Thursday, August 5, 2010

Channel-ing His Childhood

For Minnesota native Jacob Kindberg, it began, as so many things tend to in the 21st century, with a Google search. The query he typed in was "Christian film schools in California."

The film programs at USC, UCLA and other institutions such as the Los Angeles Film School tend to get the majority of attention in southern California, but there is indeed a very good program in La Mirada on the campus of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA). The private university's most famous Hollywood graduate so far is Scott Derrickson, who went on to direct The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

"I think Betty Page went to BIOLA too, but they probably don't want to promote that," Kindberg says during an interview with FilmStew. "I wanted to approach filmmaking from a Christian perspective, and BIOLA was one of the only Christian schools with a good film program."

BIOLA University

"I was impressed with their desire to show us how to be great filmmakers who also serve Christ, not filmmakers who make "Christian" films for Christian audiences only," he continues. "When I graduated, I ended up getting my first editing gig through Craigslist. But in general, I think BIOLA has a great alumni network considering its size, and BIOLA graduates have a good reputation in Los Angeles."

Kindberg is currently en route to the Kahbang Music, Art and Film Festival in Bangor, Maine for the second film festival screening of his feature debut Channel News; it premiered in June at the Underground Exposure Film Festival, where it was crowned Best Minnesota Feature. In the film, Kindberg and his sister Sarah play a loose version of themselves, estranged twentysomething siblings who are inspired by their childhood home movies to launch an Internet variety show.

That was then...

"Sarah is a natural in front of the camera, and even though she never pursued acting as a career I knew she would be great in the movie," the former Apple Valley, MN resident beams. "She knocked it out of the park."

Although Kindberg admits he cannot really afford the L.A.-to-Maine plane ticket, he has slapped it on a credit card with the reasoning that this may be one of the few other film festival chances he gets (sister Sarah's work commitments prevent her from joining him). He hopes the east coast audience will appreciate one particular aspect of the $700 production as much as he does.

"The soundtrack is one of my favorite things about the film," Kindberg reveals. "I think Jason Reitman would be proud. It's made up of some of the great up and coming bands in Minneapolis and I am so thankful to them for letting me use their music. It includes Roma Di Luna, Peter Wolf Crier, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, Dan Israel, Wolfman Strikes Again!, The Arms Akimbo, The Drive Back, The Pistol Whippin' Party Penguins and The Starfolk. There's also one of my tracks in the closing credits; I had to throw that in there because like every director I secretly want to be a rock star."

This is now

As evidenced by the bio line of Kindberg's Twitter feed ('I make films. I make music. I make love... Well, one day I will'), this Minnesotan has a healthy sense of humor. Ask him about his favorite real-life childhood home movie collaborations made with Sarah and he points to a pair of James Bond movie spoofs. "We always delivered on the action, as long as your idea of action is watching me jump sideways on to the couch as I shoot unseen bad guys," he says.

The same goes for his immediate post-Kahbang plans for Channel News. "I have applied to about 30 festivals so far and the rejection letters are rolling in steadily," says Kindberg. "I will submit to Sundance but I'm sure I won't get in."

Turning serious, he adds: "It always hurts to get rejected, but honestly my goal with this film was to make it into at least one festival. I am officially a filmmaker now, I can actually introduce myself as a filmmaker, and that is a dream come true."

[Channel News]


  1. What a stud. Great little film!!

  2. Jacob wasn't kidding about the soundtrack. Fantastic stuff. Click on the individual band names to go to their MySpace pages, etc.