Director Biography – Boris Schaarschmidt (Eldur Á Himni – Fire in the Sky)

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BORIS SCHAARSCHMIDT (www.borisschaarschmidt.com)
Boris Schaarschmidt holds a BA in Cinematography from the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund, Germany, and an MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles. He received an annual scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Pat Hitchcock O’Connell Scholarship Award.
Boris has written, produced, and directed 15 highly successful short films, receiving numerous awards and special recognition, with several earning DVD distribution and widespread screenings on the international festival circuit. Two of his projects received funding from the Film & Medien Stiftung NRW, the strongest state funding in Germany.
In addition to his own projects, Boris has worked for industry titans like Quentin Tarantino, where he worked on the post-production of his Oscar-nominated film Inglorious Basterds.

Director Statement

ELDUR Á HIMNI – FIRE IN THE SKY is the creative product of Boris Schaarschmidt’s three-month stint in the filmmakers’ program THE WEIGHT OF MOUNTAINS at NES Artists’ residency in Skagaströnd, Iceland. Only for a few months during the darkness of winter, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are visible during cloudless nights due to the collision of charged particles from solar wind with the earth’s atmosphere. Camping out in the remoteness of Northern Iceland night after night, Boris captured the fascinating spectacle in the sky and documented the magical dance of the Northern Lights in stunning time-lapse photography.

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Short Film: Eldur Á Himni – Fire in the Sky, 7min., Iceland, Experimental

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Buckle up for compelling, fast images of the magnificent Northern Light shot in Iceland over the winter.

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Short Film: SUCKR FOR LOVE, 4min., Germany, Music Video

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Suckr for Love’s socio-critical Music Video mirrors the present society we live in, tackles the topic of carelessness, superficiality and the meaning of love. If you take a second look, you will find food for thought to start caring for the wonderful world we live in and want to keep living in.

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Director Biography – Jenny Ni (ECLOSION)

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Coming from a different cultural background, Jenny believes her
vision in film can speak to a diverse group. She enjoys the
process of filmmaking but most importantly the messages conveyed throughout
this art form. She finds it spectacular how one film can change one
person’s perspective. Although it is still under debate whether female
filmmakers are emerging, she wants to be one of the international
female directors in the Canadian film industry.

Director Statement

Before I break this film down into details, I’d like to ask you something. What is the definition of beauty and what would you rate how you look on a scale of 1 to 10? Feels weird, doesn’t it? To do this, you must compare yourself to others, people we see as beautiful and “perfect”.
Recently, six of my friends went to get their noses and eyes done at a beauty salon back in China. When I asked them why, all their answers revolved around the phrases “I want to be like..” or “I’m not pretty enough”. In our culture, high noses, white skin and big eyes are the major three components of beauty and is what drives women to get plastic surgery to meet these standards.
Growing up in that culture, I definitely have a lot to say about this topic. However, this isn’t something that is comfortable to talk about and sometimes people get offended. That is why I chose the caterpillar to symbolize women who are ashamed or unsatisfied with how they look. They want to be seen but their tiny bodies seem invisible. Dancing is a metaphor for caterpillar spinning its cocoon as it prepares for transformation. In the story, Ann goes on an emotional journey through dance as she prepares to transform. Every move she makes adds more and more confidence until she eventually transforms into the butterfly. The message here is don’t be afraid to be yourself.
A deeper message I am trying to convey through this film is a critique of the illusory world that we live in. That is why the other women wear masks in this film. We all hide behind invisible masks in this world to make ourselves feel better but if we keep doing that, we are eventually going to lose ourselves. At the end of the film when the other women take off their masks, they too resemble Ann, showing that they aren’t as different as what is portrayed, but rather hide behind a mask to appear different.
Eclosion is my attempt at telling a story to emotionally connect to an audience in a way that makes the rethink their definition of beauty and hopefully by the end of it, come out more appreciative of who they are.

Short Film: ECLOSION, 5min., Canada, Experimental

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Ann, who has just turned 20, is ashamed of the way she looks, especially the freckles on her face. She dreams to one day feel beautiful, and go from caterpillar to butterfly.

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Director Biography – Ryan K. McNeal (THE FIRE WITHIN)

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Ryan K. McNeal is a director and colorist based in Los Angeles. He graduated Columbia College Chicago in 2012 with a BA in Film Directing. Most recently he works as a freelance colorist on music videos, commercials, and film. As a director, his passion lies in telling stories that explore pain and loss, but are ultimately inspirational. Also being an accomplished painter, Ryan’s attention to color, composition, and tone are always strong considerations for any new project.

Director Statement

This video has been a joy to work on. With Jennifer and Kimberly’s music it was easy to imagine the video, but hard to craft the visuals that could measure up to the balanced elegance and intensity of the performance. I knew as soon as I heard the piece that the video had to be special. We set new bars for ourselves, and every single person involved in this project gave their 110%. These kinds of projects are miracles, especially when everything works out and exceeds your expectations. Thank you to all my crew and thank you to Jennifer for letting me be a part of this project and sharing this vision. We’re a great team and I feel like we’re just getting started!

Short Film: THE FIRE WITHIN, 5min., USA, Music Video

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Award-winning pianist/composer Jennifer Thomas teams up with The Rogue Pianist (Kimberly StarKey) in this epic piece that illustrates the fire within us all.

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