This week we would like to feature a member from all the way across the Atlantic in Cambridge, England. Antony Kwok is the founder of Brother Bear Films Ltd., a production company who does everything from short films, to commercials, to music videos. At Brother Bear Films, he works alongside teammates Lewis, Harvey, Kaly, and Sam to create some truly amazing work. Check out the full interview!
1. Tell us about yourself, personally and creatively.
I’m a Cambridge based filmmaker, founder of Brother Bear Films Ltd. I’ve been told I’m always relaxed and calm, even when things go wrong. Since dropping out of University I’ve pushed my previous company into success with TV/Cinema adverts and early this year I moved back to my hometown to embark on a fresh journey with my latest company (Brother Bear), with the intention of focusing more on narrative driven work.
2. What first interested you in film?
Oldboy. After viewing this film, I knew what I wanted to do. During this time I was just starting College and got my first taste of film work through my Media Studies course. During my gap year I bought my first camera and began entering competitions. Shortly after that I upgraded to a DSLR and studied in my spare time to learn everything I could about filmmaking.
3. What drew you to the Zooppa community?
A member of Zooppa contacted me previously regarding a Disney project; unfortunately I was busy on a couple of jobs so we didn’t have time to create something. So instead I signed up and kept checking on the site for any projects we could be involved with, our first being for Unilever which was great fun. Zooppa is an incredible platform for filmmakers starting out to express themselves, get industry contracts and improve their abilities.
4. What do you like most about crowdsourced film contests?
Seeing the diverse talents that are brought together, how vastly different everyone’s videos can be to one brief is exciting.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not creating video masterpieces?
Unsurprisingly my spare time is almost always dominated with catching up on new films and TV series. Recently Bron/Broen has been the highlight of my leisure time. On top of this, I’m an avid gamer; gaming has developed over the past few years as not just a medium for entertainment but a way to tell stories in exciting new ways! Lastly music, whether it’s going to live gigs or discovering new music – quite a large chunk of my time is spent consuming music.
6. Where is home for you?
7. Where do/did you go to school? How has your education influenced your filmmaking?
I went to Long Road Sixth Form College, which is where I got my first taste of filmmaking on my media studies course. I went onto study Film and Television Production at Sheffield Hallam University. I actually ended up dropping out after two years and went straight into being employed by another university to make a national advert for them!
Despite dropping out, I still believe that education has influenced my filmmaking. It guided me through the first few stepping-stones of filmmaking. Collaboration was a core part of my course, helping me develop these skills was vital to working and creating a well-oiled crew in the future.
8. What/where do you find inspiration for your films? Share a bit about your creative process.
Pretty much everything, it’s funny how the smallest, seemingly insignificant thing can give inspiration. Once I saw a man in a cafe, he sat there for an hour or so, with his coffee and a handful of pills on a small tissue in front of him. He sat there, never taking a sip of his coffee but simply staring at the pills in front of him, moments like this that people may miss or consider irrelevant or just strange can inspire me – I’ll start thinking of what he could be thinking, why is he there? What is stopping him from taking the pills? What are they for? How did he get to this point where these pills seem so difficult to take?
Then there are the usual inspiration from cinema, TV and music. I’m often inspired by concepts that other films touch upon, that I think I would like to expand or explore in my own way. For music it varies between the story told by the lyrics to the emotions and atmosphere that the music conveys.
9. Which was your favorite Zooppa contest to participate in? Why?
So far we’ve only participated in one Zooppa contest, Unilever, but had great fun working on this project, which gave us the chance to try out some skills we’ve previously not had the chance to use, including Rotoscoping and animation. This is one of the exciting opportunities Zooppa gives filmmakers, it’s a chance to not only work with big brands but to push yourself and to try techniques or styles that have previously been unexplored.
10. What are you currently working on (job, films)?
Currently we’re in the mist of releasing a group of acoustic sessions we recorded at the oldest chapel in Cambridge, Leper Chapel. Since music is a large part of my life along with discovering new acts, we decided to start hosting these sessions with local bands and buskers to promote music in Cambridge. We’ve had the honour of hosting 3 so far (bi-monthly) and are looking forward to more in the future. We’re also working on a feature film slated for production next August and next weekend we’ve packed in 5 shoots into 5 days as we try out the Sony FS700 slow motion camera for the first time!
11. What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
To keep doing what I love, featuring in Cannes Film Festival in one way or another would be one of my top goals.
12. Link us to any work/a portfolio that you would like mentioned.
My current companies work:
Lester J Allen – 30 Pills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut3XzAQd2JY
e-Luminate Festival 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct2CYAVUWeI
Bacon is Love, Bacon is Life: http://www.poptent.com/media/72647
My work from my previous company, here I was Company Director, DoP & Editor for all projects:
Edge Hill University – Walk Through Walls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw25Svb4164
Heelys – Start Your Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l72m9rMdAuM