Ignite Movie: An Interview with Director Ryan Moore

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
September 22, 2017

Ignite Movie: An Interview with Director Ryan Moore

Ignite is a film project that will give you a cinematic journey into what it’s like to be at Burning Man. 

Featuring original music by Grammy Award winning composer Lorne Balfe (The Dark Knight, Inception, Lego Batman Movie, Ghost in the Shell, Genius), Ignite is now half-way through its Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise enough funds to release the film in its best possible format. Although nearly $24,000 has been raised so far, surpassing its initial $20,000 goal, Ignite hopes to raise more than $50,000 in funding in order to release the film in the version that Director Ryan Moore originally envisioned.

We sat down for a chat with Ryan to talk about the cinematic project, the inspiration behind it and what he hopes to accomplish with it. Make sure you read on to learn more about Ignite and that you visit the Kickstarter page here to help Ryan raise money toward his goal of $50,000.

Hi Ryan, congratulations on the work so far with the Ignite movie and thank you for taking the time to talk to us about it. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do and is making films your every day work?

I’m from Los Angeles, California and I’m a filmmaker and entrepreneur. I spend my time working on small businesses/start-ups, producing films, and volunteering for charitable organizations like The Salvation Army and CAFC.

How did you first discover Burning Man existed?

I first learned about Burning Man from my friend Tom in 1999. Back then I was DJing and going to raves, Tom and I were pretty much attached at the hip. I remember him explaining that he was renting an RV so he could shower a few times throughout the week to get the dust off and it just didn’t seem that appealing to me. I figured it was just another underground rave except it was a week long in the desert. He insisted it was far more than I could ever imagine but I sat it out.

What eventually prompted you to go?

Years later Tom was hiking (he loved being outdoors) and he twisted his leg. Unfortunately that injury served as a catalyst for cancer to grow. It spread very quickly throughout his body and the outcome wasn’t promising. Tom was always a giver, one of the most generous people I ever had the fortune of knowing. Even despite his condition he was always thinking of others and their well being. In true Tom fashion, he reminded me to attend Burning Man. He passed away in 2007 and with a group of friends I attended that year.

I know words don’t do it justice but clearly something sparked your need to tell a Burning Man story via film. Did something happen on the Playa or what was it?

Burning Man is a deeply heart opening experience. Like most people I believed it was a bunch of hippies in the desert doing copious amounts of drugs. After I attended I saw firsthand the humanity and sense of community people create. The respect the attendees have for one another, the earth, and the value in giving to one another was so unexpected. While there, people are open, genuinely happy and child-like. They build these incredibly innovative and inspiring art installations, buildings, mutant vehicles and special experiences for other people to enjoy. The event inspired me and gave me so much hope for humanity. Living in Los Angeles we’re all in our own little bubbles. We hop into our cars, drive to work, drive to grab food, then we drive home and we’re always in our small little worlds. People rarely go out of their way to start conversations with one another. However in this little half circle shaped town of Black Rock City, which is built and torn down in one week, there is a sight of what utopia could be like, where everyone is welcoming and friendly, even in such an extreme desert environment. It’s truly remarkable.

Why did you decide to call it Ignite?

For people who have never been to Burning Man, I want it to ignite a curiosity. So that perhaps they too would become motivated to see and experience it firsthand for themselves. I’ve been blessed to be able to bring friends and relatives to Burning Man. Over the years I’ve found that introducing people to it has been most fulfilling for me. To see their faces and hear them say for the first time “I get it now.” It’s truly life changing for people and I relive the wonder and utter elation expressed on their faces as I did during my first time.

On the other side of the coin, for burners who have attended, I want the short film to ignite memories and feelings of nostalgia so they too can relive moments of their past. Reminders of these magical chapters in our lives are important I believe.

What’s the real purpose of the film and how is it different from other Burning Man films?

“Burners” (people who attend Burning Man) are always asked what’s it like by our friends and family. I want this film to be a pure visual expression of what it feels like to be there. Unlike other Burning Man films I am not having the participants talk about what you’re seeing… we’re just following them around as the event unfolds. It’s 100% non-verbal. I feel that words don’t do it justice and they typically cheapen it. Also, instead of just focusing on the art installations, I feel its crucial to capture the emotional journey of the attendees so you can see that interaction and connectedness.

You assembled quite the cast to put this together. Tell us about the filming crew?

We are completely done filming this year’s Burning Man event. We were granted all access by the event organizers to roam free and document the experience. Imagine out of 70,000 attendees only 25 media passes were awarded to film and take photos.

I had two directors of photography: Jeremy Thierry and Neil Fernandez filming the event.

Jeremy started out as a TV Cameraman and Director/Cameraman for BBC, ITV, CNN, MTV, VH-1, Discovery, National Geographic and so on. Jeremy has been nominated for major international awards and was a national entry into the Saatchi & Saatchi World’s Best New Directors Showcase in Cannes. Over his commercial career he has shot over 70 commercials either as a Director or DP. He now works as the in-house Director Of Photography for Insomniac Events, the world’s leading dance music event production company.

Neil first started editing tv shows such as Paranormal State (A&E) to Emmy nominated shows like Animal Planet and Whale Wars. As a cinematographer Neil has worked on films which have premiered at the LA Film Festival while others have been featured on Netflix. Neil also films music videos using his stylish techniques with artists as Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa, and Busta Rhymes. He also enjoys traveling around the world filming beautiful models and pro-athetes such as Manny Pacquiao. Recently, he is most proud of an anti-bullying music video he directed/filmed in Chicago.

You’ve filmed everything and are on the last part of the project: editing and getting the original score for it done, two projects where once again you have quite the team working on each task!

The biggest task is now is taking all the footage and shaping it into a story. So now we’re in the finishing process (post production) of the project which primarily has to do with editing and music composition.

My composer Lorne Balfe is a Grammy award winning and Emmy/BAFTA nominated. He’s worked on films like The Dark Knight, Inception, Iron Man, Ghost in the Shell, Lego Batman Movie, Genius about Albert Einstein and so forth. Since Ignite is very musically driven I wanted to collaborate with someone as highly regarded as Lorne in order to create the most sophisticated musical score which will convey the right sound and emotion. Lorne regularly collaborates with Hans Zimmer and recently was the score producer for the fillm Dunkirk. Lorne is typically booked several years out on blockbuster studio films so I’m honored to be able to work with him on this project.

My editor Daniel Freedman is a writer, comic book colorist, film editor and director. His portfolio includes work for Warner Brothers, Lions Gate, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Apple, HP, Adobe, Vice, Nylon, the Cobrasnake, Dim Mak records, Roc Nation and more. After a number of years working as a colorist for Marvel Comics, Daniel collaborated with artist Tomm Coker (Wolverine, Avengers Assemble, Daredevil Noir) and created the Image Comics miniseries: UNDYING LOVE. After it’s 2nd issue hit stands, Warner Brothers bought Undying Love, their first outright purchase of a comic book (outside their DC/Vertigo line) in seven years. In 2013, Daniel collaborated with Sina Grace (Lil’ Depressed Boy, Not my Bag and former Editor for Skybound/The Walking Dead) to bring another Image series to life: BURN THE ORPHANAGE. Daniel has edited feature films, award winning documentaries and a multitude of short form content.

You’ve been funding a lot of this out of pocket and have now launched a Kickstarter campaign. What’s the goal with this?

Unlike my first film which I sold to Universal Studios, my focus has always been to finish this Ignite film and in true Burning Man fashion, give it away to people. I don’t want to charge people for it. I don’t want to commercially exploit it. I’d rather people be able to share it with their friends at no cost. I’ve had companies offer me sponsorship deals to have their logos added to the film but that’s no in line with the Burning Man ethos. I hope that the Burning Man and Kickstarter community help me by donating it so we can finish it and make it the best possible film it can be…

How else can people help and contribute to ensure Ignite gets all the love it deserves?

If donations aren’t possible, just sharing it on Facebook and Instagram and helping spread the word is more support that I can ask for… check out our Ignite Movie pages on Facebook and IG and feel free to share away!

Thank you Ryan, good luck with the film we can’t wait to see it!

Thank you for the support!

Click HERE for more information and to donate to the Ignite: A Burning Man Film Kickstarter campaign, which ends on Friday, October 6 2017.

Follow Ignite on Facebook and Instagram


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