Bob Marquis, a longtime IFP Phoenix member, was named the Filmmaker of the Year award by the Phoenix Film Foundation at this year’s Phoenix Film Festival. The Foundation singled out Bob for his award-winning work in film, as well as his extensive work in educating young people.
“It was completely unexpected,” Bob said. “I didn’t think I was in any way a contender.” With so many talented filmmakers in the community, Bob definitely didn’t have a speech prepared. On the contrary, Bob “… was completely blown away. It is quite an honor.”
Bob has been an active member of the Phoenix film community since he moved here in 2008. But his road to Filmmaker of the Year wasn’t a straight one. Bob didn’t set out to make films – he was an improv student at Detroit’s Second City when he fell in love with the art. He saw an improv group, Neutrino, that created a live improvised movie during their performances. Bob, who didn’t even own a camera at the time, was hooked. He bought a camera, licensed the idea, and started a Neutrino group in Detroit.
He met his wife, Jessica, while performing in Detroit. Together, they began making short films with friends. “Jess is a key part of my work,” Bob says, “I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”
Even at the beginning of his career, Bob wanted to grow and learn. With each film he has made, he’s strived to try something new – including involving people who have never made a film before.
When Bob and Jessica moved to Phoenix, they found a community that provided them with many different people who were also making films – people they could learn from and with. The couple joined IFP Phoenix and began entering film competitions. They spearheaded the IFP Screenwriting group for a time, creating a space where writers could learn from each other and experts in the field.
Webb Pickersgill, a past Filmmaker of the year, says, “”What I love about Bob is that not only is he incredibly creative, but his creativity is contagious and he freely shares his thoughts and processes with our younger filmmakers.”
Awesome Guy, Bob Marquis’ award-winning film
Bob has not only developed skills behind the camera as an editor, cinematographer, and director, but also in front of the camera as an actor. Over the years, his films have won many awards. His latest film, Cordones, won a best editing award in the 2012 IFP Beat the Clock Challenge, and was was shown at the 2013 Phoenix Film Festival. Awesome Guy, a 2011 film, was an official selection in the 2012 Phoenix Film Festival and 2012 Prescott Film Festival and the 2013 Phoenix Comicon.
While Bob loves storytelling, he has found an additional passion- educating youth about film. To further that mission, he and Jessica founded Sailbear Labs,non-profit that strives to teach students ages 12-18 how to tell great stories through film. In addition to providing educational opportunities for kids throughout the year, Sailbear Labs is a partner with the Phoenix Film Festival, offering hands-on workshops and panel discussions each year.
Bob, Jessica, and Moxie Marquis at the 2013 Phoenix Film Festival.
Bob has been educating about film for years, including teaching at The Art Institute of Phoenix since 2008. His love for educating youth led him to pursue a new career in 2010. He is now a certified teacher and leads the digital film program at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix.
Bob has had a pretty stellar start to his career, and he has even bigger plans for the future. His goal isn’t to make feature films or move to LA; he wants to “be a solid example of someone who consistently creates quality work and tells original stories.” Jessica reinforces this, remarking that Bob has three driving principles: creating an inclusive community of artists, inspiring people to express themselves through film, and remaining open and receptive about his own work.
It is these traits, along with his solid body of work that led the Phoenix Film Foundation to name Bob Filmmaker of the Year. You can follow Bob’s continuing journey at his website, www.bobmarquis.com, or at www.sailbearlabs.org