You know that feeling you get once you finish a project and you think, “I can’t wait to show this to everyone!!” ?
Well, after almost two years of waiting, I’m thrilled to finally be able to talk about THIS!
Waitaminute….So let me preface this. The reason I do what I do, and the reason I’m in the animation industry, may be because of the 80’s Filmation Series, HE-Man and the Masters of the Universe. I was 6 years old at the time and I had no idea what a “Universe” was, but mine was definitely rocked. The show featured a bizarre fantasy world with wizards and cyborgs and the main character, HE-Man, had more muscles than anatomically possible. He was as wide as he was tall and he rode on a green tiger. It was easily my favorite show. One day, my dad took my one HE-man action figure, Zodac, and propped him upright. I watched as my dad took out a pencil and etched him out on a scrap piece of paper. It blew my little mind. I didn’t know you could create those images. (I still remember the feeling) From then on, I carried a pencil and paper wherever I went.
Two years ago, things came full circle and I had the opportunity to pitch Mattel a HE-Man short. The short film I pitched was touted as a no-holds barred fight between HE-Man and Skeletor. Not a safe, 1980’s zap-ray fight, but their very last battle, a gritty, full-contact fight we’ve been waiting 30 years to see. And I, being the life-long fan turned “action director” of animation, was the one to do it. There will be sweat, there will be action, there will be blood. (that was my last line in the pitch lol)
They were compelled enough by my treatment that I was commissioned to direct and produce it.
So, I’ve been sitting on this film and unable to publicly show, let alone talk about it.
And now finally, I’m happy to announce that HE-Man: First Snowfall will be playing next week at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con! WOOO! It will be playing amongst a handful ofher HE-man commisioned shorts. produced by some world-reknowned studios. (Rumour is that Titmouse Studios and 6 Point Harness also did one but I can’t confirm) I’ve been trying to get details from Mattel regarding location and showtimes but I can’t seem to get a specific answer. All I know is that it will be a Mattel event.
When I get more information I will share with all of you. #moretocome #sittight If any of you know any details of this, please fill me in.
Special thanks to Sean Branigan, Martin MacIntosh, Rich Duhaney, Ta2 Sound + Music, Mathias Horehager, Marge Dean, Kevin Sukho Lee, Mike Valiquette, Steven Bryant, Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine, Peter Escarcega, Christine Chang and Ellery Vandooyeweert.
HE-Man:First Snowfall short film to screen at Mark Taylor Autograph Session (FYI. He was the concept artists for the 80’s Filmation series!)
Skeletor’s Lair pop-up shop -701 8th Avenue (corner of G Street) San Diego. To gain access to Skeletor’s Lair, you have to go the Super7 booth #4945 to obtain a Power Token first. (link here)
Saturday – July 23rd at 3:00pm PST.
A big thank you to Mattel, Val Staples, and especially Brian Flynn and the Super 7 Team. I’m honored by your commitment and love for HE-Man and all things MOTU.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrapped up a year and a half long gig at Arc Productions. That’s another reason why I’ve been quiet on the blog side. We delivered a crazy exciting boys-action series and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it. It’s got huge monsters, super-powered fights, explosions, aliens and thousands of zombies. Seriously, it’s mental. I’m so honored to be able to work with Arc’s world-class crew. Their talent and commitment is unparalleled. Thank you all for your hard work, sweat and tears, this mountain of a project is now behind us. To the FUTURE AND BEYOND!! ✨ #talent #sweat #tears#passion #thisiswhatwedo
MORE EXCITING NEWS TO COME SOON.
Yes. I know, long overdue update. We’ve been busy. (I know that’s no excuse) That’s the problem running a small production company, the social media aspect is the first thing to be pushed to the side.
I’m just going to churn out a long visual, run-on-sentence of a post.
1. The Cholesterol Question
Style5.tv produced and directed the animation for this episode of the Nature of Things with David Suzuki. You can read here of how excited I was to work on this Markham Street Films Production. It was nominated for a 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Series!
2. City In Crisis
When I read the treatment, I knew I needed to produce and direct this.
Created by my buddies, Ellery Vandooyeweert and Kevin Pavlovic is this hilarious web-series centering around the most dangerous city in the world and the divorced, middle-aged man-child running its police department. Style5.tv developed the IP and sold it to Bite On Mondo. The series did really well and engaged enough viewers to do another season!
3. The Wrong Block
Speaking of web-series, we turned The Wrong Block into one. (Do you remember the short-film from way back?) Since it was also written by Ellery, we thought it’d be funny to merge the worlds and feature a cameo from City In Crisis’ Commissioner Jordan.
4. Johnny Physical Lives
I co-directed the animation of this documentary short-film with the talented, Miranda Quesnel. This was some heavy subject matter featuring sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll and cancer. It played at this years HOTDOCS.
“This heart-rending love letter from one brother to another uses animation to mythologize Jonathan’s fantasy life as punk singer Johnny Physical. After being hit on the head with a beer bottle, Jonathan was dealt a devastating diagnosis—and escape into rock star Johnny’s sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle becomes a vital source of energy as he fights for his life.” Angie Driscoll
5. The Trick with the Gun
We had the pleasure of producing the animation for this documentary featuring the most dangerous magic trick of all time.
“The Trick with the Gun (on-demand on Super Channel) is a droll, casually revealing doc about what is known as the Holy Grail of magic. Fourteen people have died attempting the Bullet Catch. Houdini never even tried. What is chronicled in the program is Canadian magician Scott Hammell’s attempt to master it and perform it.” JOHN DOYLE
I grew up watching this television series on CBC called The Nature Of Things with David Suzuki. It’s a documentary series that centers around nature and the effect that humans have on it. Back in the day, the show broke a lot of boundaries as it was one of the first mainstream programs centering around proper research and scientific evidence on a number of environmental issues.
The shows host was David Suzuki, and as I was growing up he was most prominent Asian face you saw on mainstream television. He was an award-winning scientist, bad-ass environmentalist and had always presented the science in an easily understood way.
David Suzuki was a hero of mine.
This year we got to work on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki and it was an unreal experience.
In September 2013, I reconnected with Michael McNamara from Markham Street Films at a TIFF party. We chatted and he told me about the cholesterol episode for TNOT, which was at an earlier development stage. I shared our CRIME Series with him and luckily, he really dug it. After watching it, Michael had the brilliant idea to re-frame the episode like a detective story, unveiling scientific evidence piece by piece, with film-noir inspired animation. I was more than happy to oblige.
“Cholesterol not the killer it’s touted to be, documentary says” – TheStar.com
“A documentary about cholesterol and the medications that regulated called statins suggests that drugs are overprescribed and unnecessary for many.”
This was an incredible experience and I can cross one more off the list.
Thank you to the brilliant and humble Michael McNamara, who directed this episode and was the beating heart behind it. Thank you to the Markham Street Films crew, Aaron Hancox, Craig Scorgie, Rod Deogrades, Ben Tavers and Judy Holm. It was a pleasure to work with you all.
I am so proud of this episode, I hope you all watch it tonight.
Thursday Oct 30th. 2014
@8:00pm on CBC
more articles on The Cholesterol Question here.
“What do we really know about cholesterol? That is a mystery that filmmaker Michael McNamara aims to find out.” – StrictlyDocs.com
“Get ready for a cholesterol eye-opener, Thursday at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things. Award-winning Toronto filmmaker Michael McNamara could have many questioning their physicians and the pharmaceutical companies after catching The Cholesterol Question.” – MontrealGazette.com
Yep, you heard it! Fly Colt Fly: The Legend of the Barefoot Bandit continues its west-coast tour making its American Premiere at SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL! WOOT! How fitting since the Barefoot Bandit himself was raised an hour away in Camano Island.
More about SIFF:
Film is a powerful art form, and it is the experiences we have with film that can transform our lives. SIFF does just that: our mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that we foster a community that is more informed, aware, and alive.
We are dedicated to fostering an informed, aware, and vibrant community of film lovers.
Was that title a bit misleading? I guess I should have said CRIME: The Animated Series is playing at the 2nd Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival! WOOHOO! (Screening this coming Monday the 12th, in Shorts Program II @5pm.) We love you Windy City!!
About the Festival:
The Chicago Critics Film Festival, now in its second year, is pleased to announce the final wave of titles that will be screening as part of this year’s event, including the Opening Night and Closing Night films, as well as a lineup of special guests, information on purchasing tickets and passes and a full screening schedule. The first film festival to be created and curated entirely by film critics, this year’s lineup will include the latest films from acclaimed directors such as David Wain and Mike Cahill and stars like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Brit Marling, Mike Myers and Martin Starr all of which will be making their local premieres. The festival will run May 9-15, 2014 and will be held this year at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre. …more here
Also, we have the enormous pleasure of sharing the screen with fellow 2014 Sundance Alumni, Bernardo Britto (Yearbook), Antonio Tibaldi & Alex Lora (Godka Cirka), and Lucy Walker (The Lion’s Mouth Opens). These are some amazing short films, each of them winning awards at Sundance this year. I’m honoured to be screening with them again.
CRIME: The Animated Series – a gritty, raw, disturbing animated documentary of real life accounts, narrated by everyday people who know all too well the violent struggles of street life and crime. Make no mistake, these cartoon tales are as spine-tingling as any thriller.
Monday, May 12, 2014, 5pm Running Time: 84 minutes
DOXA Documentary Film Festival is on this weekend and guess what’s making their west-coast Canadian Premiere? FLY COLT FLY: The Legend of the Barefoot Bandit! (A feature documentary film we helped to produce) We are super proud of the film and we had such a great time working on it. My biggest regret is not being able to attend this festival in lovely Vancouver. (♥ that City)
More about DOXA:
DOXA is presented by The Documentary Media Society, a Vancouver based non-profit, charitable society (incorporated in 1998) devoted to presenting independent and innovative documentaries to Vancouver audiences.
The society exists to educate the public about documentary film as an art form through DOXA Documentary Film Festival, a curated and juried festival comprised of public screenings, panel discussions, public forums and educational programs.
- Friday, May 9, 2014 – 12:30pm
- Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 9:00pm
We got some great news and some and festival updates!!
First of all CRIME has won Best Animation at RxSM Film Expo in Austin Texas!! Thank you RxSM, we are honored!
CRIME: The Animated Series has been accepted RINCON International Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Dallas International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, San Francisco’s CAAMFEST and our very own Toronto Animated Arts Festival International (TAAFI). This is very exciting to us because the festivals are choosing to play the entire crime series!! Sadly, I won’t be able to travel because of my duties at home. (We welcomed our bouncing baby boy into the world this 4rth of March, so I’m spread a bit thin these days) But I WILL attend my hometown festival TAAFI! Hope to see you there!
Atlanta Film Festival
- Tues, April 1st 5:00PM 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage
Dallas International Film Festival
- Mon, April 7th 7:00PM Angelika 4
- Tues, April 8th 9:30PM Angelika 7
Florida Film Festival – Shorts Program 5: Animated Shorts
- Wed, April 9th 6:45PM – 8:30PM Enzian
- Fri, April 11th 9:30PM – 11:15PM Regal Winter Park Village A
In other news we are starting on our next project titled Johnny Physical Lives, A punk rock live action/animated short film that’s going to blow your socks off.
TIFF’s Next Wave Film Festival is this weekend, bringing quality film programming and film-related events to youth! (special guests, interactive workshops and a 24-Hour Film Challenge for young filmmakers)
The Festival also is going to premiere a documentary we had worked on called “FLY COLT FLY: The Legend of the Barefoot Bandit” chronicling the story of the daring and notorious teenage master thief known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” who managed to elude US authorities for almost three years. (did I mention he stole five airplanes?)
Directed by Adam and Andrew Gray, this captivating documentary uses animation, re-enactment, and interviews with family, media and law enforcement officials to tell the incredible story of an ingenious, daring and ultimately remorseful master thief who prompted equal amounts of frustration and admiration in those who pursued him. Fly Colt Fly is a very real tale of adventure and self-determination that you have to see to believe.
Screening Schedule HERE…
Concurrently, the 2nd Annual AoF Festival is also kicking off this weekend in lovely Los Angeles. (J.E.T. Studios in North Hollywood) This year, they will be showcasing 79 films and one of them happens to be CRIME: The Animated Series!
The festivals primary focus is to provide recognition to Asian/Pacific Islanders who are minorities in their film industries. It’s a smaller festival but has a big heart showcasing great films and world talent that otherwise may be missed.
That’s it. Two great festivals, two excellent cities. Go take your Honeybuns and Sweetypies to the movies because it’s also Valentines day weekend. ♥
Hey everyone, Sam here.
Hope you had a great holiday and are warm and safe.
It’s about that time again where we reminisce about the past year and dream about our goals for the next. 2013 was a challenging year for us at Style5.tv, and also for me personally. Between renovating/moving into our new home, moving into our new studio space at Smiley Guy Studios, fatherhood and daycare worries, (and the various illnesses that come with daycare) there was no shortage of surprises and challenges. This was truly my toughest year professionally and emotionally. I have this little quote written down nearby as a constant reminder. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” In other words, these are the times we level up.
Enough about adversities, here are the little victories or top 5 high moments for 2013.
We call it the Style 5, High 5! o/\o (*High five)
We partnered with a studio that I’ve admired for some time. Smiley Guy Studios. They are a mid-sized studio and have made their mark on Canadian television, creating their own shows and largely operating outside of the typical Canadian animation broadcasters. Imagine that. This year, Style5.tv moved in, (see “squatted”) to create and collaborate with with amazing and talented Smiley Guy crew. It has been a blast and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thanks to SG Director of Development, Mike Valiquette, our first collaboration was the web-series revamp of Captain Canuck.
Here’s to many more collaborations!
In the fall, we were invited to screen an episode of our animated, documentary web-series CRIME, at the Toronto REEL Asian Film Festival. I’ve been to several RAFF screenings before and they’ve always been humbling and inspirational. Seeing other Asian filmmakers telling their stories and following their passion was a definite kick in the butt for me. (And the feeling of camaraderie at this fest is unlike any other.) The Samson Styles: Fourth of July Episode screened only once before the Korean crime thriller Confession of Murder by director Jeong Byeong-gil. Btw Confessions was an excellent freakin movie. Go watch it NOW! SERIOUSLY! GO!
Special thanks to the RAFF team Aram Collier, Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Heather Keung, Chris Chin, Myung-Sun Kim.
I know it hasn’t happened yet, but the announcement was enough to make the list. We are thrilled and excited to be participating in one of the largest independent film festivals in the US.
To everyone that asked, yes, we’ll say Hi to Robert Redford for you. And yes, we’ll ask him about that 20 dollars he apparently owes you. 🙂
Sundance Screening times CRIME: THE ANIMATED SERIES – MARCUS MCGHEE
- 1/18/2014 9:30 pm Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
- 1/21/2014 9:00 am Temple Theatre, Park City
- 1/22/2014 5:30 pm Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
- 1/23/2014 4:00 pm Holiday Village Cinema 4, Park City
- 1/25/2014 6:45 pm Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City
Our film CRIME: Joe Loya- The Beirut Bandit was a mere 2:30 minutes long, so we were
surprised thrilled it was accepted at the prestigious festival. In September 2013, our film played in the Short Cuts Canada program and turned out to be the shortest film at TIFF that year. (with the longest title lol)
We had a full house at each screening and were honored to share the stage with some pretty incredible Canadian filmmakers.
Left to right: Neil Rathbone, Fraser Munden, Alexander Carson, Magali Simard, Trevor Cornish, Monia Chokri, Bruce Alcock, Claire Blanchet, Alix Lambert, Sam Chou.
One of the highlights of the fest was the film “Asphalt Watches” by Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehmen. This film is one of the wackiest and most surreal thing I’ve seen and I had a great time watching it. It’s also completely hand-animated in Flash. It took Seth and Shayne 8 years to complete and won “Best First Canadian Feature Film” at TIFF! That alone is motivation for me. BTW. When the last time an animated feature film came out ENTIRELY out of Canada? (was it Rock and Rule? Anyone?)
From watching films, to attending industry panels, to connecting with fellow filmmakers and of course, shmoozing (or trying to) at the parties, the 10-day festival went by surprisingly quick. If anyone hasn’t had the pleasure in attending the festival, I encourage you to do it. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and I hope to do it again soon.
The creation of CRIME: The Animated Series was a the most significant and artistically fulfilling project to come out of our studio. We told the stories we wanted to tell and did it effectively with a small budget. But that’s not the only reason why it’s #1 on our list.
It’s #1 because we had the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible artists, musicians, talents, storytellers, technicians and curators.
First of all, this all started with Alix Lambert. If she hadn’t believed in us, CRIME: TAS would have never got off the ground. We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to work with such a prolific artist, filmmaker, and author. Can you believe Alix and I developed this for 2 years, then produced the series without meeting face-to-face? That’s the power of internet, people! (I finally met Alix when we screened the finished series MOCA)
Yes, it was Alix’s Birthday
Special thanks to MOCAtv, Emma Reeves, John Toba, Bret Nicely, you believed in us and allowed us to run wild with this series. We cannot thank you enough.
Thanks to the amazing storytellers, Joe Bascetta, Joe Loya, Anon, Nelson George, Samson Styles, and Marcus Mcghee for allowing us to share your stories.
Ta2 Sound + Music for their masterful score and mix. Crush Inc for their emotional and technical support.
Last and definitely not least, the incredible artists/animators that put their sweat and soul into
their work. We could not have done this without you Freddy Carrasco, Michele Assarasakorn, Adam Temple, Kristoffer W. Mikkelsen, Firas Momani, Nathan Dewey, and Nick Fairhead.
Alix and I are working hard on continuing the series and we hope to give you more dark, heartbreaking and yes – sometimes funny stories of crime.
Small shout out to current projects Captain Canuck (Web-series), Johnny Physical Lives!! (short film) with Joshua Neuman , and CityKids with Ellery Vandoyeweert (Animated Series)!
ONWARD TO 2014!!! Let’s keep it growing!!