Blatant Film Productions of Vancouver is rearing its head and trumpeting its achievements as winner of the 2009 Music Video of the Year.
St. Albert filmmakers Jon Busby and Marc Demers thought it was pretty cool walking the red carpet of the 2009 Leo Awards held May 8 and 9 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.
Two of their videos, Morphine and Not Alone — both for local band Tupelo Honey — were nominated. As relative newcomers on the animation/film industry block, two entries was a colossal accomplishment among Vancouver’s tight-knit production community
When Morphine was announced the winner, they were completely unprepared. The first thought flashing through Busby’s mind was, “Oh, man. Now I gotta go up and say something in front of 1,000 people.”
As they strode to the podium to receive a glass statuette with a lion’s head engraved on it, they quickly improvised an acceptance speech game plan. It’s this quick-on-your-feet thinking and risky experimental concepts that gives them an edge over competitors.
For instance, Morphine, was shot in Riel Park in a photography studio. Busby, the video director, shot each band member — Matt Landry, Tyler Dianocky, Dan Davidson, Steve Vincent and Greg Williamson — individually against a white screen. He then hand drew animation sequences, 24 frames per second for four minutes, and blended it with the live-action footage.
Several months in the making, “It took a lot of late nights after my regular 9-5 job. It was what you’d call a passion project.”
After graduating from St. Albert Catholic High, Busby had migrated to the West Coast to attend the prestigious Vancouver Film School, where he studied both 2D and 3D animation.
He received a foothold in the industry working at Bardell Entertainment as animation director for Chaotic, a Fox children’s show based on a Danish trading card game. While the series provided a steady paycheque, Busby was yearning to have complete creative control over edgier projects.
In 2006 he created Blatant Films with Jesse Davidge, also an animator. Their first freelance project was a series of commercials flogging hot dogs. It may not have been their dream but, “It was our first opportunity to create something different.”
In the meantime, Demers had obtained a business degree from the University of Lethbridge and took a management job in Vancouver. The two friends, who had known each other since attending Father Jan School together, hooked up. And when Demers was laid off from his management position, he joined Blatant.
Now working full-time at their studio, a brick heritage building in Gastown, the future looks rosy. “We’re working with a video game company to produce a trailer, but we’re under a confidentiality agreement not to say anything. And we’re doing a video for the Hurricane Cletis from Saskatchewan,” adds Demers.
As for the Leo Award, Busby says, “We really feel encouraged to do more.”