by: The Leclerc Brothers
Location: Currently Seattle, Washington
1. Tell us about the Leclerc Brothers. Who are you guys?
So, here's the non-glamorous version. We're a couple of reforming country kids seeking to make a difference for Christ and His kingdom through the medium of film. Sometimes I wake up and think I have the best life in the world, other times I wonder why on earth God put us down this often crazy road of filmmaking!
Our story begins in Wisconsin on the shores of lake Michigan where we grew up in an old farm house, the two oldest in a family of nine. Yes, the experiment children! Despite what might be described as humble beginnings, I like to believe we had a pretty awesome upbringing with godly parents who faithfully encouraged us in the arts from an early age. However, It wasn't until we were in our mid teens when we submitted our first film for a Christian film festival that started us on this journey we're on today.
Since the early days, our work has allowed us to visit locations all around the world. Whether it's documenting tribes in the jungles of the Amazon, climbing glaciers in Iceland or swimming with sharks in Galapagos Islands, it's honestly just been a constant experimental process of finding what works and what doesn't every step of the way. Having never gone to film school, It's incredibly humbling to see that despite our series of failures over the years, God has faithfully continued to be good to us, opening doors in ways we could never have imagined.
2. What key elements do you focus on when creating a film?
When making any film, we start with asking what thoughts or messages people are going to walk away with when they're done watching. What is it about the story that might inspire the viewer to perhaps think or act differently about the world around them? I believe an artist needs something to say – whether you're a painter, musician, or a filmmaker, we're communicators using our art form as tools of influence, and hopefully that influence is positive.
3. What are three essential things we should know about making films. Give us your top tips.
Here goes nothing! The top three we're always trying to focus on is story, cinematography, and music.
- Is the story something that resonates with viewers and creates a call to action?
- Is our camera work (cinematography) effectively enhancing our story through lighting, framing and movement?
- Is the music supporting the story and cinematography, as well as helping set the overall tone? We'll be the first to admit, these three big areas are definitely something we're constantly trying to develop and grow in ourselves.
4. What makes for a powerful story?
I think a powerful story is made up of real characters people can relate to or resonate with in some way. The character isn't perfect, but honest and authentic. A powerful story inspires and, like Jesus, should give hope to an ailing world desperate for change. It's that story right there that excites us – the message of redemption, transformation and hope that keeps us doing what we're doing.
5. Talk to us about Painters Portrait. Where did the inspiration come from?
To be quite honest, making Painter's Portrait was something that came into our lives fairly unexpectedly. Alan, the gentleman featured in the film, happened to be a family acquaintance we hadn't seen for about 15 years and was providentially re-introduced into our lives as of recently. From the minute we first started talking with Alan, we knew there was something special with his story and paintings that needed to be told through film. If I could give one word to describe Alan It would be "authentic." Everything about this man is just fascinating, down to the very fact that he lives in a epic 1800s-something log home! Here's what's cool: even though Alan, as a 71-year-old oil painter, may be considered elderly by our world's standards, he continues to find inspiration for his paintings in his surroundings, capturing scenes of the past that tell stories and inspire others. Looking back, It was this fervent passion through his inspiration that really inspired us to tell his story and help share it with others.
6. What did you personally learn from making Painter's Portrait?
There's a couple things we personally gathered from this project. Our first thought is this; It's never too late to start something new. Alan actually started oil painting later in his life, yet God continues using him through his work each and every day despite his years. How awesome! Secondly, we were ever more challenged to better appreciate the beauty in our surroundings that I believe we're all guilty of overlooking everyday. Simply put, Alan has a passion for capturing what most of us miss to ever notice.
In closing, Chris and I are incredibly humbled to see how the Lord continues using our feeble efforts through projects like Painters Portrait and honored to have Socality allow us to share these stories with you for His glory and His kingdom.
See more of their work on their website.