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Just a flicker on the screen

Flicker Films has some interesting projects in the near future



New Times spoke with Joseph Olesh, partner/producer of Flicker Films, and Producer/Director John Stanier, two local talents who head up a relatively new (started in January 2008) independent production company in SLO. While primarily producing local, regional, and national commercials, they also promote, develop, and produce documentary and narrative short and feature-length motion pictures. We viewed their latest films (they have done more than 40 projects since hanging their shingle): one about sustainable building; one about Proposition 8, filmed in San Francisco about a month ago; and one aimed at increasing enrollment at Mission College Prep in SLO. These guys also have dipped their toes into the film festival world, being selected for the SLO International Film Festival this year, and at the end of August their work is included in the BornShort Film Festival in Bornholm, Denmark.


New Times Tell me about Flicker Films.


Olesh Right now we are putting together a couple of proposals. One is a big proposal for a feature-length documentary that will be the expansion of a short film for another local company called Vitruvian, about their sustainable building [Vitruvian is a full service green building system: “Custom wall and roof panels, made with EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) and light gauge steel, combined with proprietary software, will cut-list and provide shop drawing accuracy to all elements of the structure and finishes.”]


New Times Why make this film?


Stanier We both strongly feel the world should know about this building company. The reason it doesn’t get great coverage is because it directly impacts the wood industry.


Olesh And we hope it’s just the beginning. A feature-length documentary would be groundbreaking [about Vitruvian]. It would be about Vitruvian, but also a snapshot of what is happening right now, sociologically, how it fits in.


New Times Your mission statement?


Stanier One of the reasons Joe and I work so well together is that we are two separate artistic entities. I’ve spent a lifetime in movies. Joe is a very intense artist.


New Times You work on corporate projects and fun stuff, like a film about Native Lounge’s Embodiment events.


Olesh As per the freedom, all of this is ours, so we can pop over to Native and shoot the battle of the salons on a whim, or do a corporate documentary.


New Times Do you enjoy both equally?


Olesh Yes, it doesn’t matter how avant-garde or how corporate, the film process is still the same.


New Times Tell me about the upcoming film festival.


Olesh Pride 2009, about Proposition 8, BornShort Film Festival. It’s the only festival that’s dedicated exclusively to short films and short documentaries. It includes locally produced music as well. We wanted not serious music, but grounded (check out for more information).


New Times So when you finished Pride 2009, a light bulb went on and you decided it needed to be submitted somewhere?


Olesh It was fun to see how people reacted to it and it was taken seriously.


New Times Do you go to into filming with an idea of what you want to film? You have a lot going on with this one.


Olesh I try to shoot everything and then we come back to put the story together. With Pride, there was so much emotion, you can’t help but get caught up in it, especially since I was right there, in the street, in the middle of the parade.


New Times Tell me about the Mission College Prep film (pictured).


Stanier Mission College Prep needed a film, their enrollment was down and they needed to “be seen.” This was Flicker’s first venture. It was an opportunity for us that turned out well.


Olesh The idea was three-fold: obviously for recruitment to go up, for younger kids to say “I want to go to that school,” and for parents to say, “I want my kid to sound like that,” and for people to say, “That’s a school worth investing in.” We told the story through the students. We asked questions rather than telling them what to say. We wanted it to be about 20 minutes and have it entertain families who would sit down to watch it.


New Times It’s powerful.


Christy Heron can be reached at


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