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‘Labor’ of love

Jefferson city native Doug Hawes-Davis, center, films The Gourds guitarist Kevin Russell as he rehearses with bassist Jimmy Smith in their Austin, Texas, rehearsal space on Aug. 31, 2011.

Jefferson city native Doug Hawes-Davis, center, films The Gourds guitarist Kevin Russell as he rehearses with bassist Jimmy Smith in their Austin, Texas, rehearsal space on Aug. 31, 2011.

Jefferson City native Doug Hawes-Davis became interested in film through a series of coincidences.

He earned a master’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Montana in 1992 and immediately following graduation was given an opportunity to make a short film.

“At the time, I wasn’t in any way thinking of it as a career,” said Hawes-Davis, now a Montana resident. “It seemed like an interesting medium to maybe tell a story that I wanted to try to tell and so I did that.

“I was really empowered by the process of doing that, and then a couple of years later was able to do another one, and then I was kind of hooked.”

Hawes-Davis has made a career out of filmmaking, owning production company High Plains Films with business partner, coworker and friend, Drury Gunn Carr. Their most recent film, “All the Labor,” premiered in March at the prestigious South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin.

“All the Labor” is a documentary profiling The Gourds, an alternative-country-folk band that has been playing together in Austin for nearly two decades.

“In my opinion, they are one of the greatest bands of all time,” Hawes-Davis said. “I felt people would enjoy it, and it would open their minds to this group of musicians.”

All the Labor is Hawes-Davis’ first musician profile, and he said it presented some new challenges.

“It required recording live music in a way that would sound great,” he said. “That was something I had never had to do before.”

He said it was also different in that the producers had to cut the performances with 4-8 cameras on every shot and then edit that together in a meaningful way.

“Then some things are the same with any movie,” Hawes-Davis said. “You’re documenting people’s lives, their dreams and the philosophies behind what they do.”

This year was the first time High Plains Films entered a film in the SXSW festival. There were nearly 20 films in “All the Labor’s” category.

“We’ve been making movies for a long time, but it was our first time being there,” Hawes-Davis said. “South by Southwest gets something like 5,000 entries, and we were one chosen.

“It was great.”

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