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How Breakwater Studios Never Stopped Shooting

Live on Zoom - Wednesday, July 1st at 12:00PM PST

Before coronavirus, award-winning filmmaker Ben Proudfoot and his production company Breakwater Studios were in high gear, flying around the globe creating more than 40 short documentaries a year for The New York Times, Charles Schwab & Co., Annapurna Pictures, Lululemon, Kelly Services and the LA Phil to name a few. Proudfoot is known for his humanist, interview-driven approach that has garnered two Webbies, an Emmy, and a 2020 James Beard Award.

Suddenly, the world changed. Planes were grounded, businesses were reduced to minimum basic operations, and Breakwater was forced to innovate a way to keep shooting its various projects without sacrificing quality. They developed a comprehensive Self-Isolated Protocol (S.I.P.) that has allowed them to capture interviews in their signature style and quality all over the world, and in a thoroughly COVID-safe manner. Since April 1, Breakwater Studios has now completed 7 S.I.P. productions in the United States, Canada, UK, and Myanmar.

In conversation with Sub-Genre’s Brian Newman, Proudfoot, who was honored as Forbes’ 2020 30 under 30, takes us inside Breakwater Studios’ camera department in Los Feliz, California to explain just how they did it.


Hosted by

Brian Newman


Sub-Genre Brian Newman consults on content development, distribution and marketing to help connect brands with filmmakers with audiences. Clients include: Patagonia, REI, IBM, Yeti Coolers, New York Times, Shopify Studios, Stripe, Unilever, and Zero Point Zero. Brian is the producer of The Outside Story (Tribeca Film Festival, 2020), and Love & Taxes, and executive producer of Shored Up. Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, and is the founder of the Brand/Foundation Alliance.


Ben Proudfoot

Founder & CEO

Breakwater Studios

Ben Proudfoot is the creative force behind Breakwater Studios, an award-winning film production company based in Los Angeles. The studio is headquartered in the Los Feliz building where Walt Disney started his company in 1923. Proudfoot gets his inspiration from the master of dreamers and aims to build a new studio model that replicates the mastery and quality of Disney productions while incorporating the brand vision of companies looking to engage with forward-thinking consumers.

A leader in the short documentary space, Proudfoot has directed and produced over 50 noteworthy short documentaries for some of the world’s most admired brands, including Charles Schwab and Annapurna Pictures. Breakwater’s most recent project for The New York Times is Almost Famous, a series of short films for their Op Docs series featuring people who nearly made history.

Proudfoot was recently named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for his leadership and innovation in the brand-funded documentary space. Breakwater’s work has been recognized by The Webby Awards, Raindance Web Fest, the Atlantic Film Festival, and the Idyllwild Cinemafest, among others. During the pandemic, he has pioneered a remote method of filming subjects called SIP, which gives him the ability to get up close and personal with his interview subjects while never actually being in the same room.

Proudfoot hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia and is a graduate of University of Southern California. He is an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician and loves his pup. Learn more at Breakwater Studios.


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