WATCH: our new short film, “Shade”

We are very pleased to invite you to be the first to see our new short film:

a short film by Bruce Bradbury
based on music by Shannon Curtis

But first, a story about magic …

Over the course of my songwriting career, I’ve learned something surprising and cool: songs can perform magic tricks.

Here’s what I mean. When I write a song, it’s personal — the lyrics are based on specific experiences or feelings I’ve had in my own life, and the meaning of the song is defined exclusively by those personal experiences.

But then … the song gets released into the world. And that’s when it does its trick. As soon as someone else hears the song, its meaning becomes whatever the listener needs or decides for it to be. Voila! It was one song; and now — even though its lyrics and melody are the same — it becomes a whole other song. 

Last year, I wrote — and Jamie and I recorded — a song called “Shade,” for our album Revolutionary Acts of Optimism. The song, for me, was about the revolutionarily optimistic act of planting a tree under whose shade I may never sit — placing belief in the notion of a future someone being able to enjoy the fruit of my labor, and in the notion that that belief is enough to motivate a person to do the work of planting.

During our album fundraiser, our community enthusiastically supported one of the goals we set: to hire a student filmmaker we’d met — and by whose work we’d been blown away — to create a short film based on one of the songs from the album. So we sent the album to this new filmmaker friend, Bruce Bradbury, and asked him to choose the song he’d like to work with. He chose “Shade.”

We think Bruce has a beautiful talent for telling emotionally compelling stories in film, and so we asked him to write a treatment for the film. And, like songs with magic powers do, “Shade” became something to Bruce that we could not have anticipated. 

The first time Jamie and I watched Bruce’s film, we cried. It was so moving and unexpected and beautiful. We love Bruce’s film interpretation of this theme, and we hope you do as well. 

Here is Bruce, giving a short introduction of himself and of his vision for the film:

“Hi! I’m Portland based director and cinematographer, Bruce C. Bradbury III. I’ve written and created multiple of my own short films to date. Working in a narrative medium is what inspires me in the best way, so getting the chance to center narrative storytelling in the short film for Shannon’s song ‘Shade’ was amazing for me.

The story follows three young craftspeople: The Violinist, The Breakdancer and The Skateboarder. They are each supremely dedicated to their performance medium. When a comet appears in the sky, jeopardizing the world that they’ve created for themselves, they join forces to take a stand against their common foe. Just as ‘Shade’ feels like, to me, a story about working your absolute hardest to persevere through difficulty, my three characters refuse to give up in the face of an existential threat.”

Our deepest thanks to everyone who joined Bruce in the making of this film. You brought such love to this project, and we feel it.

And a million thanks to our incredible community, who funded this and the rest of the Revolutionary Acts of Optimism project. Your love and support lift us, sustain us, and give us faith that the work we do matters.

And now … please enjoy our short film, “Shade.” WATCH HERE ->

(And if you’d like to share with us what the film means to you, we’d love to hear it. Please post your thoughts in the comments beneath the film. And please share it far and wide!)

Thanks so much for watching. 

Love and planting trees –  s+j