Not many family-owned and operated businesses can succeed and be in sync like the Bontrager twins. Lawayne and Dewayne are Atlanta’s best kept secret in the world of independent film production. As owner and operators of Twiin Media and Bontrager Twins Productions, they have been grinding out product since 2004. Their love of the art shows in the many indie films and commercials that have been shot solely in Atlanta and on occasion Macon.
It’s the name
Originally from Northern Indiana, these transplants over the years have succeeded in showcasing some of the talent in Atlanta. Their artistry in the film industry is proof that they love what they do. Judging by their work, it’s evident in works such as “Zombie Crush: A Teenage Zomedy,” “Boy in the Box,” episodic “Dude’s Day,” “Gamerz,” “Plan B,” and “Dead Ringers,” or any other tales and commercials created by the brothers. They manage to integrate special effects in their well told story, which speaks volumes of how both production companies work within each other.
Besides (rather because of) the obvious fact of they’re twins, these are two of the most individually creative men in this business. During this interview, they managed to convey their intuitiveness, opinions and sense of humor. Though their body of work is impressive, they feel that doing short films since their initial involvement in the industry, it’s only a matter of time before they make their way to the big screen. In fact, it will be sooner than later as 2016 is fast approaching.
A true passion
The new daily grind
The Bontrager’s film making journey started in 2007, using hand-held consumer/ pro cameras. As memory served them, it was an entry into the world renowned 48-Hour Film Festival. Since then, they grind out at least 3 – 4 shorts a year. As short filmmakers, they finance their work 100% out-of-pocket, with the exception of the client-based commercials that come their way. There isn’t a genre they haven’t made a film about, and they haven’t run out of ideas yet. To say they’re hungry is an understatement, but it comes with the territory.
Since those lean years, they have been innovative in their technique. The help of upgrading their equipment to include Red cinema cameras enables them to work more quickly and efficiently. Speaking of which, there s a clear line of demarcation (so to speak) that dictate the duties of each, but at times their cross lines. It’s really a matter of which talent is needed that becomes the bottom line.
“Each project is different. One person usually spearheads the project, but both direct on the day of the shoot. The chief editor is the one who spearheaded the project.”
A film within a film
Their own mantra
As far as what point of the filmmaking process each enjoys, Lawayne likes the beginning, “the ability to use my mind in telling a story.” Dewayne likes the end, “… looking for the payoff and likes the reaction of the audience.”
Filming in Georgia
When asked what a filmmaker should never do without, the Bontrager twins say it’s about the freedom to make films they want, their way. It’s about the acceptance to change on a dime but always keeping in mind the big picture, what the message is, and a second pair of socks.
Check out their 2013 demo reel