Passion Point Collective + HP Find Continued Success with “History of Memory”

This January, Brand Storytelling had the privilege of screening HP’s “History of Memory”, four stories sharing the common theme of the power of the printed photograph. Filmmakers Sarah Klein and Tom Mason showcased the project with Angela Matusik, Head of Corporate, Brand Content & Creative at HP.

It was there that Angela spoke on behalf of the brand and broke down the choices to pursue this creative and story-driven project for the audience. In that audience was Marcus Peterzell who, like the rest of the folks in the room, was moved by the work. Peterzell and Matusik connected then and there to discuss the potential future of the project.

Peterzell would go on to found and serve as CEO of Passion Point Collective a few months later, with client HP waiting in the wings with a stellar piece of content to share. The team-up resulted in a whirlwind year for History of Memory in the press and at the top of festival lists.

Brand Storytelling caught up with Marcus Peterzell and Angela Matusik to learn more about the continued success of “History of Memory”:

History of Memory has been celebrated in various arenas throughout the year. Can you elaborate on where for readers who are unaware?

Marcus Peterzell: One of the first things Angela and I agreed on was an aggressive film festival strategy. Often times this is a slippery slope as many festivals thumb their noses at brand funded films, but we felt History of Memory was a strong contender and could shine through the clutter. So, my Passion Point Collective team curated a target list of 20 festivals to apply to and we crossed our fingers and toes. Then the fun began as not only did we get accepted into Tribeca X with a very late entry, we ended up winning our category which was a thrill for the entire team. To be fair that branch of Tribeca was dedicated to brand funded films, but weeks later we ended up winning more festivals including Northeast and Savannah, and in those instance we were up against traditional independent films from amazing directors, but we kept coming up on top, a true testament to the film’s directors and Angela as the producer, a great film is a great film, period.

Angela Matusik: We had always planned to release the films through the brand's digital platforms -- Facebook, YouTube, and our site, the Garage -- but submitting them to the film circuit really helped us see them in a different light. By piecing all four shorts together into one 22-minute film, we created something that truly worked on a big screen. The audience reactions at each these events have been amazing.

The series seems to resonate with anyone who sees it because of its intrigue and humanity. How does one ensure throughout all stages of production that the end product strikes the right balance between existing to foster emotion/entertain and existing to ultimately market a product?

MP: Angela, you take this one!

AM: For these films, our goal as a brand was to solicit a reaction in the viewer -- to remind people about the important role printed photographs have in our lives. We didn't have a mandate to connect the stories to a specific product. Because of that, we could really let stories unfold and let our filmmakers, Sarah Klein and Tom Mason, lead the way. We knew we wanted to hit different beats with each one -- a mystery, a love story, a discovery, etc. -- and put our trust in their talents to research to find the most compelling subjects. But the true emotional balance comes together in post-production. The pacing of the film, the music that's chosen, adding humor when needed.

Did you know you had hit on something special from the outset? When it was completed?

MP: Speaking for me, I saw History of Memory already completed for the first time at last year’s Brand Storytelling Conference during Sundance, and I knew this could be a big winner, it just had that magic and emotional arc that captures an audience.

AM: The Brand Storytelling conference was a big ah-ha moment for us. It was the first time we were sharing the films outside of our inner project circle. We showed two of the four films and got such an incredible response. The community was so supportive and enthusiastic. It was then that we connected with Marcus and began to think about stitching all four films together to apply to film festivals.