Amoeba Films

Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator
Viral

Project Underdog :: Political Commercials

Everybody likes an underdog. Well, I do anyway.

In the Charlottesville City Council race, we had plenty. The Democrats, who I usually support, had a lock down on the vote. And frankly I thought it was unfair … and undemocratic to ignore the Independents in the race. Everyone deserves a chance to state their platform. I would give them that chance. Thus, Project Underdog was born.

Brandon Collins was running as a Socialist. Yes, a Socialist – card carrying. I thought they were going to tar and feather him.

His affiliation wasn’t some nouveau riche affectation. It was a sincere representation of the starving class. You see, Brandon is a dishwasher the Blue Moon Diner – albeit an overqualified dishwasher. He also plays the cello and teaches music. And he cares about poor people.

I interviewed him for a couple hours at Random Row Books, investigating his stances on poverty, labor and housing. Quite enlightening. You can’t get to the hospital by bus on a Sunday. I didn’t know that. 20% of the city lives below the poverty line. I didn’t know that either.

That’s what there spots were about. Plus some cello. I knew that was going to make them hit home. And the reality of his circumstances. Somebody commented on the videos: “I’ll vote for someone who rides the bus.”

Brandon didn’t win. But he got nearly 1,500 votes. Not bad for a Socialist.

I also did several spots for Independent Bob Fenwick. He got over 2,500 votes. And he also lost. I guess that’s why they’re called underdogs. And I still love them.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Chew on This :: Viral Video

How do you create a buzz, without using honey? (Or money?) Answer: Music.

You know the Beatles song Come Together? Well, apparently John Lennon had originally written it as Timothy Leary’s campaign song, when he ran against Ronald Reagan for Governor of California. Leary got caught with pot and dropped out of the race, but the song remained. Now I know what all those crazy lyrics were about.

Well, my wife Ivana Kadija was running for City School Board. So I asked my musician friend Gene Osborn of We Are Star Children to write her a campaign song, based on her platform that “Health is Academic.”

His song was so good I had some other friends cover it. Next thing you know I have these eight great songs that people are sharing all over facebook (Gene’s original song A Stronger Mind got 100 “likes” and 40 “shares” in three days). Other bands contributing to this project included: Devon Sproule, Birdlips, Beleza Brazil, Dave Berzonsky, Trevor Przyuski, Estela Knott, and Fritz Berry.

I decided they needed videos to go with them – so, in the eleventh hour, I pulled together four videos featuring some of the more popular covers.

The “Health is Academic” platform became so influential, that most of the other candidates adopted some version of it into their bullet points. And, it became the subject of public debates, radio shows and more than a few letters to the editor.

Alas, Ivana lost. And I learned a lot about elections, dirty tricks and the extreme advantages the wealthy have in American politics. But the songs live on. And so does their message.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

CLAW :: Kickstarter Video

In 2008, right here in Charlottesville (in the backroom of the Blue Moon Diner), a national movement began. No, it wasn’t politics (we did the Coffee Party thing at Cafe Cubano). It was CLAW – Charlottesville Ladies Arm Wrestlers. And now it’s spreading like cooties.

Brooklyn, Chicago, DC, New Orleans – all across the country, women are signing up for arm wrestling “brawls” dressed as pregnant brides, Indian housewives and the occasional banana. Part theater, part sport, part women’s empowerment and all philanthropy – these events, the brainchild of Jennifer Tidwell and Jodie Plaisance, are raising thousands of dollars for charities while fueling, for some, the fourth wave of feminism. Gloria Steinem, watch out.

Now, we are making a feature documentary about the revolution. A four year saga, starting at its roots, and heading through the 2012 CLAW Roadshow on to the nationals (Vegas?), our CLAW doc is geared toward a festival spot at SXSW, if we grant the Gods their due.

This teaser was created to promote our Kickstarter.com campaign to raise funds for travel and editing. In the wake of the teaser we’ve done a few media stories – and secured an angel donor who will match whatever funds we raise on Kickstarter. Who says patronage is dead?

The doc is being made in collaboration with superstar photographer Billy Hunt, who takes pictures and makes videos and chews bubblegum – but he is all out of bubblegum. His clients include Modern Luxury, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, More Magazine, Virginia Living Magazine, Urban Ink, Forward/Adelante, and a ton of cool bands, people, and businesses. A few of Billy’s CLAW photos are featured below.

Yeah, this doc’s going to rock.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

CLAWney Island :: Viral Video

I love a carnival freakshow. Jim Rose, Coney Island, the Republican presidential ticket. So when CLAW asked us to make a teaser for their upcoming wrestling brawl “CLAWney ISLAND” – how could we say no? Besides, these ladies are tough.

Mermaids, beauty queens, a three-armed wonder and the world’s largest embodiment of positive energy, Strawberry Tallcake. Now, that’s entertainment.

We filmed the entire thing on a blue screen (too much green in the costumes) at Billy Hunt studios – then I pulled it into Final Cut and worked some compositing magic with old postcards. The barker is not CGI (as some have guessed) – it’s a mannequin shot live and superimposed with Jennifer Tidwell’s mouth. The biggest challenge was not making the poses too cheesecake. Just enough weirdness to make you wonder.

You can see the World’s Most Dangerous Women at the CLAWney Island freakshow on Saturday, May 28th at 8 pm at the Blue Moon DIner. Eight ladies with anywhere from 13-19 arms duking it out for the title belt and the trophy. All proceeds go to A FERTILE Foundation which offers unique opportunities for individuals with special needs to connect with nature, animals, and their community.

For ringside seating, contact Tara Hodges at A FERTILE Foundation at missfreedom@yahoo.com. Also, don’t miss the funky-ass house band, We Are Star Children , and featured freaky musical act Mister Baby! Plus, Opal should be there swallowing a sword, or hopefully hammering nails into her nose.

Photos below by Billy Hunt.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Food Fight :: Viral Video

Three moms in Charlottesville were taking on Big Fast Food, in an online contest from a site called yoxi.com. They had survived a few rounds of elimination and I wanted to help boost their chances at taking down the clown.

This “beat” poetry spot I wrote was shot in a makeshift boxing ring in a local mixed-martial arts facility. Key was making it look enough like Ronald without actually being Ronald (local actor Jon Emm, playing the pugilist clown). Incidentally, those stars and stripes Rocky Balboa shorts on Denise Stewart are mine. Music from our good friends at We Are Star Children.

The spot culminated in the creation of a fictional non-profit NOMAC – the National Organization of Mothers Against Clowns. And although they got passionate support from a lot of moms (and dads), they were eventually eliminated in the semi-finals (by some hipsters in New Haven hawking Pad Thai in a pita). At least they didn’t go down without a fight.

This was their mid-competition press release:

“By 2020, half of Americans will be diabetic,” warns Ivana Kadija, a Charlottesville health coach. “Somebody has to do stand up and do something … if only to protect the kids.”

She and two other Charlottesville moms (teacher Emily Morrison and non-profit exec Wendy Philleo) have been selected by a nationwide competition to redefine fast food. In the last round, their team, “Food For Thought,” came first in votes, bringing them to the semifinals.

If they win, they could receive up to $40k to help promote their idea, and change the face of food in America and more importantly in Charlottesville, where they head up the Charlottesville Food Initiative.

Their primary focus in this competition is to address predatory fast food marketing directed at children. According to the American Psychological Association, it is “fundamentally unfair” to market to children 8 and under, “who can’t recognize the persuasive intent of advertising and to filter its messages accordingly.”

What irks these moms most is the “pester power” fast food marketers rely on. If children beg enough, they’ll get busy parents to bring them to the burger joints. The junk food industry directs $1.6 billion in ad revenue at kids in the US every year. It pays off. According to market studies, 40% of kids ask for fast food once a week. 15% of preschoolers ask for it every day. What are they getting? Bad nutrition and early-onset diabetes.

“Of 3,000 fast food franchise kids’ meals offered only 15 meet minimum nutrition criteria,” quotes Kadija, citing a recent study by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. One in five American kids is obese. And one in three faces a life with diabetes. “Can’t these companies see they’re killing kids?”

The moms’ first target: the clown. McDonalds far outspends all other fast food franchises in targeting children. 40% of their marketing dollars are aimed at kids. In the last three years, they’ve increased ad spending on kids by 26%. They are the largest distributer of toys in the US and operate more playgrounds (8,000) than any other entity. 96% of American kids recognize Ronald McDonald – second only to Santa Claus.

“We need to burst that clown’s balloon,” says Kadija.

For more information on Food For Thought, contact Ivana Kadija at:

434-293-2804 or ivana@yourishment.com

 

 

 

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Dragon Wagon :: Kickstarter Promo

Yes, it breathes fire.

Rockstar/artist/genius Christian Breeden wanted to build a fire-breathing dragon. Actually a second fire-breathing dragon. This one out of his grandma’s Grand Marquis.

I shot this video in about fifteen minutes to help him raise a few grand on Kickstarter (he got his funds). Didn’t know then that the Canon 5D’s Image Stabilizer made a grinding noise on the on camera mic. Live and learn.

The dragon went on the Floyd Fest and Transformus  …  and became the star of the feature film Lake Effects, shot on Smith Mountain Lake in Southern Virginia.


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Open Space :: Viral Video

Rockstar photographer Billy Hunt and performance empressario Jen Tidwell asked me to help a co-working company called Open Space to advertise the opening of their Charlottesville facilities. We all wanted to do something viral that demonstrated the concept with a bit of relevant humor. And was a bit of a stunt.

So, we set up an office cubicle in a parking lot for an afternoon. Jen tried to get some business done and hammed it up with passerby. Billy and I shot the fun. Gene Osborn (of We Are Star Children) wrote the score.

Here’s a little more on Open Space from a local news source.

Open Space Helps Get You Off The Streets
cvillain.com November 15th, 2009

Ah, the office life. Your little slice of cubicle heaven: coffee, pictures of children and ‘motivational’ posters adorn the walls, impromptu meetings, copy, fax, file, coffee, scan, e-mail, coffee, repeat.

Jeff Gunther has a slightly different idea for a slightly different workforce here in Charlottesville. For many local mobile warriors, turning wherever you find yourself into a workspace is the status-quo. However, without access to printers, actual desk space, big screen monitors, and conference rooms, Java Java can’t quite provide all we may require (love the mochas though).

Jeff’s idea started with the build out of the new office space located near ACAC in the warehouse district, and extended to provide all that an employee without tethers could require. The space is cleanly designed, with intricate details which make it visually fun to be in. The color scheme, while reminiscent of the Cupertino crew, doesn’t offend us Redmond individuals in the house. The conference/group rooms come in various sizes and goals, with everything from 16 individuals being comfortably seated at a standard oval table, to smaller more tightly knit rooms with multiple monitors and different desk designs.

Pricing is rather reasonable, with hourly rates starting at only $5-$8 depending upon your monthly plan. A concierge is available to assist you in your world conquering goals, book events, and generally clean up after you. Coffee is included. Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat-Sun 12-6.

http://getopenspace.com/

 


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759