JASON WISHNOW
DIRECTOR
 
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We Are All Radioactive 2012

 

In a hidden Japanese surf spot and historic fishing village where fresh water means life for the locals, post-tsunami reconstruction efforts were undermined by looming fears from Fukushima’s March 2011 nuclear meltdown.

 

I collaborated with journalist Lisa Katayama (The New York Times Magazine, NPR, and blog TokyoMango) to create a bilingual, crowd-funded, online documentary series about 2011’s unprecedented disasters which ravaged Japan.

 

We traveled to a town called Motoyoshi, about 100 miles north of Fukushima, where a group of surfers pitched tents on unaffected patches of land and set out to rebuild northern Japan. We gave waterproof video cameras to the residents of Motoyoshi, so they could share their experiences through their own lens. Finally, we spent time with Japanese artists, anti-nuclear activists, government officials, and global experts on radiation to help solve pressing, unanswered questions and to clarify the confusion surrounding this unprecedented combination of disasters.

 

The future for cause-based documentary production and distribution will likely involve a serialized, crowd-funded business model. As proof-of-concept, we released new episodes each time we hit incremental financing milestones. Chapter One received its full backing within 48 hours and went live on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake. Chapters Two through Seven rolled out soon after. Please watch and share if you’ve ever visited Japan, have loved ones in Japan ...or like sushi. In total the series adds up to 42 mins, the length of a single episode of LOST. (And you still watched LOST even when they time traveled to suburbia in the ’70s, so what are you waiting for?)

 

Random episodes appear above. Click through for  all seven chapters  back to back to back.

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Me The People 2012

 

 

Kevin Bleyer (Emmy Award winning writer for the Daily Show) personally rewrote the Constitution of the United States and needed his author’s portrait painted in the neoclassical style for the book jacket. I’d never been to a life drawing class before but heard they involve nude models. While we were at it, we also shot a couple alternate videos with Daily Show correspondents.

 

Five Bodily Fluids 2011

 

I just happened to be passing through the Maitri AIDS hospice in San Francisco with some friends and an iPhone 4. About a half hour later, they had a brand new PSA explaining the routes of transmission for HIV.

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Tall Black Girls “Seahorse” 2010

 

Shot on New York’s Lower East Side. The band’s live shows are amazing but I thought capturing the Tall Black Girls in a blizzard would really fit their look so our shoot schedule was dependent on an Act of God. Inspired by early 80s concert fliers (and because there are times authenticity beats gimmicky computer effects), I printed out over 4,000 individual pages, halftone versions of every single frame, twenty four for each second, which I then went back and rephotographed to craft the final music video.

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Animal Hands “Lavender Lakes” 2010

 

The first single by this Brooklyn-based quintet. The look is lifted from a toy camera I picked up ages ago.

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TED Conference Titles 2009-2010

 

 

Every TED Conference opens on titles created exclusively for that live event. They rarely appear again after, even online. Usually we outsourced to design boutiques, but occassionally I rolled up my sleeves to try my own hands at directing. I wanted to breathe new life and variety into TED’s pre-existing idea-globe iconography. The TEDIndia (2009) theme was “The Future Beckons.” The theme for TEDGlobal in Oxford (2010) was “And Now The Good News.”

 

TED in the Field: One Laptop Per Child 2008

 

This is the pilot episode for a follow-up series about what happens beyond the  TED  stage.

 

I flew to Colombia for 28 hours with Nicholas Negroponte to deliver laptops to children. We traveled by military transport with Juan Manuel Santos, the Minister of Defense (now President), to an isolated village that had recently been liberated from FARC revolutionaries.

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The Airborne Toxic Event “Sometime Around Midnight” 2008

 

The official, original music video for the iTunes #1 Alternative Song of 2008. One of the Rolling Stone’s Top 20 Music Videos of the year. In rotation on VH1 and MTV2. The record label later released a second video so here’s the rare, first version, online again.

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The Airborne Toxic Event “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” 2007

 

The first official music video for these LA-based rockers. Home made by me and the band. I aimed for full HD (on a budget), unheard of in 2007.

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Zen of Zombie 2007

 

I came out from short-lived book trailer retirment when a publishing house gave me carte blanche to promote their self-help book targeted at undead readers. I had never attended a flash mob before but I liked the idea of staging my own. I just needed 100 flexible people who liked gauze. Fortunately, a well-timed New York Times write-up quoted our invite, which read, “Bring a Yoga Mat, Dress Like a Zombie” ...we had no idea how many real zombies would attend. Next thing we knew, my friend had his book promo and I had my flash mob!

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Maynard & Jennica 2007

 

I am a sucker for a good movie trailer as much as a good mash-up but when we learned the publishing industry had recently started resorting to such flashy tactics as producing “book trailers” we started to worry that maybe people aren’t reading nearly enough. That’s why Rudolph Delson and I completely ignored the actual content of his first novel in favor of selling “the idea of a book” instead.

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Sony 2005

 

A few years before the iPhone, Sony was developing a portable media player of its own. This was to be the first of several spots promoting its Kinoma video software. It depicts an alternate reality where you entertain yourself by dragging around a couple guys to act out all your favorite songs and movies. (It is the same alternate reality in which you are personified by supermodel Jenny Shimizu.) Co-directed with Rodney Ascher.

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Cursing the Gulls 2000

 

Instant cinema! Imagine a time, not long ago, when meeting a collaborator, writing, shooting, editing, and uploading a movie all in one day was considered revolutionary. In an attempt to shake up the inaugural Digital Cinema Conference at MIT, we made this parody of an art school film and offered it to our audience as a harbinger of online pretentiousness yet to come. True to the genre (being a parody of an experimental film - not an actual experimental film), we shot in a cemetery. Co-directed with Evan Mather.

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Star Wars or Bust 1999

 

People don’t want to consume media, they want to engage in it. Look at TED, or better yet, look at fan culture.

 

In 1997, I sold off my childhood toys to send five camera crews to five movie theaters around the country and simultaneously document Star Wars fans camping out for the re-release of a movie they had seen countless times before. One of the first documentaries shot on digital video (I didn’t even realize that, just seemed like the right tool for the job). British television acquired Tatooine or Bust and commissioned its Episode I sequel (or... prequel), Star Wars or Bust.

 

You can click through to watch both  Tatooine or Bust  and  Star Wars or Bust  and to find out more.

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