A community-grounded collaboration, THE SNOW LEOPARD is a feature-length screenplay set in western Mongolia and Russia.
Logline: Near the border of Mongolia and Russia, a smuggler, a thief, and two border guards struggle, respectively, for closure, freedom, money and gratification.
The goal here is to produce a film that locals will find more truthful, inclusive, and respectful--and be more beneficial and inclusive of them in the production process--than documentaries about western Mongolia, made by outsiders.
The idea for it came when my partner, infant son and I spent three months living with nomadic herders in western Mongolia, working on a project in conjunction with The Snow Leopard Trust, funded in part by Banff Mountain Film.
'Non-fiction' filmmaking can be problematic, particularly when it reinforces a divide between filmmaker/viewer and subject. Such projects can be said to 'colonize' their subjects, presenting them as 'othered spectacles to be consumed' by Western audiences.
Likewise, fiction projects centered within mainstream perspectives and practices do little to connect their audiences with non 'first-world' concerns. And completely 'foreign' films often have little purchase in mainstream U.S. markets.
The Snow Leopard seeks the middle road. We're currently in development on this project, working with western Mongolian locals to translate and culturally-affirm this story.
She’s out of a job. He can’t drive stick. All there’s left to eat are nuggets and slaw. It’s going to be okay.
UNCLE’S CAR is about being willing to roll with life's incongruities.
An original, nano-budget, short fiction film created by an all-volunteer cast-n-crew, UNCLE’S CAR was supposed to be a ‘quick‘ learning project, but then we had to source a Porsche, lucked into an ideal location, and shot everything in RAW. Two years later, everything came out exactly right… or close enough!
An official selection of the:
2019 Clifton Film Celebration (Nov 8~10)
2019 Southeastern International Film Festival (Nov 8~10)
2019 (5th annual) Peak City International Film Festival (Sep 21~22)
CHRISTINA HASTINGS: The Drive In Gal
KARAN KUMAR: The Nephew
DR. STEPHEN PRINCE: The Doctor
ANDREW HUANG: Camera
JOHN CROWDER IV: Location Sound
ZACH CORTEZ: A.D. & 2nd Camera
C.DYE, K.KUMAR & Z. CORTEZ: Story
DIEN VO & RACHEL WEAVER: Assistant Editors
COLM DYE: Colorist
CHARLES DYE: Writer, Producer, Director, Editor
Special Thanks to:
ANN MCDONALD & FAMILY at JIMS DRIVE IN, in Dublin, VA
JACKSON NASR for the Porsche
VIRGINIA TECH School of Performing Arts | Cinema
Total Run Time: 7 minutes, 11 seconds
© DYE WORKS FILM 2019
Emmy Award, Documentary - Topical, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Northwest Chapter, 2016
Best Mountain Sports Film, Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, 2015
Best Women in Adventure Film, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, 2015
Best Running Film – Silver Award, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival, 2015
Television Non-Commercial Program of the Year, Montana Broadcasters Association, 2015
Best Action Film, Danish Adventure Film Festival, 2014
Finalist, Mountain Film Competition, Banff Mountain Film Festival, 2014
Television Broadcasts & Online Distribution
Online distribution via Netflix, available for streaming in over 190 countries, 2016–present
VOD on Amazon Prime, available for streaming in over 200 countries, 2015–present
VOD on Hulu and apps for Apple/Android devices, 2015–present
Cable broadcast in Europe and North Africa via AB Groupe and YLE, 2015
Representation by APT Worldwide for four years in international markets, 2015–2019
National public television broadcast on NETA, with repeated broadcasts on MontanaPBS, 2015
US Premiere: Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2015
World Premiere: Banff Mountain Film Festival, 2014
European Premiere: Danish Adventure Film Festival, 2014
Asian Premiere: Mumbai International Women’s Film Festival, 2014
Selected as the headliner for the 2015 Trails in Motion 3 World Tour, stopping in 167 cities in 26 countries, 14,000+ audience members
Official Selection, Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. Vancouver, Canada, 2015
Official Selection, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. Sheffield, United Kingdom, 2015
Official Selection, Green Mountain Film Festival. Montpelier, VT, 2015
Invited, Danish Adventure Film Festival’s Traveling Tour in Greenland, 2015
Invited, Trail Running Film Festival. Special Showings in Ashland, OR and Seattle, WA, 2015
Invited, Run Deep Film Festival. Boulder, CO, 2015
Invited, Livingston Film Festival. Livingston, MT, 2015
Girls on the Run, non-profit screening and fundraiser. Kalispell, MT, 2018
Gender Equality & You Conference, Montana State University, public screening. Bozeman, MT, 2017
James P. Taylor Outdoor Adventure Series, Green Mountain Club. Waterbury Center, VT, 2017
Montana Premiere Screening, Emerson Cultural Center. Bozeman, MT, 2015
Montana Premiere Screening, The Shane Center for the Arts. Livingston, MT, 2015
Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, public screening. Blacksburg, VA, 2015
Vermont Premiere 3-City Screening with Girls on the Run. Burlington/Brattleboro/Rutland, VT, 2015
Carroll College, public screening. Helena, MT, 2015
Run YHA, public screening. England and Wales, 2015
Junior State Team Orienteering, public screening. South Australia, 2015
Petzl America, public screening. Salt Lake City, UT, 2015
Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, public screening. Birmingham, AL, 2015
Recharge Sports, public screening. Bend, OR, 2015
Seven Hills Running Shop, public screening. Seattle, WA, 2015
Zoot Enterprises, public screening. Bozeman, MT, 2015
California 89 Adventure Film Series, public screening. Truckee, CA, 2015
Girls on the Run, non-profit screening. Steamboat Springs, CO, 2015
Trail Running Conference, non-profit screening. Estes Park, CO, 2015
East Hampton Library, non-profit screening. East Hampton, NY, 2015
Green Mountain Club, non-profit screening. Waterbury Center, VT, 2015
Race Montana, non-profit screenings across the state of MT, 2015
Work in progress screening at the University Film & Video Association's 68th Annual Conference. Bozeman, MT, 2014
Trailer screened in the Trail Running Film Festival, 30+ stops in the USA, 2014
In an age where obesity is the #1 killer in America, FINDING TRACTION presents the inspirational story of endurance specialist Nikki Kimball's quest to become the fastest person in history to run Vermont's 273 mile Long Trail.
This project grew out of idea Rick Smith had a for a human endurance film that I just couldn't let go. Luckily, Jaime Jacobsen (and Danny Schmidt, and many others) had the energy, care and time to make this project the fine film it is today. I'm very honored to be this film's co-producer/director.
Following three teams as they prepare for and compete across a grueling Indian Relay season, INDIAN RELAY is a unique, present-day American Indian story full of beauty, hope, determination and excitement.
2014 Emmy Award Winner: Cultural Documentary, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Region
2014 Emmy Award Winner: Photography, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Region
2014 Spur Award Winner: Best Documentary Script, Western Writers of America
Selected for PBS' Independent Lens: 932 broadcasts across the USA + repeats, > 902,000 viewers
Selected for the "Beautiful Games: American Indian Sport and Art" Special Exhibit. Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Winner: Audience Award – Best Native American Film: 2015 Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival
Best Action Film: 17th Annual Native American Indian Film & Video Festival of the Southeast, Columbia, South Carolina
Shown twice at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NYC) as part of the "Native Games / Native Stories" and "Rocky Mountain Time" programs
Comanche Nation College Film Festival Official Selection
Equus Film Festival NYC Official Selection
Opening Night Film: 2014 Interchange Film Festival, Bozeman, MT
1st Montana air: October 31, 2013
USA air: November 18, 2013
Winner of our first two Emmys!
Produced for MontanaPBS, BEFORE THERE PARKS: YELLOWSTONE & GLACIER THROUGH NATIVE EYES weaves an indigenous understanding of responsibility and relationship with how that worldview came to be marginalized--and how now it is being re-valorized.
2009 Emmy Award Winner: Historic-Cultural Program Special Category, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Region
2009 Emmy Award Winner: Photography, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Region
PBS National Program Service Primetime Broadcast
Shown at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NYC) in the "Rocky Mountain Time" program
Chosen for the Native Film Fest, Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, Palm Springs, California
When I took my wife and infant son to Mongolia to make a film about the rare and beautiful snow leopard (called 'elvis' in Kazakh Mongolian) I…
“…had no idea it would be a true passage. A uniquely personal natural history experience, A CAT CALLED ELVIS is a gorgeous vision of a nearly impossible journey, unfolding and revealing the filmmaker and the world we share with snow leopards.” (That’s how it was billed on Life on Terra.)
Produced in conjunction with, and support from The Snow Leopard Trust and Banff Mountain Film.
Featured film on www.lifeonterra.com when it won the 2007 Webby Award for Student Online Film and Video
Repeated broadcasts on MontanaPBS
A uniquely participatory web experience encouraging dialogue across Montana's sometimes polarized agro-economic aisle, The Lentil 360 is multi-part, educational VR project created in partnership with MontanaPBS and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems.
Slated to begin streaming in 2019, this 360- (spherical) video project allows viewers to ‘choose their own adventure’ through three subject areas—all relating to Montana-grown lentils: 1) sustainable farming, 2) food resiliency, and 3) dietary health and the cost of food.
Inspired by Liz Carlisle's award-winning book, The Lentil Underground, (and approved by Liz), the project was funded in part by a 2017 Film and Digital Media Grant from Humanities Montana, and by the Friends of MontanaPBS.
STAY TUNED for MORE!
The Virginia Dares project is a multi-creator production/online film festival towards decolonizing the story of Virginia Dare. It’s scheduled to open for entries in November 2019.
Intended to leverage social media for educational outreach, Virginia Dares seeks to help Americans reimagine one of the earliest chapters of ‘our’ history, re-envisioning the legend of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the first English settlement in the New World, c. 1588.
In its most widely available public expressions, Virginia Dare’s story has been principally controlled and shaped by guardians of so-called white identity, for whom the appearance of a native-born white female child has accrued immense symbolic importance, serving to legitimize:
1. English colonialism and the doctrines of divine right and manifest destiny
2. Anti-Indian propaganda, the vital ideological justification for colonialist genocide and expropriation
3. White female innocence, a key trope for racialist thinking in America, directed first toward Indians, and later toward peoples of African descent
As the British sociologist Stuart Hall famously argued, visual representations of otherness hold special cultural authority for both Westerners and the “others” they have displaced. The Virginia Dares project will question the authority of such visual representations in order to disrupt dominant narratives of the colonial past, and will explore the myriad resonances between 19th and 20th century myths about the European origins of American civilization and contemporary anti-feminist, anti-indigenous discourses. Ultimately, the project seeks to foster in its audiences a sense of responsibility to the past, present, and future of all the peoples we call “American.”
Virginia Dares is produced as a collaboration between faculty and students in the School of Performing Arts, the American Indian Studies program, and the School of Visual Arts.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
- 2019 Virginia Tech Presidential Principles of Community Award
- 2017 Virginia Tech | School of Performing Arts Bruce Carver Multicultural Arts Grant
There’s a lot of mind-blowing, bicycle-loving media in the world*, but I tend not to mix filmmaking (which I’m wary of) with cycling (which I adore). Still… ‘life finds a way.’
“Hang in There Peter” is a collaboration with a friend, for his dad. I think it’s fun/lovely document of a space and time. (But I don’t think it’s done yet. That title’s not quite right.)
“508+30” is an existential spherical project—in post-production. ‘Click-n-drag’ to get a better sense of the vidy.
*From before the sublime Life Cycles to the latest Brandon Semenuk (Google it) et al.
DID YOU KNOW? by Sophia Okorn. Winner of the 2018 Fear 2 Freedom Film Festival, Best Documentary 2017 Progeny Short Film Festival, Finalist 2017 Poe Film Festival
AGAINST THE CLOCK by Grant McMillan and Matt Iglesias. 2018 Poe Film Festival Finalist
WHAT GOES AROUND... by Youssra Chanaai & Lamiae Skalli
HALF by Andrew Huang, Sophia Okorn & Charles Dye
VALLEY of HOPE by Andrew Huang. Co-Winner of the Spirit of Appalachia Award, 2017 Progeny Short Film Festival
SPARK by Caitlyn Murray (Audience Choice Award, 2017 Progeny Film Festival, Official Selection, 2018 Queerbee LGBT Film Festival
THE GREEN MAN, by Loudna Taleb, Hazim Azghari & Ilham Hajji
THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY by Corey Barlow
HORIZON by Yacine Kaouti, Mohammed Serghini, Adel Abaab
HOTSPUR! Scene5, by Barlow Docherty Schurr Saikumar. (File under: ɪkˈspɛɹ.ə.mənt-ing) At Virginia Tech, there’s a culture of pushing technophillic boundaries. Add to this my internal ‘decolonization’ metronome + a bit of noodling by Bob Leonard and Cara Rawlings, & some crazy cool work by Karl Precoda and a whole room full of smart students, and out pops something like this!
VID SPILUM TÓNLIST, by Lizzie Eckman
BEG TO DIFFER by Lauren Ravert, Charles Dye and Mordecai Lecky
SNOODLES by Alex Gerstein
THURSDAY NIGHT WITH MICAH’S BACKPACK by Daveisha Gibson
More all the time!
With only one company’s demand for natural chewing gum keeping Guatemala's San Benito chicle cooperative in business, a sustainable source of local work teeters on the brink of oblivion. LAST OF THE GUM MEN documents one season in the lives of five of the last chicleros working in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
Distributed by the National Education Telecommunications Association and broadcast by PBS affiliates across the USA.
EAST OF PULSE, a projection for Annie Stevens’ & the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble’s performance of Henry Cowell’s PULSE, using imagery adapted from George Melford’s EAST OF BORNEO. Lyric Theatre, Blacksburg, VA, November 4, 2017. Karl Precoda co-producer.
KAITIAKITANGA: THREE ENDEAVORS IN CONSERVATION O TE TAU IHU is a wonderful project that I feel lucky to have edited for Dawson Dunning.
It's always great, years later, to see the final film when you're just one of its many cinematographers. On SOURCE TO SEA: THE COLUMBIA RIVER SWIM I spent a few days with Chris Swain, just as he was beginning his epic journey.
I ran a camera just one day for PRODIGAL SONS--but it was an interesting day for sure. It was hoot to hear my name is somewhere in the credits.
If down, as a maker, watch Ursula’s 1975 Aussiecon address.
The Implicit Association Test is worth taking.
And here’s a few of the short films I sometimes show in class (this list is about 300 films too short). (Just go to Short of the Week already!)
Red Green (I don’t know this great little film’s actual title, or really anything about it. Any info would be great appreciated!)
The Last Farm. (It’s on YouTube for free, but support Icelandic Cinema!)
Round About Five (wildcat link—please let me know if you can find an official one)
Zucht (wildcat link)
Evolution (Often copied, but still one of the best one-minute film, IMO).
Bears Ears (A multimedia/VR project backed by Patagonia. Make sure to experience the 360 content!)
And here, in 3 minutes, thanks to Van Draussen, is almost everything I can teach you.
Oh, one of my students just brought in Existential Bummer. It's pretty cool too. (And it preceded Interstellar by a year!)
For a long while I struggled to write the ideas behind BEAR into a written essay, but it turns out I’m not that kind of eco-phenomenologist.
When I first got to grad school, my films suffered. EWE was a return to me making films how I wanted to make them.
I began THE ELK HUNT after THE CYRSTAL MOUNTAIN fell through. Then I read The Omnivore's Dilemma and thought: Well, heck. Pollan did such an amazing job with Chapters 17 & 18--exactly what I was wanting to do with THE ELK HUNT (just 100 times better)--that I decided to just move on to grad school.
COMMERCIAL was a hoot to shoot for my friend Michael Cross.
Before LAST OF THE GUM MEN was edited, THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN was in production. To learn how to do something well, one just has to do it. Failing along the way is part of the process.
“…was really excellent -- the photography, the sound, the subtle but persistent manner in which it worms its way into a viewer's empathy and intellect and prompts pondering issues of personal import which are all too easy pushed aside. — Dr. Ekdal Buys.
A just for fun, overly serious, theoretical foray into fiction film, THE CURTSY is a post-structuralist (ha), revisionist (duh) Western adapted from the achingly-beautiful essay by Deirdre Stoelzle-Graves in the book, “Leaning into the Wind.”
Unfortunately, the revolution in imaging that came with DSLRs, growing kids, work overseas, larger documentary projects, and what seemed liked extortionate film festival entry fees, all curtailed the reach of this project. Which of course is somehow perfect, in its context.
The tales between our ears are the important ones. Honeying is my personal/professional blog--a documentary practice--reflexively juxtaposing memes, memories, words, aural-visual, eco-phenomenological! imagery, stories... One family's adventures, great & small.
“Sym-chthonic, not auto-chthonic, sympoietic, not autopoietic. All of us who care about recuperation, partial connections, and resurgence must learn to live and die well in the entanglements of the tentacular without always seeking to cut and bind everything in our way.”
(From “Donna Haraway and Cary Wolfe in Conversation”, Manifestly Haraway (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)
Otherwise, I’m still playing catch-up w/Instagram: dyeworksfilm (1 photo/honeying post)
And I’m (rarely) on FB.
Twitter? No way! Same as yelling out a car window while speeding down a road. We seek the opposite: #VISITING, #nevertweet
In film, through our stories, we find the visions and resolve we need to better appreciate and navigate our interdependent journeys. I love being a filmmaker and a filmmaking teacher because it allows me put my energy into helping create the kind of narratives that hopefully make at least a tiny bit of positive difference in this world. I see classrooms as community spaces, places for conversations toward thoughtful making. I am an ally, a co-learner and sometimes a guide, a fellow practitioner of this craft, delighted to be in the company of other film enthusiasts no matter what their experience-level.
In Iceland, leading a National Geographic Student Expedition, 2008
On Shackleford Banks, North Carolina, filming part of VIRGINIA DARES, 2018
(Inspired by Beverly DiAngelo’s About Me.)
I grew up middle class and mostly white in the American West, nearly unconscious of my race privilege and class oppression. My mother’s Oklahoma-born father said we were part Indian, but my mother’s recent DNA test did not confirm this.
Regardless, I grew up uneasy, in country seized by the U. S. military, mined and ever-more ‘developed’—a sunny, semi-settled, blatantly inequitable colony of a distant, addled empire, with warplanes often ‘training’ overhead and bombing ranges and intercontinental nuclear missile silos in most directions, beyond innumerable barbed-wire fences.
Crop-dusters rained poisons down on rectangles of what had once been (and would be again) desert, plowed with unsustainable machines, flooded with ancient water pumped from ever deeper wells. Elsewhere, in places utilized by people for more than twelve millenia, ‘wildernesses’ had been declared, to be spared this overt abuse, to exonerate us.
Only recently have I become slightly aware of how I/we was/am were/are socialized to collude with colonialism/racism; have I begun to explore my own multiple locations; how they function together to hold these short-sighted, destructive convictions in place.
Books I appreciate and recommend:
and anything by Ursula K. LeGuin
or N.K. Jemisin (especially The Broken Earth trilogy)
There’s also these 24 books!
As well as: