Local filmmaker presents subjects in a flattering light
Jodi Spiegel Arthur
Elijah Lee Reeder apologizes for “being all over the place” while chatting about his work as a cinematographer.
He’s also been talking about his education – past and future – his goals, his family and his spirituality.
The 22-year-old, who grew up in Chalfont and now lives in Hatboro, was largely home schooled, but he did attend public school in Central Bucks off and on.
“Our parents let us pick where we wanted to go to school,” he said, referring to himself and his four younger siblings. “It was nice because I got to focus on the things I was interested in.”
Reeder’s interests are many, as evidenced by his talk about previous business administration studies at Bucks County Community College; registering for fall classes in neuroscience at Temple University; his religious readings in Daoism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity; his short films and promotional documentaries; and a new venture with his father, Jeff, a wedding photographer.
Reeder said his father’s career as a photographer definitely had an influence on him. “That played a huge role in me becoming a cinematographer,” he said.
“From a young age, I got into video editing. Many nights I would stay up editing videos that I would make.”
His main focus in late summer and early fall was working on “Vampire Blues,” which Reeder described as “a short film with a music video tucked inside it.” The film, starring Eric Howl and Justin Guarini, premiered at the County Theater in Doylestown on Oct. 30.
Reeder said he got a good feel for the film industry by playing some small roles and working on set in big-budget movies like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Paranoia.”
What he prefers, however, is working on smaller projects. “It’s a lot more rewarding to work one-on-one with a person and see who they are as a person and get to know them,” he said.
His work on promotional documentaries, one to five minutes in length, for artists, entrepreneurs and musicians, provides that reward. His subjects include Guarini, who is releasing a single; interfaith minister Carol Post of Point Pleasant; stone sculptor Steven Snyder; artist Robin Phillips; and essayist and playwright Margaret Dulaney.
“My goal is to provide a means for promotion and marketing that speaks to who the person is intrinsically and presents them in a much more honest and natural light,” he said.
“What’s been most beautiful about the process – no matter who I’m working with and how diverse they are, one thing I ask them is where their inspiration comes from – there’s always a common ground; it’s intuitive, or something they did as a child, or they came back to it.
“They’re doing it, and they’re not attached to the result. They’re doing it purely because they love it.”
The reason the videos are so effective is that they “speak to something in all of us,” he said. “Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has something they’re supposed to do in life.”
Reeder said he believes his purpose is, what he’s supposed to do in life, in part, is to serve as an outlet for people to be the best versions of themselves. The more he can work toward the best version of himself, he said, including utilizing his left and right brain to pursue his varied interests and living his life in balance, the more he can serve as an outlet for others.
That includes pursuing research in neuroscience because of his interest in the correlation between the body and the brain and the implications of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to rewire itself.
It also encompasses a desire to conduct clinical trials and produce documentaries on patients and on research to increase the public’s knowledge of neuroscience findings and make it more popular as a means to help more people.
In 2015, continuing to work closely with individuals, Reeder and his father, plan to launch a joint venture: Twelve Weddings. Together they will shoot 12 weddings a year, along with lifestyle videos of the couples, covering far more than the wedding itself. Jeff Reeder will shoot the still photos, and Elijah will shoot the high definition lifestyle videos.
They already have one client, a couple with plans to show the lifestyle video at their wedding, he said.
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