Treepot Media turns 4 on November 10, 2014. It’s been a thrill growing, learning and creating with so many great collaborators over
the past 4 years. It’s been fun going through our posts and recounting all the great times in preparation for this post. Here are
a few highlights.
— Treepot.tv is what got this all rolling. A few recent Algonquin College grads met weekly to shoot indie music nights organized by Heather Farmer in the Summer of 2010. Treepot Media was incorporated 3 months later. Our online stream and a story on the collaborators was a noticed by CBCOttawa News and the site was nominated for Canada’s Best Music Website in the CBC Radio 3 Spotlight contest in 2011.
— Polar Bear Love was Treepot Media’s first narrative short. After winning awards at a couple of local festivals, the short made it to the final round of CBC’s short film Face-off in 2011 where it made its national broadcast premiere. The film now has a permanent home at the National Screen Institute (Canada).
— CBC Ottawa Presents: Neighbourhood Stories, a collection of short documentaries was Treepot Media’s first documentary collection commissioned by a broadcaster. It aired on CBC Ottawa in the Summer of 2011.
— This is My Witness, Treepot Media’s first documentary collaboration with Kublacom Pictures follows two women as they prepare to testify at an unprecedented International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma. The award-winning film premiered at the Paley Center in New York and has a permanent home at the National Screen Institute (Canada).
— Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, a conference documentary was a second collaboration with Kublacom Pictures, this time including production and post-production.
— How Can a Boy, our third collaboration with Kublacom Pictures follows the story of Nimord Andrew and provides a unique view into the hearts and minds of Canada’s Karen refugees.
— Our second year saw collaborations with other local filmmakers and production companies on several short narrative films / music videos including First Date, Divorce, Moments, The Boys Next Door, Distance, And They’re Off, When Stars Collide, and Mary Mae.
— Treepot Media also collaborated with Second Shooter Productions for post-production of Lucy van Oldenbarneveld’s critically acclaimed, award-winning documentary North Boys, an important documentary about the lives of Charlie Pete and his friend Jimmy Dennis now both in their 70s, who were taken from their homes as children and put through the residential school system.
— We worked with one of our favourite collaborators, Kublacom Pictures on one of our first promo videos, the Nobel Women’s campaign video for the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.
— The summer of 2012 was a busy one that saw us collaborating on local filmmaker Karim Ayari’s feature film debut Thirteen Downs.
— The fall of 2012 was spent working on Treepot Media founder Jith Paul’s directorial debut, Algebra: A reunion of Broken Parts, which brought together a fantastic local cast and crew and a beautiful score by Justin R. Durban. The film has resonated with audiences around the world at screenings in Toronto, Scotland, France and Italy.
— Local indie cinemas and festival screens began the process of converting to digital projectors and there weren’t many resources for indie filmmakers to decipher standards and prepare content for them. This lead to the documenting of the convoluted (at the time) process in the very popular Treepot DCP Guide. The technology and tools have changed since we first published the guide. That’s the beauty of an online guide. We continue to keep it up-to-date with information on many open source and commercial tools and facilities that provide DCP creation services locally.
— Karim Ayari’s Perfect was our second short film production. Co-produced with Splitklips, the short film about a young man with Tourette Syndrome was our second trip to the final round of CBC’s Short Film Face-off where Perfect enjoyed its national broadcast debut. Loved by audiences at international screenings and after a featured spot at the National Conference on Tourette Syndrome Plus, the film joined Polar Bear Love and This is My Witness at the National Screen Institute (Canada).
— We also launched a somewhat unique project called the Treepot Cliffhanger. Directors were chosen by a jury of industry professionals and were challenged to create a series of chapters of a story in the fashion of a cinematic chain letter with a modest budget provided by local indie film supporters, over the course of a year.
— Our third year also saw our most ambitious post-production project. Partners for Peace is a feature length documentary that follows a delegation of American and Canadian women on a journey to Israel and Palestine in a quest to learn about the decades-long conflict and to reach out in solidarity to women activists striving amidst the turmoil, forging a path towards peace. Another collaboration with Kublacom Pictures and the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the film has been well received and continues to be screened at festivals internationally. It was a thrill working with Academy Award winning actress Marisa Tomei who narrates the documentary.
— Treepot Media ran its first kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for the short film A Clean Slate, a co-production with It’s A Keeper, the pilot for the web series Mulligan’s House Band. This was also Treepot’s first production featuring an ACTRA cast. A huge thanks to our cast and crew who braved snowfall and ice in April and thanks again to everyone who supported this production by spreading the word, donating, attending fundraiser screenings and being extras. We also completed the short film One Last Drink, a spin-off starring two of those extras, a collaboration with It’s A Keeper and NHS Productions for a local festival.
— The short film screening series concluded with a fundraiser screening Treepot6 / The Reel Deal curated by Jennifer Mulligan, Treepot 7 and the premiere of A Clean Slate.
— We collaborated with Kublacom Pictures on a promo for the MATCH International Women’s Fund, shown first to audience at the Great Canadian Theatre Company to celebrate International Women’s Day.
— Treepot’s collaborated with Kublacom Pictures on post-production for Ottawa filmmaker Dina Salha’s directorial debut, the film Lady in the Garden, which had its world premiere at a festival screen in Australia a few days ago. It was the first time a Treepot collaboration screened on a that continent!
— We took goal of providing exposure for indie films to the next level, collaborating with local filmmakers Ed Kucerak and Karim Ayari to launch Indie Koala, Ottawa’s premiere Video On Demand for Indie Films. Powered by VimeoPro, the site provides the opportunity for indie filmmakers to self-distribute their films to a global audience and has also piqued the interest of some international filmmakers who have their work listed on the site as well.
We have several new projects on the go and look forward to collaborating, promoting and celebrating indie film and indie filmmakers as
we enter our fifth year.
Thanks for your continuing support.
President, CEO & Janitor
Algebra joins other Treepot productions and collaborations at the National Screen Institute (NSI) Canada
“Our shoot was in April, and who thought it was going to snow?” said Paul. “We had one scene that was half outside, so the actresses were real troopers. We had parkas just off-frame and we’d wrap them up as soon as they finished their scene.”
While Paul was happy with the shoot as a whole, he did not think that everything went totally according to plan.
“We didn’t get everything we wanted shot but that’s the reality of it. We could’ve had more but there were more important shots so we moved things around so that we could tell the story.”
One of the most important scenes is the closing scene of the main character, Gianna, overcoming her stage fright, finally singing with the band.
“I made the decision to have Beki [Lantos] sing live as opposed to having her record the song and play it back,” said Paul. “It worked really well and I’m very impressed with how it shows on screen.”
Beki Lantos, the lead actress who played Gianna, certainly appreciated having the opportunity to show off her voice.
“The thing that was lots of fun was that I got to sing. I’ve been singing my whole life and have never been able to mix the two of film and music,” said Lantos.
Lantos not only performed live at the conclusion of the film, she also wrote and recorded Let Me Fly, which plays during the closing credits, as soon as she got home after rehearsal.
“North Easton, from the band My Favourite Tragedy, wrote the song [Beki] sings at the end of the movie, but also produced Beki’s song for the credits,” said Paul. “I really liked seeing that collaboration and I like to think that we had a small part in bringing those two people together.”
It’s fostering collaboration like this has brought Paul a certain reputation in Ottawa’s filmmaking community.
“I was really impressed by the initiatives around Treepot and his community building initiatives,” said Penny McCann, Director of SAW Video, speaking of his efforts through his company, Treepot Media. “So I talked to the board about approaching him to join our board of directors because he fit the idea of SAW Video really well.”
“Jith was great’” said Lantos. “He was really open to suggestions and ideas.”
Paul recognizes the importance of working together with actors, especially for his time using union actors.
“It’s my first union shot, so I want to be good to my actors and want to work with them again,” he said.
This was Paul’s first comedy, certainly a different experience that flexes different acting and directing muscles.
“It was fun. It isn’t as effortless as it might look, it just looks that way when it’s finally done. There’s a lot of work that goes into making it look that way,” said Paul.
“Maybe the next one will be a musical.”