profile spotlight (3)

One Day in San Francisco

Profile Spotlight: Rebekah Fergusson

I remember meeting Rebekah in person one rainy afternoon maybe 2 years ago. Prior to our Divisadero coffee date, I had attended a Backyard Films screening in Bernal Heights on a rare balmy summer night and was in awe of the shorts that were curated to be screened that night. I remember leaving the screening thinking, Wow, there IS a film community here and it impressed me how un-LA the crowd seemed (sorry LA).

At the time, I was newly freelancing, fresh out of grad school, and trying to navigate through the city's film and video scene. For anyone who lives here, you know that a lot of startups, tech ideas and companies, and industrial projects help to pay the bills but you're always working on at least 5 other "passion projects" that don't pay a dime. Oh, Bay Area.

Rebekah is a co-founder of a local Facebook group and forum called Bay Area Filmmakers Happy Hour. She shares the title with fellow Ambassador Vanessa Carr and a talented cinematographer Carlo Silvio. The three can attribute their group's success to the fact that while the film community in the Bay can feel divided, there are a lot of individuals who want to connect, share ideas, resources, and even paid gigs. Imagine that. I know I have profoundly benefitted from having joined this group and I've met some really incredible people at their screenings.

Rebekah also directed Pelada, a documentary about the global game of pick up soccer which did very well at several film festivals including South by Southwest. She also went behind the camera for The Case Against 8, which recently announced winning the Directing Award for US Documentary at Sundance this year.

We are very happy to have Rebekah on board to film for One Day in SF on April 26th. Feel free to stop by and say hello to her here or in person at the next Backyard Films happening this Sunday, April 20th. For more info and to RSVP- go here

A Sunday in San Francisco from Rebekah Fergusson on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Rebekah Fergusson, and my title always seems to be changing.  I'm a documentary filmmaker, but I'm also a freelance producer, a DP, and sometimes an editor.  I think the essence of what I do for a living has to do with story, ideas, and the logistics of making those a reality on film.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I lived in North Carolina until I was 23, when I moved out to CA to make my first documentary.  A lot of my time growing up was spent on a soccer field.  I played soccer from five years old through college and after.  

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
A soccer teammate of mine at Duke was taking documentary film classes and turned her camera onto our team.  I suddenly realized that the stories that I noticed behind the scenes could be teased out and captured through documentary.  The first stories I did had something to do with sports.  Sports were a lens, a language through which I could capture stories and characters I thought were compelling.

Who or what do you most admire?
Anyone making a living as an artist.  

What do you love about SF?
That you can dress the way you want, do what you want, be what you want, and nobody cares, or if they do, they are usually genuinely interested.

What do you fear most for SF?
That the open, exploring, curious, creative vibe of the city will get lost in the din of business and competition...and that there will be more people in suits.

What do you hope for SF in the next 20 years?
That we find our own path to being a city that is both a business and creative center. That we start taking care of the people on the bottom as much as those at the top. And, I hope that filmmakers and artists will still crave to come to SF to find themselves and their inspiration.

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One Day in San Francisco

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.  

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One Day in San Francisco

I've known most of the gentlemen that make up The Werehaus for a few years now, and it's great to see that they will be contributing their talents and raw, honest, street style to this project. 

If you'd like to get to know them even better, come by the One Day in SF meetup tonight at the Secret Alley where you can chat with them in person. Event details can be found here. Hope to see ya'll tonight!

The Bold Italic Presents: Tony Campos' Epic Backyard Skate Ramp from The Bold Italic on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?

Brian: My name is Brian Chu. I've been directing and editing film and video at WEREHAUS for the past 4 years. 

Austin: I'm Austin Chu, 31, and one of the founding partners of WEREHAUS - a creative production studio in San Francisco.  I spend the majority of my time on the open road, seeking destination-less adventures and searching for solitude in strange places. 

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?

B: I grew up in the suburbs of Orange County — typical life I guess for a kid growing up around that time. My parents were always really hard working and supportive of the things we were interested in. My dad owned an auto repair shop and my mom took care of us at home. 

A: I’m originally from Irvine, California — a city/suburb in Orange County located between Los Angeles and San Diego. My parents immigrated to southern California from Taiwan in the late 70's in search of the American dream. I spent summers chilling at local swimming pooIs and going on long road trips with my family, exploring America’s vast landscapes.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

B: Ever since I was a kid, I remember watching my dad take photographs. I always wanted to play with this home video cameras. Once I started skateboarding and riding bikes, it gave me a reason to take one out to film. When I got home, I would plug it into the VCR and review the funny things that happened that day. It wasn't until recently that I really felt like I was in a position to influence ideas or create content that had emotion. I'm inspired to share moments and this is something that just fell into place. 

A: I never thought I would become a filmmaker, and it’s not something I completely identify with. For me, I see filmmaking as a vehicle for my curiosity, more than a profession. I’m moved by the struggle that people endure on a daily basis; it inspires me to be honest with myself and connects me with humanity. 

Who or what do you most admire?

B: People who have a sense of direction and a distinct sense of style. Artists and musicians are usually good about finding this and it resonates with others. I also admire people who can be creative and and make money from their ideas.

A: I admire the freedom of birds and women CEO's. 

What do you love about SF?

B: SF is small, at times rough around the edges, and really is diverse in its culture. It's awesome that people are usually open to interaction, and you have a chance everyday to meet someone new. 

A: I love when the ocean is stormy and when the dense fog rolls in.

What do you fear most for SF?

B: I fear SF will lose its art, culture, and style. It has been a place for renegades and people who really didn't want to follow everyone else. It's known for being free, progressive, and at times anti-establishment. Those things are quickly being lost and it's becoming just a financial destination for other businesses and industries. 

A: I fear San Francisco is losing its place as a cornerstone for culture and diversity.

What do you hope for SF in the next 20 years?

B: I hope we can learn to balance all the change that's happening — keep the essence of the city yet provide opportunities for people who want to move here. We all needs jobs and money to pay rent, so hopefully that continues to provide. 

A:

  • Be the first city to ban throwing cigarettes on the ground
  • An abundance of mom and pop shops
  • Cool schools
  • And, a fresh wave of women Mayors
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