Walking on Mars using virtual reality, the science of brewing, and the goal of a universal language are just a few awe-inspiring explorations illuminated in the UC documentary series created by The Department of the 4th Dimension (The D4D). Each brand film features passionate and compelling thought-leaders and innovators, UC faculty, and alumni whose accomplishments touch our daily lives and will shape our future. View a selection at: http://thed4d.com/onwardca
The D4D founder Matt Checkowski, known for the iconic dream sequences in Minority Report and the groundbreaking Sephora Sensorium: The Pop Up Fragrance Museum, developed and directed the branded series in collaboration with UC’s Office of the President. For this project, reality – often jaw-dropping reality – took center stage. Igniting the Ambition of California, the mission statement of the UC System campaign, would stand on the strength of these filmed portraits without inundating audiences with brand messaging that could detract from the series’ reach.
As Checkowski explains, “there was little need to steer the conversation from a brand-message standpoint as each one of the faculty that we featured embodies the UC’s mission. It didn't need to be overtly spoken on camera just as our subjects didn't need to tell us they were brilliant.”
Checkowski and his team, including DP Keith Dunkerley, a longtime collaborator and colleague since Minority Report, have created 30 episodes to date featuring some of the world’s leading visionaries and researchers including Mars Mission geologist Dawn Sumner, Patrick Boudreault, who is deaf and a Professor of Linguistics, Professor of Brewing Science Charlie “The Pope Of Foam” Bamforth, celebrated artist Greg Kaino, and Mark Hoddle, Professor of Entomology (a.k.a. the Indiana Jones of Bugs).
“An interesting challenge as a filmmaker was the series’ diversity of subject matter, personalities and locations,” comments Checkowski. “But it was more than just capturing people on camera; I had to prepare for informed conversations on astrophysics, sign language, conceptual art, comparative biology, exoplanets, Mary Shelley, enzymology, invasive species...We needed to navigate all that in a way that honored their genius and allowed their passion to break through the lens. I think what they all share —and what we admire — is their excitement for discovery. The UC makes all of that possible. Hopefully the series can spark some more of that giddiness in our own lives.”