Owen Tooth and Toothpix
What should a film-maker called Owen Tooth christen his film company? He just had to call it Toothpix, didn't he! And it's rapidly becoming a company to watch.
Owen Tooth started young. His love of cameras led him through A-level photography on to university at Derby to take, as he thought, photography and creative writing.
But the course was cancelled! Instead he signed up for film and video production, and en route discovered a new passion.
Busy at work
He also evolved his own style as he learned the grammar of film: how a person shot from above can appear meek, or in danger, while shot from below can seem powerful or overbearing.
He learned that the length of a shot, the lighting, the colour, the props used all evoke different responses: "there's no limit to how deep you can go with what you're saying, and there's so many layers of information you can carry with a shot and a soundtrack".
As a fledgling film-maker trying to earn a living, he soon realised, as he'll wryly tell you, how much he still had to learn.
Learn, though, he obviously did, with Anton Corbin engaging him to work on "Control", his film about Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
These days, though, Owen likes to concentrate more on directing than working as a crew member. His documentaries have taken him all over the world.
He's happy, too, to direct on his own doorstep: he filmed last year's Feste in the streets of Derby.
And alongside the documentaries Toothpix generates shorts - which have won Owen international awards and festival screenings.
Speak to him about some of his subjects - such as the people he's filmed for companies working with youngsters from difficult backgrounds - and you'll become acutely aware that this is a film-maker with a strong ethical as well as aesthetic sense.
For Owen the tone matters. He's aware how easy it is to stereotype or misrepresent. He can, if you're interested, give you a thoughtful critique of the way that films have treated women and the effect that's had.
He'd love to direct his own feature films, but he's hardly pining for the hills of Hollywood: he loves living here in Derbyshire with his wife Emma, a talented artist in her own right.
If anything, the opening of Quad and the installing of The Big Screen in Derby have made him even more enamoured of the area. So maybe we can watch his products tour the world to plaudits, while hanging on to the man who makes them.
last updated: 19/08/2009 at 11:30