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Utah Inspirational Stories and Documentaries

Utah Stories and educational films on people who have passion for their work and life

updated May 15th, 2008

watch most of these documentaries from our utah documentaries page Adobe Flash player required

All films below were produced and filmed by Markosian Media

The theme of the films presented below is passion. The artists and scientists below all have inspirational stories related to finding their passion in life by doing trades that satisfy their desire to express themselves. Harrison (Sculptor) and DeGranda (violin maker) both abandoned lucrative computer based careers to ultimatly find successs in the arts. These two men in particular have greatly inspired my own path. Its my hope the stories on this page inspire others to ignore conformity, materialism and other vain traps and instead achieve fulfillment in life by "finding a way" to make your dream profession a reality.

Short films and documentaries on:

Breathiing Life Into Bronze
Craig Harrison
Peter Prier Violin Making School
Boris DeGranda
The Pioneer Way
Jeanie Pullium
Single Handed
Jerimiah Maxey
University of Utah SKI Institute
(Scientific Computing & Imaging Institute)
Neil Hadlock bronze foundry
White World Indian World
Ute Indians of Uintah Ourray Reservation
click here for information about ordering films on DVD.
Breathing Life Into Bronze
A portrait on master sculptor Craig Harrison
sculptor

Craig Harrison works out of his downtown Wellsville studio in Cache Valley, Utah, sculpting pieces that end up in one of the most exclusive galleries in New York. Craig's passion is outdoor sporting scupture: dogs, horses fly-fishermen and hunters. Harrison meticulously studies his animal subjects from anatomy books, video and photos. Unlike most sculptors, however, Craig must always study his subjects from life. We followed him to an Arabian horse ranch while he worked in a heavy snow storm.

Harrison's greatest success been in becoming one of the premiere internationally recognized dog sculptors. Harrison has traveled the world to importalize prized dogs in bronze. Flying off for days at a time to far-off places, Harrison will play with the dog, film the dog, sketch the dog and then produce a true-to-life sculpture of the dog. These commissioned peices sell for upwards of $25,000. Watch the entire 11 minute documentary right here on Utahstories.com.

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DVD includes special features and interviews not seen in the filmtensive research and source material)

related downtown Salt Lake City development links:

 

Single Handed
one-handed guitar player Jerimiah Maxey
single handed

 

Jerimiah Maxey can play blue-grass solos, riffs and slide guitar, all this with a single hand. Maxey was born with a rare blood-type inconsistency with his twin sister. This caused Maxey to be born with out a right hand. When Maxey's father was teaching his sister to play the guitar Maxey wouldn't be left on the sidelines, he insisted his dad teach him as well. Maxey's story is inspirational and his guitiar licks are great.

 

watch short filme for interview transcript

 
Peter Prier Violin Making School
featuring master violin maker Boris DeGranda
 
violin maker
 

Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Peter Prier violin making school is internationaly recognized as being one of the best places there is for studying the age-old trade. Hopeful students are tested to see if they have the aptitude for the manual dexterity required to craft the delicate instuments. Students come from all over the world to study at Prier. Boris DeGrana, in his final year at Prier takes us on a tour into classical violin making and why he considers it perfect for him. Boris falls under the category of guys who gave up computers to do something much cooler. Boris was working as an illustrator and as his work became more and more computer involved he became more disinchanted with the profession. Boris' father is a professional violin player and Boris realized that he loved the artistic element of violin making and found has found his creative fulfilment through mastering the craft.

click to watch trailer

click for ordering information
DVD includes special features and interviews not seen in the film

 
The Pioneer Way
Jeanie Pullium: modern day pioneer, canning champion, quilting pro, pianist
        
pioneer way
 

The Mormon Pioneer legacy lives strong in Utah. However, most members of the L.D.S faith who want to get in touch with their Pioneer Ancestry go to the This is the Place Heritage Park or sign up for a hand-cart pioneer excusion. Jeanie Pullium is not your average L.D.S housewife. Jeanie practices all of the the domestic skills that defined the era: quilting, canning, knitting and gardening to name just a few.

Jeanie first adopted these skills not out of historical study but instead out of necessity. She and her family once lived compeltly off the grid, without running water, electricity or any modern conviences. Jeanie and her former husband were a part of the hippy, back to the land, movement. Getting back to the simple life however wasn't as much fun as they imagined. Her husband became completely anti-social and her kids were not in contact with the outside world enough to realate to people normally. Jeanie couragously left her husband with her six childern and moved back to society eventaully into an inner-city home in downtown Salt Lake City. The entire film tells their story.

The year I made this film Jeanie and her family had 80 percent of the entries for canning competition in the Utah State Fair. They preserve hundreds of jars of food every fall from the vegetables they grow in their garden in the city. This is a story of her life.

watch trailer

click for ordering information
DVD includes special features and interviews not seen in the film

 

Foundry and Sculpture Studio Neil Hadlock
bronze foundry

Neil Hadlock has one of the most well equipt bronze foundries in Utah. Here molten bronze is poured into silicon carbide crucible by men wearing protective, metallic shield suites. They make molten bronze pouring look easy and fun. I showed up two days in a row and the second day they were asked, "why are you here?" I said I came back because I wanted to get shots of the sandblasting process. They were fine with it. The music in the Harrison documentary, Ramblin Jack Elliot, is a discovery due to them. Hadlock is a artist and has done works all over the state of Utah, including the huge granite sculpture in the Galavan Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City. This is a very short piece on a great studio. This film comes as a bonus track with the Breathing Life Into Bronze film.

click to watch interview

To Make My Mind Visible: University of Utah SKI Institute
SKI institute

The SKI Institute at the University of Utah has a world-wide reputation for staying on the cutting-edge of computer visualization technology. Unfortunately, this early film fails to capture the essence of the talent pool within in the department. I worked on this film in my beginning film production class in 2001. I was attempting to make a film comparing the thought process of violin makers to the creative process involved for programming and research. The focus of the study was too vague and the project lacked in a thesis, or over-riding objectives, questions and focus. The result is a film where the viewer fails to grasp similarities, correlations and connection. The conclusions are confusing and too abstract to grasp. The only interesting, somewhat ironic fact was that most of the programmers I interviewed were also musicians. A good remake of this film could simply ask the question---What do you like about your job? Then follow a violin maker around, show what he does etc. then do the same treatment with a computer graphics research scientist. Then simply ask the professionals what "creativity" means to them.

The founders of Pixar, Adobe and Evans and Sutherland all came out of the Computer Science department at the University of Utah. Visit the SKI Institute's home page here

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to order any of the stories listed above click here.

 

 

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