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Q&A: Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis directed 2020 WMFF feature “Wild Toddler Chronicles: Legacy,” a short film on exploring wilderness with toddlers. We asked him a few questions, see our Q&A conversation below:

What is in your gear bag/kit?

For this film, I tried to keep things really light and portable since it was a constant dance between shooting and parenting. I shot handheld on a Panasonic GH5 with Canon L lenses.

What item can you not live without?

Fruit snacks. They’re absolutely essential for bribing your 2-year-old daughter to stand on the rim of a canyon in a snowstorm while you get your shot.

How do you choose music for your films?

It’s a time consuming process that involves combing through different online sources, listening to samples and making playlists of potential tracks. It helps to be drinking while doing this.

Most necessary character-quality for a director?

Patience and flexibility…especially when working with toddler talent. There’s no way you’re going to force a two-year-old to do something she doesn’t want to do – so you have to either be willing to wait it out, or pivot to something else on the fly.

Who has been most influential in your directing career?

Gnarly Bay for making beautifully moving travel films that inspired me to pick up a camera in the first place. Ben Knight for showing that adventure films could make you feel something more than just adrenaline.

Favorite on-set memory?

Watching my daughter control her trailside meltdown on a hike in Zion and ask to get out of the backpack carrier and finish the climb to the top by herself.

Craziest on-set/en route to set adventure?

Our daughter had a massive diaper blowout about 15 miles down Hole-In-The-Rock Road outside Escalante. My wife and I cleaned her up, threw away her last pair of clean underwear and tried to find a campsite. With the light fading and the kid screaming, the wind nearly blew away our tent and bent one of the poles. We both cried. Then we took a breath, drove back to town and found a tiny house on AirBnb, which ended up being one of most memorable places we’ve ever slept on a family adventure.

More About Brian Lewis

Brian is a commercial and documentary filmmaker, adventurer junkie, unapologetic coffee snob, and happy dad based in Colorado Springs. He specializes in telling compelling stories and capturing beautiful images from the wilds of his Colorado backyard to the far corners of the globe.

Check out more of his work here: bjlmedia.com.