Brookstreet Pictures is a young production company with an impressive resume of award winning short films. Their most recent project, Still Life, has already been accepted into seven film festivals, including both Toronto and Montreal. The producer-director team at the heart of Brookstreet is VFS grads Patrick White and Jon Knautz.
Patrick and Jon met in the VFS Film program in 2001. Patrick had just finished a degree in Communications and Jon, a self-described film addict, was looking for a way to feed his habit. The two connected immediately.
Pat appreciated Jon’s passion. “Jon and I were really enthusiastic. We knew we wanted to work together, but we never had the chance on the student projects. It wasn’t until we did Apt. 310 towards the end of the program that we were able to do so.”
The collaboration was worth the wait. Apt. 310 became a 9-minute noir thriller shot as part of the Final Projects in the Film program. It was accepted into eleven film festivals, and won awards for Best Student Film and Best Dramatic Film.
The two have been working together ever since. “Jon and I creatively are on par with each other. We’re never really satisfied. We push each other, and push the limits of what we can do,” Pat says.
A Creative Team
In 2004 Jon and Pat formed Brookstreet Pictures, along with producer Trevor Matthews, a graduate of the New York Film Academy who had worked with them on The Other Celia. They decided that Still Life, an award-winning short script by Charles Johnston, was the perfect flagship project. “Still Life was the first film we did together as a company,” Jon says. “It was a pretty great feeling.”
Still Life has served them well, earning its way into the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. “I didn’t believe it at first,” Jon says. “I thought Pat was kidding. It was pretty surreal.”
For Jon, running a small production company is its own reward. “I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself, if I wasn’t making movies,” he says. “Film takes so much time and money, it’s a struggle to get a project off the ground. So being able to work like this is a dream come true.”
A Career in Filmmaking
The two hope to continue their success with plans for two features in the works. “We’re fortunate enough to have some committed financing. We’re talking to distributors, and we’re very optimistic about shooting in the first half of 2006,” Pat says.
Pat and Jon credit their time at VFS as a key factor in their success. “I used to always hear advice to make your mistakes in film school,” Jon says, “and I was like, ‘no way, I’m not going to make any mistakes.’ But now that I’ve graduated, I’d say that’s probably good advice. Enjoy it and learn as much as you can.”
Pat agrees. “You’ve got to really want it, because there’s so much rejection. You’ve got to really want it, and you’ve really got to fight for it. Push the limits.”