CARBONDALE, Colorado - Two brothers, one here and the other in Denver, are getting some help from the Olympus Corp. to turn their skills at video work, music composition and movie making into a career.
Austin Lottimer, 26, of Carbondale, and Maitland Lottimer, 24, of Denver, recently were selected to be part of the Olympus Visionary program, which supports photographers and videographers around North America in pursuing their creative ambitions and dreams.
A recent trip to New York City for a gala event planned by Olympus was, unfortunately, doused by Superstorm Sandy and postponed indefinitely, said Austin Lottimer.
"I was really disappointed," he said. "I haven't met any other Visionaries yet. I'm curious to see what happens when we do go and meet everybody."
The brothers, both single, have been working in the film industry in different capacities since they were teenagers, spurred on by creative encouragement from their father, Barclay Lottimer, also of Carbondale.
For the past decade or so, according to Austin, Olympus has been seeking out potential members for its Visionary program in the U.S. and Canada.
The current roster of Visionaries includes two Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers - Jay Dickman of Littleton and Larry Price of Dayton, Ohio. The Visionaries operate independently, shooting exclusively with Olympus digital imaging equipment and posting them to Olympus controlled, web-based display sites.
"To be next to Pulitzer Prize winners, it's pretty cool," said Austin, who added that he and his brother are the program's first videographers.
Working together, the brothers won a VailFilm competition in 2011, sponsored by Olympus, by creating a short film under a tight deadline.
"It was 48 hours, start to finish," said Austin. "We shot it with their camera (an EPL II Pen), which I had never worked with before. I learned to operate it in an hour and a half."
The film featured their father as an artist in difficulty with his art, staring into the digital display of his camera at a photo of a woman.
The artist is suddenly, magically transported into the image, Austin explained, and starts "pursuing his inspiration" in the form of the woman.
Besides writing and producing the four-minute film, the brothers also composed and performed the music soundtrack.
Under the Olympus program, they have been sent out on several assignments, and their work is posted to websites managed by Olympus and the program. (Google "Olympus Visionary" to find links.)
"They have a huge following on social media," Austin said, explaining that Olympus uses Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler for its main advertising medium.
One current project, Austin said, is "Before The Last Drop," a documentary look at the gas-drilling industry in Western Colorado and its potential effects on the region's water resources.
A seven-minute YouTube clip (http://youtu.be/PZ_jGmqwazo), which Austin labeled a "rough teaser" for the documentary, features locally known activists who discuss their perceptions of the industry.
Included in the clip are Aaron Milton, a former gas rig worker worried about the industry's impacts, former Garfield County oil and gas liaison officer Judy Jordan, former Garfield County Commissioner Tresi Houpt, energy analyst Randy Udall, and industry critic Peggy Tibbetts of Silt.
As with all their work, the brothers are composing and performing the musical score that goes with the documentary.
"I would like to, at some point, be working with symphonic orchestras," said Austin, acknowledging that he is just as passionate about music and composition as he is about film making.
"I really want to be making films with my brother - films and music," Austin said. "We've never had an argument. We just have a great deal of respect for each other, we balance really well."
The same sentiments are expressed by Maitland, who lives in Denver and currently is in California on tour with his band, The Orphans, for whom he plays lead guitar. But he is eager to get back to work with Austin.
"I'm a huge film fanatic, have been all my life," Maitland said in a telephone interview with the Post Independent from San Diego.
Of the Olympus Visionary deal, Maitland said, "It was just a great opportunity for us to get our work out there. It's really broadened our horizons."
The brothers lived in California and in Boulder as youngsters, and used connections gleaned from their father's quarter-century as a Hollywood producer to gain entry into the business.
Together they worked on a television show, Good Time Golf, while still in their teens and living in Boulder.
Later, Austin said, the two worked on a feature length film, "City On A Hill," created by some of the same people who worked on the Golf show.
"It was really a very artsy, abstract film," Austin recalled. It did not make much of a splash in the U.S., but was shown extensively in Russia.
The brothers currently are working on several projects, including a science fiction trilogy that they estimate would cost $300 million to make as a full-length feature film.
"We have so many projects, it's hard to keep track," said Maitland.
But the trilogy, he said, is still a concept that may take an unexpected route to its public.
"It's such a long and in-depth story, it seems like it's something you could easily put in a book," he said, adding that he and Austin are considering turning it into a graphic novel to begin with.
As a bonus, he noted, "A graphic novel is almost like a story board for a movie," so the book could be a natural segue to a video format.
Maitland acknowledged that he and his brother have a lot going on, and that their projects have no definite schedules or time lines, which he finds a little troublesome.
"We usually get more productive when we have a deadline," Maitland said. "We wish we could get a deadline for these projects. But we'll see what happens."