Director/Writer Ricky Staub and Producer/Writer Dan Walser are the founding team behind Neighborhood Film Co., a production team who recently released their first feature film Concrete Cowboy. On the other side of the table, we have famed producers Jeff Waxman and Jen Madeloff, who besides producing Concrete Cowboy, have worked on Vice, John Wick: Chapter 3, Mother!, and dozens more.
Our intention with the Reopen Challenge was to bring some light back into the world. But, even we didn’t know how far-reaching this effect would be, or how many impactful films would be made. There’s no greater example of this than Kyndra Kennedy’s Black.Matters, our judges’ winning selection for this year.
There’s nothing harder than doing work that conflicts with what you truly believe. So, instead of changing your mindset to adapt to your work, why not adapt your work to your mindset? That’s what Rand Getlin did. As a prominent sports reporter with the NFL Network, he enjoyed the job, but also felt constrained by the parameters of traditional journalism, so he left to start his own production company. According to him, it’s the same type of work, just tweaked to reflect his own philosophies on truth and objectivity.
The first thing Jesse Edwards tells us when we sit down to talk is that he’s a little sleep deprived. He and his brother Joel, the creative duo behind the Emmy Award–winning production studio Evolve, just got back from a six-day shoot in Portugal, a shoot that involved capturing every sunset and every sunrise. “It was super fun,” Jesse says, describing multiple 30-plus hour days. “The whole crew was having the time of their lives.” It was our first glimpse at the MO that permeates everything Evolve does: enthusiasm, adrenaline, fun. They push their work to new, often dangerous extremes not because that’s what their company has become known for, but because that’s just who they are. They’re the type of guys who jump into glaciers. They get close-ups of lions.
It wasn’t easy to find someone to interview about failure. It’s not just that people don’t like talking about their failures; they can’t remember them. Most failures are quickly forgotten — maybe as a form of mental self-defense. Everyone experiences failure; but when it comes to recalling specific defeats, people draw a blank. Which is why, over time, failure feels less like an acute pain and more like a chronic discomfort. It’s something we all must learn to live with. The question is: how can we live with it best?