Ben Bogard, originally from Oronoco and a 2012 graduate of Pine Island High School, currently lives and works in New York City in video production with the mass media company Conde Nast through Emoticon Productions.
I caught up with Ben, a two-time National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Student Production Awardwinner, last week on his way back from the Omaha Film Festival, where his film, "The Art of Hope," was being shown.
"That film was my senior honors thesis for college and was comprised of three vignettes on artists with cognitive disabilities who work, and one owns a business in an art studio in Anchorage, Alaska," he said.
"I went up there during my sophomore year with class and we volunteered at the studio. I volunteered on the PR/video side, while some of the others volunteered on the social work side of things. I made some corporate videos for them, and was also able to spend two days in the studio to make the first vignette.
"I returned the next year — this time with a grant — and was able to spend a week gathering more footage and interviewing these two other artists to create these three little portraits," Bogard said.
The film will soon be available for viewing on his website, www.benjaminjbogard.com.
Bogard graduated last May from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and communication, with an emphasis in organizational and public relations.
I didn't actually go to school for film or video or anything like that," he said. "The majority of what I know is actually self-taught, and what I did in college on the communications side of things was more of the theories element and practicing it in the field."
Since graduating, Bogard moved to New York, where he took a position for a few months with Buzzfeed.
Because he works on a lot of small team stuff, Bogard wears many different hats.
"I'm in video production, but I produce, shoot and edit," he said. "When I was in Sundance, there was a lead producer, a director of photography, and I was the main editor, but also shot things and produced some while I was out there, so it's kind of a bit of a hodgepodge."
Since moving to New York, Bogard's had a ton of amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as working fashion weeks in New York and Paris, and going to the Sundance Film Festival.
"For Fashion Week, I was a focused on behind-the-scenes, so I did 360 (-degree) videos and worked with the executive producer to interview all of the artists for makeup and hair and anything else that would be happening backstage pre-show," he said. "We would cut those up and make them available on social media.
"In Paris specifically, we also worked on social media videos for Barneys. We interviewed designers (some of the designers he covered were Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Dior, and Nina Ricci) for a better understanding of their process and what they are thinking when they start creating and designing a collection, and a little bit of background about them and their work in the company. People really liked to get up close with the designers and put a human element to it instead of just having coverage of models walking a runway.
I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear about his work. To see some of his videos, check out his website.