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Producer and Cinematographer Damien Coor Honored as February Filmmaker of the Month

Monday, February 2, 2015
Heavy Contrast Film Productions Founder recognized for feature and short form film production

The District of Columbia Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (MPTD) is pleased to announce Damien Coor, accomplished producer and cinematographer, as the February Filmmaker of the Month.

Damien Coor is the founder of DC-based Heavy Contrast Film Productions, a full service media and film company specializing in feature and short form film production. Working in film for the past decade, he has produced, directed and shot an array of film and media projects all over the globe, including his hometown of Washington, DC.

Damien’s passion for telling stories through the lens drew him to the art of cinematography. He completed his MFA in Film Production with a concentration in cinematography at Howard University, where he was a two-time recipient of the prestigious John H. Johnson Fellowship. During his MFA program, Damien worked with and learned from award-winning cinematographers Ernest Dickerson (Malcolm X, Mo Better Blues, Juice), Arthur Jafa (Daughters of the Dust, Eyes Wide Shut), Bradford Young (Selma, A Most Violent Year) and Hans Charles (The Game, Pariah).

Inspired by the music of Cartagena, Colombia, Damien crafted a story with a vision to bring the lives and faces of the Afro-Colombian community to the masses. His film, Rebelión, which was shot entirely on location in Cartagena and San Basilio de Palenque, tells the story of one man’s struggle for justice against his ruthless and abusive boss. Damien wrote, produced and directed the film and used an entirely Colombian cast and crew to maintain the authenticity of the story. The film’s production has been covered in El Universal, Cartagena’s oldest newspaper, and a behind-the-scenes video on a local Cartagena television broadcast. Rebelión is currently in the final fundraising and editing phases. Damien plans to launch the film’s international debut at the 2016 Cartagena International Film Festival.

In addition to Rebelión, Damien and his colleagues at Heavy Contrast Films have worked on a variety of productions, including commercials, music videos, and both documentary and narrative films. Over the years, Heavy Contrast Films has built an extensive network in the Washington, DC, New York, and Cartagena, Colombia media markets and Damien has transformed his passion into his profession.

Damien is also a core member of the DC-based nonprofit organization Parallel Film Collective, which promotes, produces and exhibits independent films from around the globe. From Black radical thought to the female Middle Eastern experience, the goal of Parallel Film Collective is to create a platform for voices that are seldom heard and for stories seldom told. Parallel Film Collective, which has a working relationship with award-winning filmmaker Ava Duvernay and her company AFFRM, holds a monthly screening of these independent films at an event called “Hair in the Gate.”

As a trained ARRI Alexa Technician and an experienced cameraman and Steadicam operator, Damien began his film career working for such companies as National Geographic, CNN and NBA TV. He has worked with the RED, ARRI Alexa, 16mm and 35mm cameras, the Canon DSLR's and Cinema cameras, and the Sony EX-3.

Damien currently resides in Ward 6 of the District of Columbia.

MPTD launched the Filmmaker of the Month initiative to feature a District-based filmmaker who exemplifies the vast amount of talent and creativity based here in the nation’s capital. The Filmmaker of the Month initiative is part of MPTD’s mission to elevate the national and international profile of the city’s most talented filmmakers. Previous filmmakers honored include Chinatown producer and director Yi Chen, award-winning producer Eduardo Lopez, People Past and Present: Hillsdale director Tendani Mpulubusi El, and Big Mouth Productions founder Katy Chevigny.

You can visit the Filmmaker of the Month section to learn more about Damien and previous Filmmaker of the Month recipients.