Bloodroot Blades

Write here..

Been off the grid for awhile. Here's a video I just finished up with Bloodroot Blades that I filmed a few months back. It was a pleasure to just be in the background and watch as these friends were masterfully forging these gorgeous knives.

I wanted to do something different this time. I am kind of tired of the traditional journalistic interview approach and went in to film with the intention of not getting in the way of the craft of their knife making with a sit-down interview or pre-lit scenes or a storyboard, etc. It's overdone. It's every reality show and mini-doc out there. It takes the magic out of so much of filmmaking for me. I feel like some things are best left unexplained and ought to just be experienced. So with this particular video, which I filmed on a whim as a passion project, everything you see is the way it happened. In some ways, that feels almost more cinematic to me than totally controlled environments where the foot candles are measured precisely and the crew is managed nicely and the scripts are in order or whatever. It was just me and and my camera. Hopefully, sometimes they forgot I was even there...

I wanted people to feel what it is like to be in the woods in Arnoldsville, GA with Luke and David as they are putting their bodies and brains and creativity to the limits as they are making these refined pieces out of such raw materials. There's so much science involved. It is hard on their bodies and such a physical job. It is this mysterious process that unfolds through an incredible amount of skill and knowledge and fire and grit and sweat. I was a like a little kid mesmerized by all of the cinematic moments surrounding me that day. Grateful to just be a wallflower.

Anyway, I was merely playing around with this whole idea. Got inspired by Fire At Sea's director Gianfranco Rosi when I read an interview he did where he went in with the same intention. No interviews, no script, no real answers - just a pure documentary film experience via an artist's interpretation. It's a gorgeous film. Check it out.

This approach is definitely hard and requires more time (I think he spent a year on the same island with his camera), but the resulting quietness/minimalism/slowness in cinematic feel is worth it, I think. The Birth of Sake was another recent doc that inspired me with a similar approach - quiet, patient, unobtrusive, yet filmic, cinematic and gorgeous in its depiction of a world often unseen and under-appreciated by others. I was brought to tears during this film...probably mostly because I miss 日本。

I often find myself making excuses for my work to others and this BB video helped me to realize I don't need to do that anymore. It's MY work. It's MY interpretation of something that happened to me and around me. And I've been mulling over the length and slowness of the video and realized that if someone can't sit through 5 1/2 minutes of slow footage of these brilliant guys laboring intensely to pump out a mere 4 knives on a daily basis, then that person does not deserve to hold one of these impeccable creations in their hands!

I probably won't do this every time I film, but it was just another test in the never-ending pursuit of filmmaking. Like they say, boundaries and limits cause you to be more creative and to take your time and to think things through. It also causes you to pay attention more and be on your feet ready to capture something.

I hope to keep up experiments like this and to keep pushing myself in my approach and not grow complacent. I also hope to just keep growing as a filmmaker because I genuinely love it - the craftmanship David and Luke exhibit is what I aspire to in my work as well.

Music courtesy of Nick Kuepfer! A cool guy up in Montreal, Quebec. Check him out

Thanks again to Bloodroot Blades for letting me invade your space for a day. Keep up the amazing work!

 

-J

 

 

 

 

City to City - Latin America

Recent trip I took to Mexico City to document the first City to City Latin America Conference. Great to see so many pastors from all over Latin America working together to create an ecosystem of churches and organizations based on the gospel of grace. Such a fun group of people.

Sea Change // Easter Island

This song means a great deal to me in a variety of ways. When I was l living in Japan, Ethan and I had planned a fun trip to go all over Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagano - his flight was booked, hotels were reserved, everything was set. The day before he flew out to meet me, I got word my Dad's time in this world was running short. I had to cancel our trip and leave for the States (Ethan still came to Japan by himself anyway). I booked the first flight home that I could find, biked up a small mountain near メゾン山田 as fast as I could to a secluded temple and wept and prayed to God to let this nightmare pass. Everything was falling apart. The sun was setting beautifully over Nagoya. I was all alone. I felt God's peace.

Fast forward weeks later, I asked Ethan to play music at my Dad's funeral because I didn't know who to call. He immediately booked a flight down to Florida, having just arrived in America himself. He saw me and my family at our lowest and he was willing to just sit with us in our awkwardness and sadness for a week. He slept on the couch. He saw my Dad's body. I don't know how he could stand it. I cried when he sang.

That's what this song is about. It's a hard one for me to listen to, but it's a reminder I need that even in the hardest moment of my life, someone was looking out for me and my family.

We went back to Japan last Fall to film a few of these songs - back to where this story began with me and my Dad. We took the trip we never got to take. Made sense to do it that way.

Ethan + Ryan are solid guys and they have worked so hard on this new album - set to be released later this year. I love these two a lot and I can't wait for everyone to be swept away with what they've created.

Farm to Table featuring Dayspring Farms

A documentary project in the making featuring Dayspring Farms, from farm to table, and the process of organic farming from the they sow, to harvest, to the local restaurants and chefs that use their organic crops. Excited to see what happens in the coming months.

天にまします我らの父よ

A mashup video I did for my former team in Nagoya. I was asked to depict heaven for an upcoming art exhibit and this is the best I could come up with. The Japanese throughout the video is the Lord's Prayer:

天にまします我らの父よ。願わくは御名をあがめさせたまえ。御国を来たらせたまえ。みころの天になるごとく、地にもなさせたまえ。Our Father in heaven. Your name be hallowed. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.