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"Labor' of love

"Labor' of love

April 22nd, 2013 in News

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."