On The Cusp, Longlist - Short Film - Non Fiction
Shortlist - Short Film - Non Fiction

WE ARE: A Visual Mission Statement from Jon Batiste

Bram VanderMark

Contrast Films

This was a very special project, as it was done before Jon's meteoric rise after his Grammy wins this year. Jon's thoughts were all before the major recognition he receives now, putting an even greater emphasis on their delivery. I sort of stumbled into a friendship with Jon after meeting him at a photo shoot in which I was assisting the photographer, Joe Greer. I began shooting photos at some of Jon's smaller shows in NYC, and Jon and I developed a sweet connection. When I met Jon, I had no knowledge of who he was, but I could tell he was a genius. I'm deeply honoured to have worked with him on this special film at such a pivotal moment in his life and career.

Growing up as the son of a studio artist, Bram learned the value of art, of colours and composition, emotion and meaning, and the power a beautiful image carries. Living in the countryside of rural Missouri while being raised by a creative Dutch father taught him to feel comfortable and at home with the converging of disparate ideas, cultures, thoughts, and perspectives. Bram cut his teeth in the live performance music space, fell in love with directing, and began to explore other kinds of expressions through film. While he deeply enjoys collaborating with musicians, working with actors is his favourite thing to be doing on a film set. He especially enjoys tackling stories that engage with the world in a meditative and contemplative way.