Being a filmmaker, a dancer, and a musician, I have learned so much about appreciating art for what it aspires to be, and not simply for what it is. The concept and the movement behind the art is as much a part of the art as anything else, and I strive to uncover that story for myself because it allows me to connect to the artists inspiration on a deeper level.
With that said, I've never done a film with an artist let alone a 'street artist', and having worked with so many street dancers I knew it was inevitable that a collaboration like this would happen. Interviewing Spencer (aka Random), I found that despite being a different type of artist, we shared the same philosophies and perhaps that why we got along so well. Besides being a humble guy, Random is also very talented. Check out his work at his website and see for yourself.
Travelling gives me the opportunity to explore new cultures and connect with people in meaningful ways. More importantly, it helps me to explore myself as a person and be humbled by the vastness and diversity of the world we live in. In short, I believe that travelling is nothing less than an inspirational experience and once the travel bug takes it's reigns on your life, it has a difficult time letting go.
During my most recent trip to Macau, Hong Kong, and Japan, I was tasked with creating a commercial for TeamBuy Travel, and before venturing on my 2-week long journey I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve for this video. I wanted to encompass all of the emotions and awe that I felt and give the viewer that rush of excitement--of letting go of all your worldly possessions and commitments and giving in to the tide of the unknown.
With all my videos, I strive to give viewers more than entertainment, I want to give them substance and a desire to discover something greater than themselves. Even with something as simple as a travel video, I believe that you can inspire people to do great things.
A few years ago I noticed that Toronto didn't have any dance film companies like Yak Films or Strife TV representing the local dancers and giving them a voice on the international stage. At the time I was still in school, and I didn't have any connections to the street dance community. Over the past 3 years through my passion for street dance I've been fortunate to meet so many inspirational and talented people in the community. It was only when I met Kristine and Vanessa that I finally knew I could bring my vision to life.
Coincidentally Kristine and Vanessa had the exact same idea, and from our first meeting in February 2013 we laid down the foundations for our mission to bring Toronto's dance community and diverse history to light. Flash forward 4 months to June 5th, 7:08pm and we've finally completed filming and editing the short films for our first 6 dancers.
Our vision is to create a platform for dancers to showcase their talents and share their stories on an international scale. There's so much hidden talent in Canada and we want to share it with the world. Today our mission starts in Toronto, but we hope to reach other cities in Canada, and eventually collaborate with artists, singers, and dance crews.
What does "58" Mean? I'll let Vanessa explain:
You lose yourself and enter a world you've created away from reality, away from negativity, where nothing exists but you and your movement. These four numbers are the ignition of every moment you've ever felt exhilarated and one with the stage, one with your art. 5,6,7,8... and a flash of everything you've done to get to this moment runs through your mind. 5,6,7,8... your audience waits with bated breath. 5,6,7,8... and it's time. What's your five-eight?"
It's amazing how we can cross paths with strangers and a brief conversation can turn into an great relationship. I met Vlad after filming a dance video downtown. He approached me because I was carrying some camera equipment that he was looking to get, and asked how he'd be able to rent it. After our conversation, we exchanged cards and later decided to check out his Vimeo channel. Low and behold, he had also filmed dance videos of his own, not to mention they were very well done! I was looking for more help with filming, so it's as if we were destined to meet.
Despite only being 18 and having moved to Canada from Russia 4 months prior, Vlad is one talented shooter and editor. He currently attends a college business program, but his passion is film. I've already brought him out for a number of shoots to give him more opportunities to film in Canada and network, and he's helped me to capture some amazing shots.
Going back to the story behind the video above, Vlad asked me if I could help him to complete a video he'd been editing for awhile. He had cut together footage from parties he'd been to in Russia and he needed someone to help him shoot an opening sequence of himself walking in solitude along the lake in thought, reminiscing about Russia. After meeting with Vlad one morning after a cancelled shoot, we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to finish his project.
It just goes to show you that you never know who you may meet on the street. Help someone when you can, and karma will have a way of rewarding you in return.