Building “MEL Films” from zero to a mighty assortment short documentary films
MEL Films is a Syrian refugee playing a Mexican outlaw in an American Wild West stunt show in Sweden, and other amazing true stories. In our first year, we’ve been invited to dozens of festivals, won a couple, won an Edward R. Murrow journalism award, were a Webby honoree, worked on a new series with National Geographic, and have been featured in The Atlantic, VICE, Slate, Washington Post, and many others.
Exercising the Travel Bug with The New York Times for Their New Video Series, “36 Hours”
I have been working with The New York Times this summer, shooting video and stills for several episodes of the upcoming 36 Hours video series. This travel column has been around for years, is one of the Times’ most popular, and has even been printed as a series of compendium books. But this is the first time the series will incorporate video.
Helping GQ Readers Be Better Soccer Fans with New Condé Nast Ent. Series, “Soccerology”
Just in time for the World Cup in Brazil, my animation partner and I are creating Soccerology, a new video series for GQ. We’re walking viewers across the pitch and through the basic steps of understanding the biggest sport in the known universe — hoping to dull that newbie glow. In the series, we’re exploring soccer 101, the World Cup, and soccer-inspired travel.
Profiling Filmmakers with Sundance Institute, for a New Interactive Series, “Art of Storytelling”
I started working with Sundance Institute this spring to create a new interactive series, profiling filmmakers from a variety disciplines. So far we’ve profiled director, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider Man), documentary filmmaker, Lucy Walker (Wasteland, The Crash Reel), and music editor Adam Smalley (Gladiator, The Lion King).
From Cairo to D.C., “Stories from the Holyland” Photo Featured in Smithsonian
Smithsonian Magazine featured the image of three Egyptian women sitting on a couple of the enormous stones the make up the base of the Great Pyramid in Giza. The photo originally appeared as port of my Stories form the Holyland series, featuring stills, videos, and travel stories from my time living and working in the Middle East.
“One Day In New York”, a Portrait Series for East 39th Featuring Clothes from Their Fall Catalog
We set out onto the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan to shoot twelve new shirts for East 39th‘s fall collection, casting our models as we went along. This was a fun and challenging series, working with real New Yorker’s who probably didn’t think they’d end up in a catalog when they left the house that day.
Jimmy Fallon Makes Our Slow Jam Interview Parody Twitter-Famous for a Day
The plan was to parody one of Jimmy Fallon’s most famous sketches in a slow jam interview with his hometown high school teachers. But everything fell apart. Out of options, I embraced the bad and drove this train wreck home. The result was an absurd yet endearing piece that Fallon himself ended up Tweeting the day after release. So either it’s funny or he’s got weird taste. #FTW
Working With the Denver Post Photo Team on the Field at the 2014 Super Bowl
This year the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks met in NYC for the forty-eighth Super Bowl, and I was asked to work alongside the Denver Post’s multiple Pulitzer Prize winning photography team. This included covering events around the city leading up to the big game, including press conferences and a behind the scenes look at Radio Row at Times Square.
Meet the New Video Journalist for Digital First Media’s “Project Thunderdome” in NYC
This year marked a significant change of zip code as I accepted the role of video journalist for DFM. I’ve been working with every channel in the newsroom to develop, shoot, and edit original video content for more than 75 newspapers including the Denver Post, Los Angeles Daily News, and San Jose Mercury News.
Documentary Feature “Circle the Wagen” Uses Several of My Stills in the Film
I made a photographic cameo in the fun and relentlessly charming buddy/roadtrip/docu-dramedy about the vintage Volkswagen subculture in America. Circle the Wagen has been making its rounds in the indy theater circuit for the past year and looks to be picking up additional distribution soon. My still photos can be found at various points throughout the film.
The Tiziano Project Nominated for the American Giving Awards on NBC!
The Tiziano Project, the non-profit journalism program I worked with earlier this year in Israel and the West Bank, has been nominated for an American Giving Award in the “Heroes and Leaders” category. Some of my work as photographer, videographer and student mentor with The Tiziano Project can be found here: Stories from the Holyland.
That’s A Wrap On “Catfish: The TV Show” for RelativityReal and MTV
We just wrapped the first season of “Catfish: The TV Show“, which is now airing on MTV, and has quickly become one of their most successful shows. Working with RelativityReal’s amazing Story Department, I had a variety of responsibilities that helped to create the overall “look” of the show, including photography, videography, and motion-graphics work.
“LA Skylight” Wins Gizmodo’s Cell Phone Photography Challenge
Gawker Media’s popular tech blog, Gizmodo, chose my Instragram-enhanced iPhone photo, LA Skylight, as the winner of their 32 Amazing Photos Taken On Phones shooting challenge. I caught this particular lightplosion on a morning hike through Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Here are Five Well-Lit Moments in Los Angeles in November.
Street Artist, Shai Dahan’s TED Talk on Our Journey Into Bethlehem
Good friend, and ridiculously talented street artist, Shai Dahan, was invited to deliver a keynote at TEDxGöteborg. In his talk, The Language of Street Art, Shai talks about our journey into the conflict-driven region of the West Bank to to create a mural on the wall seperating Bethlehem from Jerusalem. The piece was created for our upcoming documentary, “Art On The Seam.”
Photo Shoot For Capcom’s Popular Video Game Franchise, “Devil May Cry”
In this photo series, Sage Mears cosplays herself from the upcoming prequel to the popular video game franchise, Devil May Cry. Sage plays Kat, a new character in the series described as a “medium and a gifted psychic who can see into Limbo, the demon realm, but not directly interact with it in the way that Dante does.” Which pretty much sums up Sage too.
“Light in the Storm” Featured in LA Times, Curbed, and Experience LA
This shot of the sun setting on a rainy day in Los Feliz, “Light In The Storm,” found its way to three publications within the span of just a couple days. The Los Angeles Times featured it in their L.A. Now section. The LA branch of Curbed, a popular national architecture blog, featured it in their morning roundup. And the LA cultural and tourism website, Experience LA, made it their photo of the week.
A Trip To Peru and Machu Picchu Twenty-Four Years in the Making
In 1988, my folks rented the movie “Vibes,” starring Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper as physics, hired to use their powers to find ancient Inca gold. You won’t be blamed for not knowing this film, but those mystical images of Inca-terraced ancient ruins wrapped impossibly around the tops of steep and cloudy mountain peaks have been a magnet for me since. And I finally made the pilgrimage.
A Brief Stint on the Other Side of The Camera with “YourSay Show”
Me and the production department at the YourSay Show climbed Mt. Fuji, explored teddy bear love, and conquered the desert with the bikini gardener. The team followed me through some fun and interesting projects, as I participated as the first subject for the alpha version of their web-based project that merged social-gaming with a reality show spin. Click here for the videos.
“Video Portrait: West Bank” Featured in PBS’ Idea Lab
“Video Portrait: West Bank,” a brief glimpse of the world I saw in Ramallah and Bethlehem, was featured in the PBS sponsored MediaShift Idea Lab. Scenes of Palestinian public life – the streets, markets, mosques, and the wall that keeps it all in, are patched together to local hip-hop artist’s, Shadia Mansour’s track, “Assalamu Alaikum.”
Huffington Post Travel Features “Jerusalem’s Holy Sites in 60 Seconds” Video
One of the videos I produced in Jerusalem, “Jerusalem’s Holy Sites In 60 Seconds,” an un-boring look at the holiest city on earth, was featured in Huffington Post Travel today. After watching several, much longer documentaries on the subject, I challenged myself to try to do it in a lot less time. So there’s a whole lot of history crammed into a few winded soundbites. Try not to blink.
New Media, Better World: Working in the Holyland with the Tiziano Project
The year began living and working with The Tiziano Project in Israel and the West Bank. The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions with the equipment, training, and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives. My roll was as a student mentor in photo and video journalism, and to create a series of pieces about the region. Some of my work during that time can be found here: Stories from the Holyland.