The Case for Black With a Capital B



Beyond Measure Productions: Making Films in Boston

By Alesha Gunn

Big cities like New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles dominate the film industry, but would an aspiring filmmaker have to call those locales home to be successful? Many might argue yes, Noah Christofer, CEO of Beyond Measure Productions, a Boston-based film production company, believes otherwise.

When I asked him why he chose Boston as the hometown of his film company, he slowly leaned back in his chair, and with a confident grin, responded with what I found to be a simple yet profound question: "Why not?". He said that there are myriad opportunities for filmmaking in Boston, most of which are overlooked. He added that as a Boston native, he has developed strong relationships and networks here that he believes is essential to the growth and success of any company.

Christofer cringes at the idea of being labeled "just another filmmaker", which he believes he would be if he were in New York or Los Angeles. Aside from that, Christofer believes that Boston is an incredible city from which he and his team can always draw inspiration.

This belief is evidenced in Beyond Measure's most recent work (on which I served as an editor), created in conjunction with Positive Image Films, The Last Shot.  The plot of the feature length film is motivated by the recent escalation of violence in many of Boston’s urban communities.

The film's trailer was released on the Web last month. Miranda Craigwell, a co-writer and assistant director of the film, described her experience on the set as "amazing". "The crew became a family.’’ Craigwell is also co-writer of "by CHANCE" a dramatic web series filmed by Christofer’s company. The series, also shot in Boston, tells stories of everyday people dealing with everyday issues.

I asked Craigwell’s thoughts on how the Internet and technology has changed the film industry and advanced the art of storytelling. Her response was intriguing. She spoke about this generation's yearning for "instant gratification" and how today’s technology helps to satisfy it.

She credits the Internet and social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Vimeo, as being responsible for the monumental decrease in the time it once took to showcase a film to the masses after its completion. She also talked about the post-production phase of filmmaking, and how it enhances the storytelling process.

Darrus Sands, a writer and producer for Beyond Measure Productions, gave a glimpse into what the creative process is like for the team when they are trying to brainstorm new ideas for projects. He said that the group gets together and "bounces ideas off each other. He describes the team as a "close knit group" that knows each other's strengths and weaknesses. He credits constructive criticism with making the work that they produce better, and more "exciting to witness" for viewers.

Although the company's experience in film production has been positive, some challenges remain. Christofer revealed that clients are often surprised and skeptical upon first meeting the team because of their ages, which range from 22 to 29.

Craigwell said that because the company is composed of mostly young African Americans, clients sometimes expect them to deliver a stereotypical perspective. Christofer said that he and his team often overcome these challenges by gaining clients’ trust and letting the work speak for itself.

But make no mistake, Beyond Measure Productions is more than just a film company. Christofer talked how strongly he and his team feels about being involved with and giving back to the community. Through his company Christofer wishes not only to inspire others to follow their dreams, but to help them achieve them as well.