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#ScreenUpNYC Recap: Insights from Great Big Story

#ScreenUpNYC Recap: Insights from Great Big Story

ScreenUp NYC Recap: Insights from Great Big Story

After opening chapters in San Francisco and Los Angeles, the ScreenUp returned to where it all started this week — Brooklyn, New York.

Documentary filmmakers, video journalists, editors and creative directors made their way through the freezing rain to the Made In NY Media Center by IFP to watch innovative short-form videos and chat with the filmmakers who created them.

We were honored to have Matt Drake, Director of Content and Development at Great Big Story, CNN’s digital venture, as a speaker. He chatted with co-founder Alex Ragir about how GBS began, their relationship with CNN and their approach to storytelling. “We’re a company that was totally built from scratch,” Matt said during the Q&A. “We learned early on that we wanted to tell really cinematic, beautiful stories, but keep them taut and lean — something made to be consumed on mobile and on digital platforms.”

GBS is owned by CNN, but it’s run almost completely independently, he said. “We have our own editorial directives and our own voice, tone and culture,” he said of GBS, which is based in Union Square as opposed to Columbus Circle, where CNN’s offices are located. “But we have that luxury, to know that if we need to make a booking, or if we need to airdrop a producer in Namibia, we’ve got this amazing infrastructure that the company provides.”

Check out more photos taken during the event here.

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Here’s the recap of ScreenUp NYC:

Welcome to the Chilling Church of Bones

Publisher: Great Big Story

Producer: Jonathan Saruk

Sweden-based producer, Jonathan Saruk joined us via video chat from his family vacation in Thailand to talk about the production of his piece. The Sedlec Ossuary church is known as the “Church of Bones,” and is located just outside Prague. The chapel is embellished with over 40,000 human bones.

Jonathan explained how he flew into Prague from Sweden to shoot the piece, which meant he had to leave home at 4am. When he arrived at the church, he said he had limited time to film, so he shot the piece in just 90 minutes, and then took a flight back at 1am that same day. Well worth the trek!

True To Type: Running America’s Last Linotype Newspaper

Publisher: Great Big Story

Producer: Allison Otto

Next up was Colorado-based freelancer Allison Otto’s two-minute video about a man who publishes one of the last newspapers in the world using a Linotype. Allison joined the ScreenUp via video chat from Denver. She said the printer had been used in the same family for three generations.

This is not Allison’s first video for Great Big Story. Here’s another piece she did on the ice farmer of Colorado. Her next piece for GBS is about the origins and storage of sacred eagle feathers. Stay tuned!

Crossing Paths with A Narwhal | The Magical Aquatic World with Philippe Cousteau

Publisher: Great Big Story

This animated video by Great Big Story ended up being their “top performing piece of all time,” Matt said at the event. This piece brings us Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of explorer Jacques Cousteau, to teach us about narwhals, also known as “unicorns of the sea.”

How To Make It In: Berlin — Episode 105, Rita In Palma

Producers: Justine Siminson and Marcus Lehmann

The Made in NY Media Center by IFP also screened a piece done by two of their members, Justine Simonson and Marcus Lehmann. The story is about a Berlin-based fashion label that creates handmade couture accessories. Justine and Marcus explained during their Q&A that the project came out of a fellowship they were awarded in Germany, but they hope to find a sponsor to produce several videos in different cities worldwide. You can watch their first ten videos here.

This Backyard Astronomer Has Discovered 300 Asteroids and Counting

Publisher: Great Big Story

To end the night, Matt premiered the latest GBS piece about a backyard astronomer at #ScreenUpNYC. The video was published the next day.

Hope to see you at ScreenUp NYC next month!

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