Filmmaker On Why Young Global Leadership is Critical Today 

By Ian Gibson, 2019 Luce 24 Under 24 Award Recipient

New York, N.Y.  As a child, one of my favored pastimes was sifting through my father’s VHS collection of classic films. I became so enamored with what I saw on screen, that eventually I began using the family camcorder with the intent of producing films of my very own.

Many of these films were simply funny videos of my friends and I goofing around, and playing outlandish characters. Though, after a few months, I became very serious about what I was doing, eventually coming to the realization that I truly wanted to be a filmmaker going forward in my life.

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As such, going into my teenage years, I began writing, producing, shooting and editing my own projects. These ranged from web series about film history, to music videos, to short narratives, and even documentary content.

Then with all of this content under my belt, I realized the power films can have in showcasing a story, a way of life, or simply a different manner of thinking to an audience. As such, I decided to start my own production company titled, Frosted Independent Films, with the intent of creating content aimed at pushing the envelope of what films can do, and telling stories that have yet to be told. 

After the creation of Frosted Independent Films, I went on to attend The University of Texas at Austin’s film program, with a focus in cinematography. While in college, I utilized the resources made available to me to further push forward in creating content for Frosted Independent Films.

One of these projects titled, See Me, was a documentary that followed a homeless couple living on the streets of Austin, Texas. The goal of the film was to not only shed light on the rather large population of homeless individuals in the city, but to uncover how a person becomes homeless in the first place, and subsequently understand why it is that some people remain homeless for long periods of time.

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During the production of this film, I became personally close with the subjects, garnering a further understanding of who they were as human beings, and of the homeless culture in general. Upon its release, the film went on to do very well at film festivals, shedding light on these individuals and what they go through on a day to day basis. These people just wanted to be seen as just that—people, and I believe the film was able to accomplish that.

After graduating college, I decided to move to New York to continue pursuing a career in film making. Shortly after arriving, I became involved with a documentary feature titled Humanity Stoked. This film is a non-profit funded piece focusing on the various philanthropic, and human rights efforts of many leaders in the skateboarding community, with the overall goal of continually funding a larger non-profit organization titled WhatStopsYou, aimed at helping children in underprivileged communities.

SkateQilya_2016_Day08_CamA-565-WebLanding4_DARKENED_D-1080x608Humanity Stoked is a feature length documentary film
about the love of humanity and skateboarding.

While I’ve been a filmmaker for the better part of my life, skateboarding has remained a concurrent passion of mine, and as such, getting the opportunity to be a cinematographer on this project has been extremely gratifying for me personally. Not only have we gotten the chance to highlight the philanthropic efforts of many of the larger names in skateboarding such as Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Nyjah Houston and the like, but we’ve also gotten to showcase a multitude of professional skaters that are also members of the LGBTQ community, and hear their stories.

Throughout the production of the film, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of individuals I’ve looked up to for good portions of my life, but more importantly, it has given me the opportunity to share the stories of the subjects we’ve interviewed to the world, with the hope of reaching a large enough audience to make a difference in children’s lives. 

Whilst continuing to do work on the Humanity Stoked documentary, I began working at The Bird’s Nest Foundation, a production company aimed at aiding various non-profit organizations in producing video content for the purpose of promotion, and further donation garnering.

Street Soccer USA 600Street Soccer U.S.A.

Here, I work as a creative producer and cinematographer. Over the course of my time here, I’ve done projects with Street Soccer, an organization that gives children free access to team soccer, as well as Help USA, an organization aimed at providing housing for those in need, as well as many other organizations striving to offer assistance to those in need, in one way or another.

Overall, I’ve devoted my time at Bird’s Nest to creating projects that not only serve their purpose in garnering funding for nonprofits, but pushed to produce content that also gives individuals benefiting from these non-profit organizations a voice, and time to speak about what’s important to them in their lives, and how these organizations have directly affected them in a positive manner. 

I’ve now been involved with filmmaking for the last 12 years of my life. Through all of that time, I’ve had a multitude of amazing opportunities to showcase different kinds of people, and the various stories that surround them. I’ve been lucky enough to start a production company that is growing larger and larger by the day, as well as aid other production companies in their own respective growths.

Through all of this, I’ve gained a great deal of experience, knowledge and expertise in multiple different categories of film making. From cinematography, to color grading, writing, producing, direction, editing, sound design, and so many more. With all of this then, I hope to not only continue making films, and telling stories, but also to go forth toward participating in academia, so that I might be able to pass on my experience to the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers.

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As such, what young global leadership in my field boils down to is to allow for the further sharing and dispersal of individual stories and perspectives, whether it be from an interviewed documentary subject, a film maker writing a script, or teaching an up and coming film maker the craft so that they too can tell their own stories.

Ultimately, my goal is to lead the way in ensuring that the most amount of films that need to be made are made, because the more films that are made, the more stories can be told, and a higher level of understanding about who we are as people, all coming from our own walks of life, can be obtained. 

Ian Gibson
Ian Gibson is a cinematographer, colorist and editor from Austin, TX, now based in Brooklyn, N.Y. At a very young age, he began crafting his own short films, until eventually starting the independent production company, Frosted Independent Films. Since then, he has attended The University of Texas at Austin to study film, with a focus in Cinematography, and continues to work in the camera department on a multitude of films and web content. Throughout his 12 years of experience, Ian has been working with various projects and nonprofit organizations focusing on philanthropic, and human rights efforts.

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Ticket Reservations
Ticket(s) in advance are available at $48 each, tax-deductible and may be paid online via: http://tiny.cc/SummerSoiree2019 (or TEXT “Luce24” to 91999). Checks payable to The J. Luce Foundation may be sent to 540 Main St. #418, New York, N.Y. 10044. If you are unable to attend, please consider donating a ticket to sponsor one of our Young Global Leaders.

About The J. Luce Foundation
The Mission of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, Inc. (www.LuceFoundation.org) is to support young global leadership impacting positive social change, particularly in the fields of the Arts, Education and Orphan Care. Related charities include Orphans International Worldwide (OIW) and The New York Global Leaders Lions Club, both founded by Jim Luce, born July 24, 1959. 

See:
 July 24th, J. Luce Foundations 20th Annual Summer Soirée (7/19)
‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Summer Soirée Set for July 24 at the China Institute (6/19)
J. Luce Foundation Announces First ‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Awards (5/19)
J. Luce Leadership Team Lauded by Forbes, Gates, Ford Foundation (9/18)

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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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