The Mission: Work with an artist you admire, on a song that you love, in the most magical city in the country. The Outcome: We were chosen by Canon USA to test drive their state-of-the-art Cinema EOS C300 and Cinema Prime Lenses. We were granted unprecedented permission by the Archdiocese of New Orleans to shoot in the famous St. Louis Cemetery. And we shot under the scorching summer sun, on the streets of The Bywater, in both the romance of black and white, and the vibrant New Orleans palette, and we crafted a visual complement to the work of an artist whose stunning work possesses all the allure of The Big Easy.
The Challenge: Share the set seamlessly with the great fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth. Accomplish this during the unrelenting light, heat, and expense of summer in South Beach. And create a stand-alone film about her â€œAmerican Storiesâ€ photo shoot that complements the global Hilfiger campaign. The Solution: Having worked with celebrities for years, we knew how to be invisible on Unwerthâ€™s set and, without disturbing her creative flow, create and execute our own. We shot on RED with the highest quality long lenses for the access we needed, and top-of-the-line Zeiss Primes for the moments when we could steal the talent. We rounded out the shoot with a few B-Roll days on our own to help paint the moving version of Unwerthâ€™s still vision.
The Mission: To produce an effective fundraising tool on a shoestring, for a small not-for-profit, in a private orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. To tell a riveting story about a brilliant, self-taught patient-advocate who earned the respect of some of the most important minds in American medicine and who, daily, donates every waking hour to helping those in need of cutting-edge medical care. The Result: Refuah immediately put the film to work. In the first year after the launch Refuah secured a $200,000 private donation and increased their already intense workload. The film continues to illuminate Rabbi Bermanâ€™s unique and incredible work, and helps Refuah provide their services.
For Radical Mediaâ€™s â€œMission Junoâ€ experience, a 24-month examination of NASAâ€™s New Frontiers exploration to Jupiter, we had the privilege of an all-access pass to film the preparation, building, and launch of the spacecraft. Over the course of two years we interviewed every top scientist from NASA, JPL, and the Southwest Research Institute including Principal Investigator, Scott Bolton, who conceived of the mission. With unprecedented access to Launch Complex 41 at historic Cape Canaveral, this was far and away the most dangerous, secure, and exclusive location Sherpa has ever shot. But filming the launch, the â€œbiggest risk in the entire missionâ€, did not distract us from our course: to share the amazing human story behind the childhood dreams of a team of scientists, come to fruition in a single moment.
We were given the bare bones of a structure, â€œThere is a story about the lighting of a bridge. Go find it.â€ Our responsibility included representing a global corporation in its relationship with a local government, and striking the right tone for a politically delicate interview with the new mayor of Corpus Christi, Texas. Most importantly we needed to find our protagonist. We interviewed scores of potential subjects until we found our hero, a local photographer and small business owner. Then we set about telling the story of how 11,000 individually addressable LED lighting nodes, designed by one of the most forward thinking electronics companies in the world, can change a life, and transform a forgotten neighborhood.
On its surface this was a story about the power and effectiveness of state-of-the-art medical technology developed by a huge, multi-national company. But underneath, our team found a poignant, personal narrative about a life-changing diagnosis, with a brave survivor at its core. And woven through all this was a back-story of a unique relationship between a hospital and its patients, and a personal system of care. With the talented folks at Ogilvy Entertainment, we put all this together to make one of our most heartfelt films.
In 2005, in a beautiful pre-Civil War town in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, we had the pleasure of running into an incredibly skilled group of Hillbillies (their term). We fell in love with their love for life and their amazing trade of finding and preserving a piece of American history. One festival documentary, two commissioned pilots, and thousands of hours of production work later, the challenge was finding a home that felt right for our boys. In early 2014, we did. The DIY Network ordered 8 hours of original content for â€œBarnwood Buildersâ€. It turns out that humble Hillbillies with a passion for the past is not only interesting, itâ€™s endlessly entertaining television.
Challenge: Wake Big D up from an afternoon nap, dozing in his chair with guitar resting on his chest. Solution: Press RECORD and say "So, Big D, tell me what you were dreaming about just then..." and hold the camera steady.
On the tail of our Red Hot Chili Pepper film and our music video â€œDie In New Orleansâ€, virtuosic musician and songwriter Jon Cleary contacted us. Jon has been a celebrated New Orleans artist for over 20 years, touring and recording with Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, and Dr. John, to name a few. He pitched us an idea for making a short documentary about the making of his new record â€œPump It Upâ€ at the famous Dockside Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana. How could we say no? This was a Sherpa passion project. Our idea was to be a fly on the wall while capturing his handpicked, all-star New Orleans funk band dig into his latest, epic compositions. Also joining us was Jonâ€™s legendary, long-time producer John Porter (B.B. King, Elvis Costello, Roxy Music). So we called in some favors, fried up some crawfish, and headed down to the Bayou.