7
Jan
2022
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Directors Steve Conry and Christian Schultz find the heart of the Electric Forest Music Festival

(Last Updated On: January 7, 2022)

Directors Steve Conry and Christian Schultz recently released this heartfelt documentary that celebrates the 10 year anniversary of world famous music festival, Electric Forest. Electric Forest is co-produced by Madison House Presents and Insomniac Events who gave Conry and Schultz carte blanche to document the festival through their own eyes. Although the film was meant to be a 10 year anniversary, this directing duo saw an opportunity to push the boundaries and focus on creating something that could help define how much the festival means to people. The project quickly became a labor of love for Conry and Schultz and after three years in the making, it made its debut on Vimeo and the Electric Forest Youtube page. Within the first week, it racked up tens-of-thousands of views and quickly collected a Vimeo Staff pick.

Here is a small interview with Steve Conry and Christian Schultz on the success of their collaboration together.

But first, let’s enjoy this heartfelt documentary short…

Here is a Q&A with directors Steve Conry & Christian Schultz on their documentary film for Electric Forest music festival. Questions by: Seed Media Arts, Executive Producer, Bradley Johnson

Tell me how the collaboration between the two of you began? 

Steve: I had been listening to Christian’s podcast and could see that we had a similar mindset. Christian had never been to Electric Forest, and for me, that was exciting. We have this base level of similarity in taste, but we’re also very different. I was coming from years of experience at the festival vs. Christian coming with a fresh set of eyes. The entire project was a dance of balancing the spirit from within and the truth of it from the outside.

Christian: I hadn’t thought about it.. but what a bold move to bring someone in who’s never been there. I’d like to believe that it truly did make the film what it is today.

How does the duality of epic and macro moments work in the film and was it intentional? 

Directors Steve Conry and Christian Schultz recently released documentary celebrating Electric Forest

Christian: Early on we set up a box of rules. It would be really easy to get lost if we didn’t have anything to go by. One of those rules was we don’t show something big without something small. A perfect example of this is the moment Odesza takes the stage and the fireworks explode, into a moment with this long shot of Kai, a deaf woman, almost in silence. It’s just bass for 20 – 25 seconds. It’s such a polarizing moment that brings the audience into a purpose. It allows you to experience the big moment and then quickly re-calibrate you to what the film is all about.

And what is the film all about? 

Steve: At first we were asked to create a 10 year anniversary film that celebrates Electric Forest, but Christian and I saw a much bigger opportunity. It’s about all the little moments that make up this huge spectacle. In some ways it’s about connection and in some ways it’s an attempt to define something that can not be defined. The videos we make are the closest thing people have to sharing the experience with someone who’s never been.

Christian: That’s why we needed to create a hotline to get people’s personal experiences from the festival. 

Yes! Tell me more about why you chose to make a hotline for people to call into?

Steve: Early on, Jeremy Stein, who started the festival, emphasized how much people love and care about Electric Forest and the importance of this love to come through in the doc. So one of the challenges was how do we not lose the voice of the people that ultimately make Electric Forest what it is? 

Christian: But how do you possibly interview the right people with the right stories and elicit the right emotional tone? If you put a big cinema camera down in front of someone at a festival, there’s a low likelihood that you’re going to get the intimacy that you’re really craving. In answering those questions, we landed on this idea of setting up a hotline for people to share their own personal experience. We must have received hundreds of these voicemails and we literally listened to every single one.

Steve: And then we came up with this idea to shoot a pickup day in Los Angeles of an answering machine in a living room, as if they were calling home to share their personal experiences. This was an intentional decision because people that attend the festival are known as “Forest Family” and we wanted to showcase the meaning of family within the doc. The living room b-roll also gave the viewer a nice break from all the festival coverage in my opinion. 

How did you technically approach the film? 

Christian: It was all very planned out from the first three day’s Steve and I spent together talking about the project.. but we left just enough room for happy accidents. We used Dan Harmon’s method of the “Story Clock” that essentially guided this project from start to finish. Check it out if you don’t know about the “Story Clock” method, it’s a very helpful tool.

Steve: That’s true.. the “Story Clock” was a really cool way to lay out the documentary early on to see when two things were truly connected and then how they paid off when paired together. I think this payoff shows up in every scene that accumulates to the larger narrative we had intended for.

What did this project mean to you?

Steve: Electric Forest cultivates and fosters creativity incredibly well. They’ve always trusted artists and I think that’s true across the board. Whether you’re a musician or a filmmaker or a sculptor, the festival holds a space for us to just create. This short film started for us as a passion project, and really concluded as a true labor of love. 

Credits:
Production Company………………………..Cinesthetics
Directed by……….Steve Conry and Christian Schultz
Executive Producer………………………..Mared Hidalgo
Producer……………………………………….Abraham Felix
Producer………………………………………Christ Heinrich
Cinematographer………………………………Steve Conry
Production Designer……………………..Brittany Ingram
Post-Production………………………………………Format
Editor…………………….Christian Schultz, Steve Conry
Sound Designer…………………………Christian Stropko
Animator……………………………………..Martyn Thomas
Colorist……………………………………………Steve Conry
Steadicam…………………………………………Calvin Falk
Steadicam……………………………………….Dalton Price
Camera Operator…………………………………..Viet Mac
Camera Operator…………………………….Luke Youngs
Camera Operator……………………..Shane Farnsworth
Camera Operator………………………………..Laine Kelly
First AC………………………………………….Tommy Chan
First AC………………………………………….Lauren Peele
First AC…………………………………………Jordan Wood
Sound Mixer……………………………….Michael Amman
Sound Mixer………………………………David Griesinger
Gaffer……………………………………………Tate McCurdy
Gaffer………………………………………………..Colvin Ang
Data Manager………………………………..Nigel Robbins
Art PA…………………………………………Vanessa Wilson
Production Assistant………………………..Max Hayden
Production Assistant…………………..Patrick Guenther
Production Assistant…………………..Alyssa Anderson
Production Assistant………………………Heather Kanig
GIF Photographer…………………………………Olivia Bee
Photographer……………………………….Tiffany Lachner
Media Director………………………………Darcy Johnson
Media Director……………………………….Andrew Stone
Interview Coordinator……………..Sydney Schavietello
Music Supervisor……………………………….Adam Foley
Title Designer……………………………………Eric Hurtgen
“The Ring” Lead………………………………….Teri Wyble
“The Ring” Friend………………………….Tiffany Lachner

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