PSU student opens film studio

Every year, thousands of Americans apply for a business license in the United States, but according to Business Magazine, only .03 percent of all applicants are under the age of 25.

Every year, thousands of Americans apply for a business license in the United States, but according to Business Magazine, only .03 percent of all applicants are under the age of 25.

Portland State’s own Nate Brauer-Rieke now falls into that elite .03 percent. On Jan. 11, he and his partners officially received their business license from the state of Oregon, establishing Ellipsis Film Studios here in Portland.

Senior Brauer-Rieke, a 21-year-old political science major, became interested in the film industry over a year ago.

 “I was originally interested in writing,” he said. “I was looking on Craigslist for anyone who was willing to work with scripts…I ended up meeting my partner, and a year later this is what we’ve ended up with.”

Brauer-Rieke’s Craigslist search ultimately led him to Portland filmmaker Christen Kimbell, owner of Sleeping Dog Films.

“When I met Nate, I was busy making movies with my company, but I’m not a business person,” Kimbell said. “Nate demonstrated talent in that aspect; it was clearly something he’s interested in.”

With the company now established, the real work begins, according to Brauer-Rieke. As with any small business, Ellipsis Studios is still financially struggling, but with several projects already underway, the team is confident in their fledging studio.

According to Kimbell, who manages the production end of Ellipsis, they have already completed a series of webisodes and short films to start marketing the company and proliferating the name.

Not unlike the traditional studios of Hollywood, Brauer-Rieke hopes that one day they will be handling full-length movies. But given the luxuries of 21st-century media, he hopes that Ellipsis will also effectively seize a valuable portion of the ever-growing web-based market.

 “The key to this business is diversity,” he said. “We have to start at the bottom, doing advertising, commercials and things like that. Ultimately, once we can afford it, our goal is feature films.”

Brauer-Rieke stressed the importance of crafting a body of work to display to potential investors as well as gain interest from higher profile filmmakers. He also said that as the business expands, they must constantly produce and generate content.

In addition to the work they have already produced, Ellipsis is in the production phase of a full-length documentary titled “Invasive Species,” which documents man’s impact on the environment. The film, which is slated for release in February 2012, ultimately proposes a more positive interaction with nature.

Despite the decent start that the company has been afforded, the Ellipsis team is perfectly aware of the challenges they will be facing.

“Oregon really doesn’t have a history of successful film companies,” Kimbell said. “We’re really hoping we can change that.”

While this much is true, the inception of Ellipsis as a company is occurring at a time when Oregon is exhibiting an increased interest in investing in film as a means of bringing jobs and resources back into the state. The most recent example is Governor John Kitzhaber’s proposed renewal of the film industry tax credit program, which is estimated to make 2011 “the biggest year for total dollars spent on film and television projects in Oregon’s history,” according to the Governor’s Office of Film and Television.

Regardless of his mainly optimistic outlook on the success of his company, Brauer-Rieke is also fully aware of the daunting task he is up against.

“I realize that this is a huge risk, but I’m keeping my nose to the grindstone,” he said. “The whole team is really invested in this, though, which is great. If all else fails, I’ve at least gained the experience of starting a business, and the social networking that’s come with it.”

Brauer-Rieke is also heavily involved in the Portlanders for Schools organization, which is campaigning for increased funding for

Oregon public schools. ?