10 Minutes With: Hart Pictures
What do you get when you combine an award-winning independent filmmaker, a documentarian and a musician/music video producer? Meet Jesse Hart of Hart Pictures.
From Sundance to Reykjavik to the Berlin Film Festival, Jesse Hart has truly made the rounds in the film world. In 2008, his film festival world tour led him to Lower Manhattan, home base for his wedding videography firm, Hart Pictures.
The Hart Pictures team, made up of filmmakers from both the Wesleyan and NYU film programs, knows a thing or two about independent films and documentaries and they have translated those skills for engaged couples around the world. Their signature style comes from an exclusive use of handheld cameras and their devotion to cinéma vérité, giving their films a dreamy yet realistic quality that may feel just like your memories come alive.
How did you first get interested in filmmaking?
I grew up around filmmaking. My older brother made films. So, when I went to Wesleyan University I immediately signed up to be a film major and spent four amazing years just watching countless beautiful old Hollywood movies. I made my first film senior year, took it to the Berlin Film Festival, it won the “Best Short Film” award and the rest is history.
So, what inspired you to make the switch from independent films to weddings?
I wouldn’t call it a switch exactly because we still make our art films, music videos, etc. But we added weddings to our repertoire in 2009. That was the year I directed my first feature film and my cinematographer had shown me some weddings he shot as an example of his handheld shooting abilities. It was so stunning, so cinematic and so unique that I thought this could be an amazing new look to bring to event filmmaking!
You’re also a musician and have made both music videos and documentaries. How does this affect the way you shoot weddings?
I think our shooting and editing is very natural and soulful. I learned early on from working in the art world of music and film that people respond best when you’re being yourself, honest and simple. That’s why we don’t use a lot of gimmicks, big equipment or fake lighting. And we don’t stage things for video.
We want to film real life in a magical way, so we try to take a “fly-on-the-wall” approach with the goal that you don’t really notice us but in the end, you get an emotional, real, beautiful narrative story of your day. Because I’m a musician, we naturally cut very smoothly and always rhythmically. Every film we make is like a little dance.