I had the pleasure of meeting Adam through my friend Justin Chin a few years back when Justin would host these really entertaining and intimate dinner parties at his house in Oakland. Justin always invited guests who either worked in the film or video world or just creatives he felt should sit across from one another at a table during some point in their lives.
Over the years, Adam and I stayed in touch. When he and Matt (his business partner) started inviting filmmakers, film students, and documentary junkies alike to check out what they'd call a weekly "Doc Night" at the Secret Alley, we rekindled our friendship and I started attending their screenings. It was then that I knew they would be great to collaborate with for this One Day in SF project.
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Matt Barkin and Adam Ducharme of Vibrant Films.
The Bliss Project: Truth is Beauty from Vibrant Films on Vimeo.
Who are you and what is your profession?
M: Matt Barkin. I am a creative director and filmmaker at Vibrant Films in San Francisco.
A: Adam Ducharme. I am a cinematographer first and foremost. Jack of all trades video guy second.
Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
M: I grew up in Riverside, CA, about an hour and a half east of LA as an only child in a sprawling desert suburb. The cultural and artistic landscape in Riverside was non-existent so I ended up turning to the internet to find a creative outlet. My friends and I figured out how to pirate cartoons like Dragon Ball Z and the Simpsons, which we would would re-edit into funny music videos. I never thought it would lead to a career choice, but after I decided to drop the idea of law school, I switched my major from philosophy to media studies at UCSD and started to write and edit again.
A: I grew up on Cape Cod and then central Massachusetts. I had the traditional New England life of skiing in the winter and running around outside with friends in the summer. I also spent a lot of time in the water.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
M: From a very early age, I found refuge in stories. My room looked like a library of fiction but it wasn't until I watched The Five Obstructions in a college elective class that I even entertained the idea of visual storytelling. In the film by Lars Von Trier, you get to see the process in which Jørgen Leth remakes a short film several different ways. It opened the doors to the process of film-making and made it seem more accessible to me.
A: In my childhood home there was a framed enlargement of a snow-covered river in New England. My father, using his Canon AE-1 35mm SLR, was the one who snapped the photograph. I would gaze into the icy waters of that river for hours at a time, certain that at any moment the frame would burst and ice melt would start pouring out onto the hardwood floors. That camera was eventually given to me. I still tell my dad that it was the best gift he could have ever given me. From that very day, at ten years old, I started thinking of life as pictures. That instrument became my window to the world and the direction of my professional life.
Who or what do you most admire?
M: Thomas Jefferson
A: My grandparents raised 15 children in a 2.5 bedroom house in Rhode Island. My grandfather was a telephone linesman for AT&T his entire career and went to work everyday with a smile on his face. He was also an artist and a green thumb gardener. Whenever I feel like I am working hard, I am inspired by them.
What do you love about SF?
M: I love the beautiful parks, museums, old grimy bars, the self-expression of people, underground scenes, hidden gems around every corner, the weather, public transportation, walkability, parades, music, parties, its filmmakers and storytellers.
A: The weather. As a filmmaker and an active person - it is wonderful.
What do you fear most for SF?
M: I am not afraid.
A: My inability to live here financially.
What do you hope for SF in the next 20 years?
M: I can't wait to see what digital artists do and then when they aren't cool anymore, what the resurgence of handmade art looks like. Remember when everyone wanted a fancy espresso machine? Now we are back to cloth drips. Cycles and more cycles.
A: That it can reinvent itself as an arts and cultural hub in the same funky way that it did half a decade ago.