Brandon Gries is an engineer. He works for an electrical contractor. For 10 years he's built data centers. He's aspired since childhood to be a filmmaker. This is his first film. Only due to the faith, trust, and collaboration with his friends in film (Backflip), data centers (Google, Microsoft, Equinix) and industry (contractors, concrete, steel, aluminum) was this possible. He learned of your inaugural film contest at Bloomberg Green in New York City, April 2022. His first inspiration was to do a film with my wife Ashley, who works professionally in environmental conservation. He shifted to an even bigger story about his own industry in July 2022 instead. He have dedicated this film to her.

What is the story behind your film?
I am an engineer and I work for an electrical contractor. For 10 years I have built data centers. I have aspired since childhood to be a filmmaker. This is my first film. Only due to the faith, trust, and collaboration with his friends in film (Backflip), data centers (Google, Microsoft, Equinix) and industry (contractors, concrete, steel, aluminum) was this possible. I learned about an inaugural film contest at Bloomberg Green in New York City, April 2022. My first inspiration was to do a film with my wife Ashley, who works professionally in environmental conservation. I shifted to an even bigger story about my own industry in July 2022 instead. I have dedicated this film to her.

Ryan Freng and John Shoemaker are seasoned veterans of the production world, running a commercial agency for 15 years and having produced both long form and short form films. Their previous documentary 'Power in My Hands' tells the personal stories of those majorly impacted by the power of the Rosary. Ryan and John have worked with Brandon for years on promotional work. Learning of Brandon's desire to make movies, John encouraged him to pick a film festival and punch the throttle. This is the result of that collaboration.

Filming occurred 07/20 to 09/14. The result was: 30+ people and hours of interviews, 6 states, funneled into this 10-minute film, a pilot for a docuseries we hope to create. We entered the film to catch industry leaders in their curiosity zone and compel them to act. What kind of positive impact could we have on embodied carbon if the largest companies on earth (digital infrastructure companies representing 30% of global GDP) partnered strategically with the heritage industries that have literally changed the face of the physical earth? How can we collaborate across companies to revamp the supply chain? It will take their collective brainpower, innovation, and coordination to solve the building component of the climate crisis. But is that enough? And can they do it?

What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your film?
There is untapped potential in cross-industry partnerships to accelerate the speed with which we bring technologies to scale that can reduce the embodied carbon in industrial processes. The digital infrastructure industry can be the catalyst to bring emerging technologies to scale.

Do you think that films can change people for the better or for the worse?
For the better. Everyone can be a winner

How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID-19?
Fortunately travel restrictions had eased during the time of filming. There was not any noticeable impact.

What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use?
It was an interview style film, so we did a number of 2 camera setups. We also did some on-location b-roll footage using drones.

How did you select the actors for your project?
Everyone in the film is a leader in their industry and has an enormous opportunity to influence their peers and the business conventions of their respective industries.

Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
Sustainability is one of the most pressing subjects of our age. We need as many new stories as possible to keep this subject fresh for people. Things are constantly evolving. This is contemporary story, by which I mean that the climate accord featured in the film was inaugurated less than a year ago. So, this is a current affairs story about the largest companies on the planet and perhaps what they can do to make things better for everyone. I think there is a lot of natural appeal to a story like that.

At which festival has your film been screened?

Selected:
Colorado Environmental Film Festival (will be screened in person, I'm attending and so might others)

SF Indie Film Festival

Luleå International Film Festival (International, H2 Green Steel is 30 minutes from here)

Crystal Palace International Film Festival (will be screened in person)

Cinema on the Bayou

Panama Series Festival (international, may be screened in person)

Youngstown Film Festival

Door County Shorts Fest

London International Short Film Festival

LA Documentary Film Festival

Awards:
First Time Filmmaker Sessions @ Pinewood Studios

Golden Fern Film Festival, Award Winner

Venezia Short Italy, Semi-Finalist

Robinson Film Awards, Semi-Finalist

Berlin Indie Film Festival, Award Winner

Movie Play International Film Festival, Nominee

Crown International Film Festival, Award Winner

Multi Dimension Independent Film Festival, Award Winner

4theatre selection., Finalist
 

How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the film?
They loved it. It exceeded their expectations

If you could change something in your film, what would it be?
Substitute the couple Zoom interviews for in-person interviews.

Which movies are your favorites and why?
Barry Lyndon, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Silence, The Tree of Life, Everything Everywhere All At Once, There Will Be Blood. They all have a transcendent quality. I love their composition, cinematography, and poetic qualities.

What topics do you like to address in your stories?
Topics that remind us that all we have are us. I have no interest to demonize, be "othering", craft stories of us versus them. I would rather wrestle with something bigger than us, something existential, something that effects all of us. Something that brings us together versus tearing us apart. By this I do not mean stories that avoid conflict and tension, but that they retain that transcendent quality.

What is your motivation in making films?
I don't know, it's a deep heartfelt urge. I guess you could say it is a pursuit of self-actualization. We are all storytellers at heart. We just use different tools, mediums, methods, and languages. This is one that is a compelling language to me that I would like to discover further.

Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you the most?
Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne, Christopher Nolan, Lars von Trier, Bong Joon-ho, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, Daren Aronofsky

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
I want to do an expanded docuseries of the short film with a broader scope. I also want to produce or direct a feature film in the years ahead.


Microsoft, Google, META, and AWS are some of the biggest single-power consumers in the world. Along with other digital infrastructure companies’ consumption, they make up 2.4% of the world's energy use. This film details the digital infrastructure industry's work to reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to lower carbon emissions and help save the world.

Learn more about Bare Metal at IMDB

Interview was published with permission from our qualifying festival London Director Awards