Breathless

A short film created for TEDxMileHigh about the people, the places, and the heart and soul of Denver.


For those who attended TEDxMileHigh: Values + Instincts last month, you may recall that a few minutes before intermission, the house lights dimmed, the screen brightened , and for the next 3 minutes and 51 seconds the  2,000 souls at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House sat in awe of what could most aptly be described as Denver’s highlight reel.

The film-making duo behind this video, Thaddeus Anderson and Woody Roseland, met last year at TEDxMilehigh: Risk and Reward after Woody gave his talk, “You Are Here.” Thad and Woody share an affinity for thinking outside of the box, believe in TED’s mission of “Ideas worth spreading,” and they quickly became close friends.

Further, the two shared a passion for making videos. Woody’s “Shi*t Cancer Patients Say” video went viral a few months before TEDxMilehigh last year, and Thaddeus had long been developing his directorial acumen during his travels around the world. They started teaming up on video projects almost immediately after they met, and when Woody reached out to TEDxMileHigh hoping to get involved in this year’s main event with a video project, Thaddeus was in.

The project at first was benign and straightforward: produce art to get people excited about the place we call home, the place where these big ideas and exceptional people live. Create something that shows off Denver’s vibrancy, its culture, its people, its feel. “Once we had the go ahead from TEDxMileHigh, the realization quickly came that we had 45 days, 2 people and $0 to budget to complete the project,” Woody recalled. “It was daunting and exciting; I think we quickly realized just how important this project could be,” added Thaddeus. “We put a storyboard on every shot we wanted to get and we ended up shooting in more than 50 locations.”

Woody brought in former TEDxMileHigh speaker and poet Ken Arkind to write the poem that overlays the film. “Before we even talked to TEDxMileHigh about this video I visualized Ken writing a poem a future film project. His writing style is so visual and captivating – I knew it would fit perfectly with the shots we wanted to get.” Woody added.  It turned out that Ken was out of the country during the weeks leading to TEDxMileHigh, so Woody and Thaddeus enlisted the help of Ken’s longtime friend (and former TEDxMileHigh speaker) Theo “Lucifury” Wilson to narrate the video and speak Ken’s written words. In the background, Thaddeus and Woody contacted Dexter Britain to use his song “The Time to Run” as musical harmony to the spoken words and visuals.

“It is a testament to this community that nearly everyone involved in the project had some connection with TEDxMileHigh.” Woody added, “TEDxMileHigh’s mission is to scale big ideas and create a stronger community – I think this video did both.”

Thaddeus and Woody have used this project as a catalyst to launch Air Ball Creative, a video production and creative consulting company. Their goal is to create powerful, thought-provoking, and meaningful short films and promotional videos for nonprofits and social ventures.

Woody’s initial cancer diagnosis at 16 was the catalyst behind his introduction and involvement in the the philanthropic community. Through Woody’s years in the nonprofit world (with various cancer research and community organizations), he has seen how big the need is for good marketing and video. Thaddeus pointed out that, “An ad for running shoes can leave you feeling inspired and excited, yet far too often an ad for an incredible organization that’s changing lives all over the world leaves you feeling indifferent. There’s a fundamental disconnect going on when it comes to communicating that message.”

So what’s next for two Air Ballers? Thad and Woody are striving to share others messages and empower those who do good. The video shown at TEDxMileHigh is now live, and can be seen below or on TEDxMileHigh’s YouTube channel.  Visit Air Ball’s website and follow them on Twitter to keep up with the happenings of Air Ball, and be sure to spread the word.