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Profile Spotlight: Chris Alstrin

On his day in Denver, Chris Alstrin takes hanging out to a whole new level with his interview of a painter adding a fresh coat to a clock tower.

Painting a Clock Tower (rough cut) from chris Alstrin on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?

My name is Chris Alstrin and I make movies about climbing and outdoor sports.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing? 

I was born in Pacifica, California and we moved to Colorado with my family when I was 12 years old.  I graduated from high school in 1995 and continued to The University of Colorado where I received my Bachelors in Geography and Environmental Sciences.  I’m a big climber and have always been excited to travel to exotic locations to establish new routes which is where my love for filmmaking was introduced.  I started dragging a video camera with me to these places and documented the events and the cool things we did.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?  

I think the biggest thing is being able to tell a story through motion pictures.  I’ve always enjoyed doing that whether it was a climbing trip in Vietnam or an interesting person whom I’ve met along the way.  I feel a short story can be so interesting and compelling when you dig deep and really get to know the subject you’re interviewing.

Who or what do you most admire?

I admire anyone who can get out and enjoy life to the fullest, especially those individuals who do it for fun and for themselves.

What do you love about Denver?  

Denver is one of those cities that still feel small once you’re in with the community and so it’s that small town feel I really love.

What do you fear most for Denver?  

I fear Denver will not put in carpool lanes along the major highway.  That is my biggest complaint about a city of this size.

What do you hope for Denver in the next 20 years? 

I hope they become more aware of the environment and change their current urban plans to really improve on public transportation, commuting by bike and carpooling because as we are now the traffic continues to deteriorate.

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Profile Spotlight: Anlo Sepulveda

Watch Anlo Sepulveda's day in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as he covers the US/Mexican border, showing how powerful politics and human hunting are side-stepping real solutions.

BORDER WALL LRGV from Anlo Sepulveda on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?

I am a cross genre filmmaker.  I love the creative process and challenging myself to make unique films that are a blend of documentary, narrative and experimental.  The unifying core of my films is finding spirituality through human connection and the natural world.  

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?

I grew up in Corpus Christi on the Texas coast.  My first connection to nature was surfing the empty beaches of Padre Island.  When I was 8 we moved to Belize and that was tha single most awesome experience of my childhood.  Behind my house was jungle and in front the ocean.  Everyday was adventure into nature, and I got to carry a machete everywhere.  

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

The first time I saw Star Wars at the drive in theater in Corpus Christi.  I think I realized for the first time that people created that and I knew that that's what I wanted to do.

Who or what do you most admire?

My wife and my 5 year old daughter.  They have taught me more about myself and the human condition than I could have ever imagined.  They constantly challenge me to grow and be the best person I can possibly be.  When you are that intimately connected to someone there is a lifetime of knowledge and true understanding about human experience that becomes available to you. It is truly a blessing.

What do you love about The Lower Rio Grande Valley?

I love the feel of being in between two worlds. Most borders are between countries that are very similar but the US and Mexico are very different countries economically, culturally and in many other ways. Except in The Lower Rio Grande Valley where the two worlds merge and create a unique place.

What do you fear most for The Lower Rio Grande Valley?

I think the greatest challenge and what I fear of the LRGV is the loss of self determination.  It seems like people from outside of the region make decisions that have a significant impact on day to day life. For example, almost no one in the region wants the border wall except the people building it. It is very disruptive for normal folks and useless in doing what it was designed to do.

What do you hope for The Lower Rio Grande Valley in the next 20 years?

I hope LRGV is able to excerpt more influence on its own future.  There is so much unique cultural richness and history that needs to be celebrated more.  My hope is that folks from outside the region will listen to the people here and allow them to make choices that enhance the beauty of this unique place.
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Profile Spotlight: Stebs Schinnerer

From technology to agriculture and everything in between, Stebs Schinnerer's Day in Boston shows how communities of the future are pulling together to work towards a unified vision.

One Day on Earth - Stebs Short Films Trailer from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?.

My name is Steve Schinnerer, but most people call me Stebs. For the past 5 years I have made a living as a freelance filmmaker shooting, directing and editing commercial and documentary work. Before that I worked for 7 years in the construction and landscaping industry.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?

I grew up in a small coastal town in Massachusetts raised by two loving parents who supported  me in almost everything I did. I had a younger sister and a few pets, liked riding bikes, playing outside and picking my nose.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

As a kid I always played with the huge VHS camera my grandfather left at my house and loved making silly videos. I worked in a video rental store for almost five years and watched all sorts of films and fell in love with the art form. As I grew older I held onto that interest and always wanted to find some way to make a living doing it. After graduating college I decided to try my hand at making films for other people and it just stuck. Though the driving forces I had for wanting to make films have changed over the years, my love for motion pictures has not.

Who or what do you most admire?

In just a few words: I most admire the human spirit.

What do you love about Boston?

I love how diverse the city is, both in its people and in its landscape. While we may have some problems of segregation, I think that Boston is home to some of the most progressive thinkers on the planet who are constantly striving to push the world forward, not just our city. The universities, fantastic communities, the close proximity to the ocean, woods, historical landmarks and all the incredible food make Boston one of my favorite cities in the world.

What do you fear most for Boston?

I fear that our social and racial segregation will lead to a city where the economic and prosperity gap will be so large that many of our under-resourced areas will fall to the wayside as our more affluent areas see greater and greater success.

What do you hope for Boston in the next 20 years?

I hope that as a community, we can come together and help to close the economic gap and allow for other, less privileged voices to be heard. I hope our city will continue to grow in the fields of technology, education and science, and that we see more world leaders born from our universities and for our citizens to continue to innovate and inspire the people around them.

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Profile Spotlight: Chris Hersey

Creativity meets creation in Chris Hersey's inspiring story about Detroit BMX bikers and their drive to build a community from the rubble:

One Day in Detroit: bmx from Christopher Hersey on Vimeo.

Who are you and what is your profession?.

I am Chris Hersey and currently living and working in the Detroit area as a Filmmaker.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?

I grew up in metro Detroit with what I'd consider a pretty average suburban upbringing. My teenage years where full of BMX, skateparks and punk and hardcore bands. When I graduated High School I thought I as going to be a carpenter for the rest of my life.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I think it's easy to say that my experiences and opportunities though BMX is what lead me to become a filmmaker. I got my first camera to film my friends on BMX bikes. We went on countless road trips and adventures solely for the purpose to find new and unique places to ride our bikes, the camera was just a tool to help me capture those moments and tell those stories. BMX became something greater for my friends and I as we all grew up and pursued jobs that in one way or another were spurred from BMX. I was always trying to push the quality of videos I was making with my friends, and eventually I ultimately wanted to tell stories.

Who or what do you most admire?

I admire people who pursue what they love and are passionate about. People who take risks.

What do you love about Detroit?

I love Detroit for what it is. There are a lot of bad things yes, but ultimately there is a large opportunity for hope and redefinition. I love that Detroit is full of people not waiting on the city or others to make change, but actually are willing to take charge and push for change themselves.

What do you fear most for Detroit?

I fear a Detroit full of average. In a sense, like my friend Jeff Tabb said, "I fear a Detroit without the character that his has now."

What do you hope for Detroit in the next 20 years?

I hope Detroit continues to grow in the already unique ways that it has been. I hope for more mom and pop shops and more community focused collectives. I hope for new growth and new ideas that continue to educate and empower people.

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