In the organic, lush, Pacific Northwest there is a budding film industry being raised by the nurturing and the tenacious artistic community, among them: Erin Galey; HollyShorts Alumni filmmaker, storyteller, pioneering business woman and avid whitewater kayaker.
After visiting Portland, Oregon, Galey knew she had found the perfect haven to plant roots for her production company, In The Flicker. Since moving to Portland from Los Angeles, this past year has been an eventful one for Galey: starting her own successful production company, produced a short, Points of Origin, developed a webseries with professional kayaker, Katrina Van Wijk, and started working on a future feature project.
What was your inspiration to start filmmaking?
To be honest, I’m not really sure. My mom found an old VHS tape recently on, which I had made some sort of short film with my sister and our friends in the summer of 1992. I remember being obsessed with my parent’s VHS camera around that time and recording lots of different stuff. The camera they owned recorded to a VCR, so you had to carry it around in a bag on your shoulder while operating the camera at the same time. I remember ending “scenes” with the “fade to white” button on the camera — classic!
I’ve always written stories, since I was very young, and despite having a healthy interest in physics, astronomy, and sports, I ended up a Literature & Playwriting major in college. I have a huge collection of books I’ve carried around to all the different places I’ve lived – I mean, even my college textbooks. My parents think I’m crazy, but I guess the books are important to me. In college, my Dad gave me his father’s Honeywell Pentax AE-II and I became really interested in photography through it, just snapping pictures and odd little moments. I guess between the interest in cameras and storytelling, filmmaking was a natural fit.
The first time I realized I had to be in the film industry was on the set of Rollergirls, when I saw a huge production crew working together. The producers wanted to film me and put me in the story of the show, but I was more often dodging the cameras and saddling up to the crew being like, “How does that thing work?”, “What does that person do?”
What are you working on right now?
About a year ago, I started a production company called In The Flicker based in Portland, Oregon, and we’ve had a lot of fantastic opportunities in our initial year. So being a business owner and producer has taken up a lot of my time, and probably will for a while — short form media is a great world to be in, especially in Portland. We just sold Sahasi Chori iTunes and Shorts International, and I’ll be traveling with the film back to Nepal this year in an educational collaboration with Empower Nepali Girls, a wonderful organization out of California. I’ll be a part of a “Girls Career Workshop” in Kathmandu, and also travel to the Everest region to screen the film and talk to girls about the dangers of trafficking. I hope to start work on the feature script this summer.
Tell me about the start of In The Flicker
I knew for a long time I wanted to start a production company. The name came from a passage in Heart of Darkness. I had no idea how everything was going to work out when I started – I had no clients, no partners, no idea how to run a business, but I figured I might as well give it a shot, otherwise I might not be telling the stories I want to tell. As time went on, pieces just seemed to come together either by people coming to us or us approaching them, and we have learned a lot just by trying things out.
I’ve always been preoccupied with adventures and the outdoors – being outside is an integral part of my happiness. I’m an avid whitewater kayaker, so when I moved to White Salmon last year from Los Angeles, it was a really natural fit. If I’m not focused on a deadline, I try to spend my weekends on mountains, rivers, or somewhere in the fresh air getting after it. The funny thing is that I actually really didn’t like Portland when I first moved to the area – it seemed at first only full of hipsters and homeless people, but the city has really grown on me since I’ve gotten to know it. There is a thriving creative community here, not just in film, but in sports product, tech, advertising, design, innovation… I have been inspired by the highly intellectual people I continue to meet here living active outdoor lives – Nat Geo explorers, professional athlete couples, writers and storytellers that work with huge brands in the area… There’s an endless amount of exploring very close by, and it seems to sustain a big community. I continue to discover great things both in and around the city.
Are you submitting anything to HollyShorts 2014?
Last year I produced a short by my co-producer at In The Flicker, and very good friend, Anya Leta, called Points of Origin. It stars Ankur Vikal, the villain from Slumdog Millionaire, and Tessa Thompson, who starred in a breakout film at Sundance this year called Dear White People. It was shot entirely on location in Mumbai, and we worked in post with many of the same people from Sahasi Chori, and achieved what I believe is a really special film. I can’t wait to share it with the HollyShorts community!