I was priveleged with the opportunity to direct and shoot a documentary commercial for Matt Morgan's campaign for the House of Representatives in Michigan's 1st District. Retired USMC Lt. Col. Matt Morgan worked closely with me on the Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima documentary for the Smithsonian Channel, and we have remained friends since. He was a producer as well as a part of the journey to uncover the truth of the identities of the men raising the flag in the iconic Rosenthal photo.
He is exactly the kind of person we need in Congress, and I was honored to be able to participate with a short film for his campaign.
Mad Tiger is a feature length documentary that I co-directed with Jonathan Yi. It's about two Japanese best friends that spent the last fifteen years traveling the United States in their performance art punk band called Peelander-Z. When one of them decides to quit, they face much deeper challenges than expected. The film is being distributed worldwide by Film Movement.
Mad Tiger screened theatrically in more than fifty cities across the world with sold out screenings in New York City at the IFC Center, the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Philadelphia, and several others. The film won an award for The Best Story at the Solo Positvo Film Festival in Opatija, Croatia. We have received tons of great press including Rolling Stone Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and New York Times. Dozens of other newspapers and blogs have given the film amazing coverage. Critics have been saying, "It's so good, I can't wait to see it again." - Steve Kopian, and "a must see documentary...an intoxicating mixture of audacious rock, humor, and tragedy." - Sean Mulvihill.
Mad Tiger is edited by Hisayo Kushida and produced by Josh Koury. The film is available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and you can purchase DVDs on the website. The Mad Tiger Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was composed by Daniel Salo and Joy Wants Eternity. It is available now on a vinyl picture disc as well as on iTunes.
I spent a year and a half in The Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe shooting two seasons of Behind Bars: Rookie Year for A&E. I was the director of photography working with an extremely talented team in the field and post.
The social dynamic in prison has rigid boundaries. However, there is no defined place for a production crew. We existed outside of any typical role in prison; neither authority, social worker, inmate, predator, nor prey. This created in interesting opportunity to connect with COs and inmates without all of the baggage of prison social structure. We could just be people. I'm very proud of what this intimacy allowed us to capture.
I recently completed an embed with the elite BORTAC unit of the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency. They are a Special Operations unit designated to fight the Mexican cartels in the United States. They serve numerous other functions as well including pursuing high value targets such as the escaped convicts from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York in 2015. A BORTAC agent tracked and killed the fugitive Richard Matt.
I had the incredible experience of traveling to Somalia and India as the director of photography for a UNICEF campaign focusing on their polio eradication efforts. It was a skeletal crew of extremely talented and resourceful people that made powerful bonds with one another.
We shot with multiple nomadic groups, a refugee camp, Indian trash pickers, and enslaved people that live and work in brick kilns. We off-roaded through a Somali mine field and wrangled disinterested camels on several occasions. It was emotionally challenging and physically crushing, but I'm very proud of what we were able to accomplish. I was most proud of the efforts of the UNICEF polio vaccination teams on the ground. In more than one instance, we would spot a nomadic family in the distance. When we approached them to offer a polio vaccination, they had already been vaccinated.
60 Days In was an incredible experience that I still can't believe we did. When the show was in development, I helped shape the concept of shooting with fixed-rig cameras in order to capture what happens with the production leaves the pod. I shot a few weeks on every season in Clark County Jail and Fulton County Jail, and I was the director of photography for all of season three. It was a monumental challenge that tested the limits of our tech team, field crews, and post-production. None of us will ever forget it.
I was the director of photography on a documentary for the Smithsonian Channel called, The Unknown Flag Raisers of Iwo Jima. This film is narrated by the legendary Gene Hackman who also happens to be a Marine Corps veteran. It chronicles the recent investigation into the identities of the Marines in the iconic Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second United States flag going up on Mount Saribachi on Iwo Jima. The man previously thought to be Navy Corpsman John Bradley is in fact Harold H. Schultz. The Lucky 8 TV producers of this documentary were instrumental in building the case to the Marine Corps to change the official record of the men in the photo.
In the summer fighting season of 2012, I embedded with Army Route Clearance in Kandahar and Helmand Provinces. I was with the Arctic Sappers—6th Battalion, 23rd Engineer Company, 3rd Platoon based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. I was the director of photography for a three part mini-series on The Discovery Channel called The Heroes of Hell's Highway.
Our missions were largely in support of British and Dutch special forces. Four shooter/producers each went outside the wire on combat missions while one shooter/producer covered the story from the Tactical Operational Command back on base. Our missions were six to nine days long, and we each had to manage about eight cameras including a Sony EX3, three Pansonic HCK 10s, Toshiba Ice Cube Cameras, GoPros, and I was fortunate enought to be given a prototype model of the Phantom Miro 320s.
It was an incredible life experience that I think about every day. It was a privelege to accompany my friends in the Buffalo, and I hope to honor them any way I can.
The day before Paul McCartney's surprise concert in Times Square, I worked with director Charlie Lightening and fellow shooter Jonathan Yi on exactly how to shoot what we knew would be an event discussed all over the world. We had to be quiet on the street picking our camera positions so we didn't blow the surprise. We sat in Jimmy's Corner, one of the last Times Square dive bars run by Muhammad Ali's old trainer, plotting how it would go. It felt like we were a part of something special, and we were. It was one of my career highlights.
I shot parts IV and V of a series of short documentaries for the Rwanda Girls Initiative called Educating Girls Changes Everything at the Gashora Girls Academy. I was unbelievably impressed by the hard work ethic and dedication to service that was commonplace at the school. I traveled with the students to a Burundian refuggee camp, a local farm, and a remote village. The girls were confronting patriarchy to make a difference at every step of the way, and they were still in high school. I will never forget the students I met during the shoot.
I worked on Steven Seagal: Lawman as the director of photography while he was in Phoenix, Arizona with an elite team of hand picked officers. It was an unforgettable experience full of surprises at every turn. Steven Seagal is unlike any person alive. He is a true warrior, and his deadliest weapon is an electric guitar.
I shot American Chopper when Paul Jr. began his own business right after he left Orange County Choppers. I was shooting under the director of photography, Omar Saleem.
That was an important time in the history of the show as well as a critical time in the lives of the cast. The struggle within the Teutal family was truly high drama. We had to shoot it live. There were no do-overs or staged scenes which really kept us on our toes. It's one of the shows that I think about the most.
I was a co-producer and unit production manager on an independent feature entitled Sweet Lorraine directed by Chris Frieri. It was an incredible cast; including Oscar winner Tatum O'Neal, Steven Bauer, Peter Greene, Jimmie Walker, and several others. Chris worked on the script with Abel Ferrara which should telegraph the milieu in which this film was made. The producing team was led by legendary producer Fred Zollo. Many of my craziest production stories come from this film. Throughout the entire production, I couldn't help but smile even when it seemed like we were going over the cliff.
I produced this video for the Twisted Sister song "30" that accompanied the 25th anniversary of their album Stay Hungry. The video is directed by Ben Kim, and I operated a camera under the director of photography, Jonathan Yi. It was a blast. Twisted Sister is the real deal.
I directed and shot a short video for Rachel Smith's business, Clinical Ear Piercing in SoHo.