Geoff Thompson and Lovinder Gill were both college professors, when in 2002 they realized they shared an interest in making films. That was the beginning of Gillder Frontier, their production company. They produced a feature-length romantic comedy “Chicks 101” that got minor distribution, which opened the door for them to work with brands.
An opportunity came up to shoot a branded documentary about a trip to Mount Everest. They pitched and landed the contract, and by the time it came to shoot it Geoff was ready to quit his day job and go full-time. He went to Nepal and Mount Everest multiple times, and also shot in the Rockies. “We were shooting amazing scenery, rocks as big as your car, glaciers, and everything…then we’d sit down with one of the people we were following and interview them, put together a three-minute video, and bounce it off a satellite. Right when people were getting off work back home they’d get this travelog.”
Geoff and Lovinder continue to do corporate video to fund their feature film ambitions. Their newest feature, Stalemate, is making the festival circuit now (and has won some awards already). They are currently working with an animation studio in Salem to produce an animated Christmas film that will either be a 30-minute kids special or a feature-length animated movie.
Geoff has cultivated their relationships with brands (they are now on four years with their longest-term client). On their feature films he produces, but on the corporate work he also writes and directs. “I spend my days going through scripts, taking care of clients, trying to cultivate new business, and shooting.”
What are Geoff’s recommendations for aspiring filmmakers?
“Have a vision and stick with it. What makes us unique among corporate video is our cinematic sense. Be aware of the business aspect and cultivate your corporate clients. Don’t be afraid to make a leap of faith. You have to make a bold move, but when you do, mighty forces will come to your rescue. We had cushy academic jobs and quit them when we got our first big client. Just cultivate your corporate clients while you’re trying to make your next great epic film.”