silence. We’re still here, still kicking, still having fun… and hope to have some great news on our new office soon.

-Philip

Eight Reasons Why Sundance 2015 Did Not Suck

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Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes questions during a screening of her film “The Mask You Live In.”

We were lucky enough to be in attendance for this years Mac Daddy of the film festivals for all the good times and films. Given that numbered lists get the most attention, here’s our breakdown of why the festival was so great this year and a laundry list of films that you should probably see in 2015 (and some to avoid perhaps). Without further ado:

1) The temperature of Park City in comparison to Detroit made it feel like Cancun for the entire duration of the festival. OK, but seriously, movie thoughts are probably more important (and will follow), but this was a very distinguishing feature of the festival experience.

2) Me and Earl and Dying Girl was actually as good as the $12 million price tag Fox Searchlight paid for exclusive distribution rights. This amount was a festival record, but really, the film was amazing. Like Juno on steroids. It tells the story of Greg, a self-deprecating high schooler who befriends Rachel, a girl dying of Leukemia. You should absolutely see this when it when it hits theaters sometime in 2015.

3) Jimmy Chin, all-around adventure megaman (climber, skier, director, photographer) teamed up with other adventure megamen (Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk) to create our absolute favorite documentary of the festival: Meru. You’re thinking “great, another mountain climbing doc!” but really you should get down from that horse and watch this film. It tells the gripping story of going for summit at Meru, a shark fin shaped peak in the Himalayas. The actual climb itself proves to be of secondary importance compared to the interpersonal exploration of the three guys that go for this nearly impossible feat.

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From left: Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi take part in Q+A following a screening of their film Meru.

4) Second best doc award goes to Cartel Land, which also got awards at the festival. Go out of your way to see this film. It explores the idea of being a vigilante against the drug cartels on each side of America’s border with Mexico. Multiple character plots make for a gripping adventure that leaves your palms plenty sweaty.

5) Docs you should see when they’re out on Netflix, but aren’t necessarily worthy of the top prize or an overt amount of gushing: Being Evel, DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon, Misery Loves Comedy and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.

6) The doc you should see, and be prepared for some introspective questioning after you watch it: The Mask You Live In. It expounds on the idea of the idea of the growing “boy crisis” whereby society at large is putting unnecessary pressure on boys to be one thing or the other. The film takes a refreshing (albeit sometimes sobering) look at how the modern man is portrayed and what parents can do to combat this looming reality.

7) Time we can save you by warning you that these movies are not nearly as good as you may think or be told: A Walk in the Woods and The Wolfpack. The former is based on a book by Bill Bryson, where Nick Nolte and Robert Redford walk the Appalachian Trail and make terrible jokes. The other caution is probably a controversial observation, seeing as how it made it through Sundance as the darling in the US doc category, but it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t see The Wolfpack. It follows the prison-like setting of six brothers and one sister who are largely kept in their New York City apartment without being allowed to go outside. What ensues is a band of brothers both odd and thrilling for reasons you would absolutely expect of folks that stay inside for the better part of two decades. But the film is everything you’d expect in delivering that story, and while entertaining at times, it’s not worth the fuss.

8) The films we are pissed we missed which may (or may not) be worth your time if/when they surface this year: The Chinese Mayor, Most Likely to Succeed, The Beaver Trilogy Part IV, The Russian Woodpecker, James White, Western and Partisan.

There you have it. Such a fun week. Lots of fun conversations, movies, learning and smiles. Happy movie watching in 2015.

Vote for DL! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge

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Click here to vote for Detroit Lives! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge.

For the past few months we have had an absolute blast writing a story and film for Nokia as part of a campaign to support the release of a new smart phone, the Lumia Icon. We pitched them on a story we had developed, the main character of which, Harlan Ruddecksplainer VII, is pictured above.

The basic of the story: The life of a bathroom attendant… the love of the hospitality industry… Harlan Ruddecksplainer is a fifth generation bathroom attendant. His Great-great-great-great grandfather stood outside an outhouse with a bucket of water, and that level of Ruddecksplainer service continues today. In the face of flatulation and loud-mouth jerks, Harlan maintains his post with impeccable composure and sage like words of wisdom. But what happens when the ladies room across the hall gets a cute new attendant? Without the luxury of “a bathroom break,” Harlan will have to get crafty with his approach.

We are competing against four other filmmakers to be awarded the grand prize, and so we need your vote via Facebook every day for the next 10 days. Voting went live today and the winner will be announced next week.

The link to vote: Click here (no sign ups necessary, just click a button)

Thanks!

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Note to Self: Don’t make a video like this.. or maybe we should?

The company Dissolve released a (pretty great) ad building awareness for their service: inexpensive, visually appealing stock footage from $5 to $500 per clip. The ad is a home run as far as we’re concerned.

Two things to note:

1) It’s pretty effective in showcasing a tired style and visual that SO MANY companies are employing in their video advertisements. So it’s kind of a great one stop shop for what we should steer clear of for the next client. But we never did that awful of a job to begin with 😉

2) They seemingly have a pretty nice service, with all clips in HD and priced for purpose (client), not resolution (like the rest).

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

He-man sized hugs and hand pounds. Sorry about our distance lately, we’ve been busting out some new work that we’re excited to unveil. Coming soon at the very least will be our 2012 reel giving a look back at what came of the last year– filming in some 9 different countries, days worth of footage and a bakers dozen worth of brand spanking new clients. Very exciting.

In the meantime, happy day! Thanks for your support and love.

HVD-DL!

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Detroit, the Arts, Jerry Paffendorf and Dennis Leary

Alright, alright. So I’m on vacation right now and the blogs are kinda weak– ie, link regurgitation. But hey. Currently, I’m driving– passenger side– through northern Alabama. Just had some food at a Waffle House. Louie’s is still better.

Got caught up laying in a hotel bed reading reading this article discussing the arts in Detroit. It’s not your average run-of-the-mill, fly by approach to discussing Detroit. There’s some really genuine observations made about the city that ring quite true. Lots of great people discussed. Read the article here.

Next, Jerry Paffendorf talked with Model D. What resulted was a really great look back at LOVELAND’s efforts in Detroit. Jerry’s got a pretty fascinating vision for this city. It’s full of surprises, springboards, unconventional steps and growth possibility. His efforts along with Mary and Larry are pretty original and inspiring. See the Model D interview here.

I’d continue by talking about the recent development that Dennis Leary has stepped in as Executive Producer (ie, funder) on ‘Burn’– the documentary discussing the heroic acts of the DFD, but my head is sorta spinning from looking at my Smart phone. So read the article here.

Bureau Moves On and Housing Prices Move Up

Claire Nelson’s shop the Bureau of Urban Living will be passing on the torch to the Linn siblings next door who currently own and operate City Bird. Yep. The doors are closed at Bureau as we speak but new beginnings are already setting foot. Nest, the Linn siblings’ expansion of the City Bird empire, will take Bureau’s place and sell housewares and such in similar fashion. So there’s much t look forward to. And let’s be honest, Claire, the mind behind Open City and Shop Midtown, probably has all kinds of exciting tricks up her sleeve.

Separately, home prices in metro-Detroit rose 2.7% in August. Only two cities in the country demonstrated these growth figures, so there’s something to celebrate. The Freep reports more here.

Inaugural Detroit Design Festival Launches Tonight

The Detroit Design Festival is shaping up to be something interesting. It’s kind of like Chapter Two to Art X, the festival put on by Kresge that showcased the artists that have been the recipients of their fellowships in the past few years. DDF goes well beyond the pool of roughly 40 Kresge Fellows and takes a broader look at the region’s creative culture. This is increasingly relevant as we look to the creative sector to propel the city forward.

Over the course of the eight day festival there will be lectures, exhibitions, fashion shows, interactive installations, art battles, studio tours, and performances. There is no charge to attend most happenings, but some do have fees. All of the ‘design happenings’ were developed by, and will be executed by, designers and creative people from across the Metro Detroit area as a showcase of our talent.

In general, I think it’s an important step in encouraging Detroit to forge an identity around its creative capacity, because whichever way you look at it– it’s a part of what we do. Though the automobile industry wasn’t the work of what we know as a traditional artist, it was very much so a creative solution to manufacturing that revolutioned the world. And that bled in to the development of Motown, of techo, or in other areas that have come to define us, like furniture making, which happens to also be one of our fortes.

Tonight the launch of the festival is happening at New Center Park (2990 W Grand Blvd) from 6 to 9pm. Pick-up the official Detroit Design Festival guide, enjoy music by Sean Blackman and DJ Amy Dreamcatcher, relax in the Quicken Loans Lounge & Design Experience, check out the art installations and even see a fashion show. Not bad for a Wednesday night.

Other notable highlights that are part of the festival as the week rolls on:

Thursday night 5-8pm: Mind the Gap (Info)
Friday night at 9pm: Detroit by Design Fashion Show and Homeslice Label Launch (Info)
Saturday all day: D’s Creatures (Info)
Sunday at 6:30pm: Detroit SOUP (info)

Detroit City Futbol League 2011 Season Updates

Chatter is circulating about the approach of the 2011 Detroit City Futbol League season. I know, you’re saying there’s 18 inches of snow on the ground, stop talking about soccer. But it’s impossible. In case you missed out on the action last year, the league consisted of teams represented by neighborhoods throughout the city of Detroit. Teams battled it out over a nine game season with a finale championship Copa Detroit. The crowning victor last year was the Villages, a conglomerate neighborhood on the east side.

That being said, 2010 League Champions and Copa Detroit runner-ups, Woodbridge have already started an off-season training schedule in the frigid cold with a tire circuit and light calisthenics regiment. Teammates gather four times a week at 5:30am for practice. Says AO “Bowling Ball” Wood, star right winger well known for his 18 inch bicep circumference and the ability to complete the tire circuit bare-footed in the winter cold, “It’s what needs to be done.” No further commentary was offered.

Sean Mann, League Commissioner and founder, recently reported discussions with the mayor’s office about getting more teams participating from all corners of the city. Given the amazing turnout last season, it seems as though the excitement level surrounding the league will only increase. Stay tuned to the DCFL website for more details.