On November 6, 2011, after 40 episodes and 8 different casts, Zacuto’s very first web series, FilmFellas, came home on from the 53rd Annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards with an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Interview/Discussion Programming. FilmFellas has been nominated twice but this is the first Emmy win for the series. Zacuto first began producing FilmFellas in November of 2008 and it ran for 2.5 years, finally completing in 2010.
FilmFellas Producer/Director, Steve Weiss said in his acceptance speech, “We just want to say to our indie filmmakers all around the world that web TV is here and this Emmy is here to prove it.”
“This may sound cliché but it really is awesome to be recognized for doing something we love to do. I’m still astonished that we are competing with and beating broadcast shows,” says FilmFellas Producer and DP, Jens Bogehegn. “The lines are blurring and fast.”
Jens Bogehegn with wife, Cara Bogehegn & Steve Weiss with wife, Lucyna Wojtas
Bogehegn said in his acceptance speech, “We thank our friends in Hollywood that we interviewed for FilmFellas, Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, BSC, Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC, and Nancy Schreiber, ASC for their weight behind us and Zacuto films. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
This was a real shock, but such a welcome one,” says Weiss. “Three years entered, twice nominated and finally an Emmy. My direction of the series was twofold. I wanted to have the viewers learn from our guests but also be entertained while doing so. I always loved that scene in Goodfellas where they sat around the table in the kitchen talking about the various people they killed so I thought that would make a great setting for our chats with filmmakers.”
From wedding filmmakers to indie filmmakers, Directors of Photography, Documentarians and Hollywood Cinematographers, FilmFellas discussed the many different types of filmmaking with an array of filmmakers from all walks of life. The format of the show was simple. You take a group of filmmakers from different backgrounds and have them discuss their craft while they share a meal. It’s a basic 5 camera setup with a minimalist set design. Check out each one of the 8 casts as well as the episodes below:
“Jens took the idea a step farther with his elegant lighting scheme,” says Weiss. “It made the set feel like you were in a secret meeting. That’s where the concept came from. Plus, the top light with infinite black made for a great way to hide all of the cameras. I always love a circular dolly shot. That to me is what makes the show. It’s the shot that lets you slowly move amongst the players and scope it from your own point of view.”
While FilmFellas may be over, Zacuto is in production on several new shows as we speak. Two other Zacuto web series, BTS and The Great Camera Shootout 2011 were also nominated for Emmys this time around.
Steve Weiss with wife, Lucyna Wojtas at the 2011 Midwest Emmy’s
“I’ve gotten many emails asking us to make another FilmFellas. I have told everyone that if I could do one more, it would be a director’s series and we would only do it if we could get directors like JJ Abrams, Robert Rodriguez and the like. That would be fun, and I would do it,” says Weiss. “FilmFellas was my first webisodic series. I learned so much about web shows while cutting our chops on this series. In some of the original casts we thought that the webisodes needed to be short to keep people’s attention, but to my amazement the comments were just the opposite. Some people said that they were just getting into it and we cut them off. The other thing I learned is that originally I thought that if it had a quick cutting pace that it would make the show faster and more compelling. People said they didn’t like that, so we listened and slowed the pace of the cutting down. Again, when we started this we were blazing new trails and had no idea of what we were doing. It’s still one of my favorite projects and I love the concept and lighting that Jens did. It’s just a great way to peer into a conversation and it’s easy to feel like you are there.”
Steve Weiss, Scott Lynch & Jens Bogehegn
“FilmFellas was our first web show and it was incredible to be honored with an Emmy for our final cast. It seems fitting to have the award as a capstone to this little experimental project that we started almost three years ago as a one show test,” says FilmFellas Producer, Scott Lynch. “Having Nancy Schreiber ASC, Stephen Goldblatt, ASC, BSC and Rodney Charters, ASC, CSC, all in the same room was an educational experience for all of us. It was a privilege and an honor to share that intimate conversation with the world. The support we’ve received from our friends in Hollywood and the industry has inspired us to continue to provide the best in original programming that is both educational and entertaining. Thank you all for your continued support!”
Daniel Skubal with fiancé,Veronica LaPage
Check out the FilmFellas: After Dinner Special below for an inside look at the series. In the true style of FilmFellas shoots, Zacuto rolled the cameras for a solid 80 minute conversation between FilmFellas producers, Steve Weiss, Jens Bogehegn, Scott Lynch and Daniel Skubal. There were no cuts and no direction once action was called.
Watch the FilmFellas Cast 8: Commitment to the Craft below: