Capturing Art and the Outdoors: Q&A with Bedrock Co-Founder Jim Aikman
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
Bedrock Film Works is a full-service video production company offering end-to-end creative and production services with offices in Portland and Bend, Oregon. With an emphasis on storytelling and a clear passion for the outdoors, Bedrock’s specialty is creating top quality content in challenging terrain and adverse conditions all over the world.
Their latest brand content, the short film “Like a River”, brought together outdoor brands Rumpl and Osprey and artist/outdoor enthusiast Jeremy Collins for a unique partnership at the intersection of utility, art, and environmentalism. The film debuted in conjunction with the release of a limited-edition Osprey Daylite day pack and Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket featuring artwork by Collins, who drew inspiration from the rivers and canyons of the Colorado Plateau. In a purpose-driven component of the project, the brands also pledged ten thousand dollars to American Rivers, an organization that protects and defends the nation’s rivers and natural clean water.
Brand Storytelling caught up with Bedrock Film Works Creative Director and Co-Founder Jim Aikman to learn more about what went into working with another creative and multiple brands to execute on the vision for “Like a River”:
Thanks for chatting with me, Jim. How did you connect with Jeremy and the brands to begin with?
I’ve known Jeremy for twelve years through the climbing film community, but our initial bond was formed through our relationships with climber Jonny Copp. Jonny was on an expedition in China in 2009 with Micah Dash and filmmaker Wade Johnson (my colleague), and all three perished in a tragic avalanche. I worked on two films about the accident, “Point of No Return” and “The Kyrgyzstan Project”, and Jeremy created his film, “Drawn”, which was about his relationship with Jonny. It was a loss that continues to connect a lot of people in our community. I first met Jeremy when he was touring with “Drawn”, and we’ve wanted to work together ever since. This was our first chance, and considering it was 10+ years in the making, my business partner Graham Zimmerman and I jumped at the chance! As far as Osprey and Rumpl, we’ve done some work with Osprey in the past, but it was mainly Jeremy’s artistic collaboration with both brands that spawned “Like a River”. He created an abstract painting featured on products from both brands (backpacks and blankets), which is sort of what the film is about.
What was the original vision for the content? How and why did that vision change?
Originally, Jeremy approached Graham and I with a much more ambitious idea - to climb in and out of all three canyons that are featured in the film: Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon and Black Canyon. This would coincide with his creation of the work of art that combines these three disparate locations in an abstract space. It would have been a very cool concept but went beyond the scope/budget. The vision changed when Jeremy really wanted to capture his creative process in a different way - he’s done a lot of video content where he’s in the field, climbing something and then painting it. I’d always wanted to bring Jeremy’s artistic process into a studio, where we could really hone in on the different elements with complete control of the camera and environment. It was a big leap of faith for Rumpl and Osprey, both outdoor brands, to sponsor a film shot in a dimly lit interior, but they ultimately understood the vision and signed off. It was a difficult concept to describe until it was actually executed but, in the end, everyone was really happy with the outcome. I’m personally super grateful that they gave us that trust.
How involved were the brands in pre-production of the piece? Did that change or remain the same through production and post-production?
Both Rumpl and Osprey have a keen sense of their brand strategy, which is especially apparent when you look at the scope of their collaboration. This film wasn’t born in a vacuum - it was created to support the release of a new product line that features Jeremy’s art. So it’s important to remember that that is the prime directive - the product - and it all needed to dovetail. Considering how poetic and personal this film is, crafting something that checked those boxes but also supported the product line was a thin line to tip toe, but I hope it will be successful on all fronts.
Each disparate element of this project came together to form a cohesive and poetic piece. Did you have the vision for each of those pieces, like music, camera movement, and style? How did they come into play?
This was where things got really exciting for me. A lot of stars aligned to make this film, and I was able to scratch a creative it