Ljung Takes Top Cash Prize at Milwaukee Film Festival

We are proud to announce that Erik Ljung has taken home the top cash prize at the 2015 Milwaukee Film Festival for the director's cut of his film Mother’s For Justice. The documentary short highlights the struggle of Maria Hamilton who seeks justice in the wake of a police shooting which killed her son Dontre in April of 2014.

The film premiered on Friday, October 2nd to a packed crowd at Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre. Ljung was accompanied on the red carpet by several of the main subjects of his film including Maria Hamilton.

Mother’s For Justice was edited by Michael Vollman and additional photography was provided by Discourse members Joel Van Haren and Dan Peters. A version of the film was previously published by AJ Plus in August 2015. Read more about Ljung's success at the Milwaukee Film Festival below:

Photo: Jennifer Johnson\ Milwaukee Film

Photo: Jennifer Johnson\ Milwaukee Film

Mothers for Justice on AJ+

After her unarmed son, Dontre Hamilton, was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014, Maria Hamilton formed Mothers for Justice to bring together women who have lost their children to police or vigilante violence. After months of organizing, the mothers took their demands to Washington, DC. Erik Ljung's latest film chronicles this story and is now live on Al Jazeera's AJ+ digital channel.

The film was edited by Michael Vollmann (The 414s: The Original Teenage HackersThe Jeffrey Dahmer Files) and additional photography was provided by Discourse members Joel Van Haren and Dan Peters

Dirty secret at the bottom of the Great Lakes

Discourse's first independent commission was released last month on VICE's Motherboard Channel. In the documentary, Oil & Water: Sunken Hazards of North America's Pipeline Industry we investigate a 62-year old oil pipeline running through the largest freshwater system on earth - the Great Lakes. The film was reported, produced and edited by Spencer Chumbley. Chris Gill - former Discourse member and now VICE Staff member was the Director of Photography. Additional editing and production support was provided by Joe Van Eeckhout. Press for the piece can be found here:

  • The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann - The "Ticking Bomb" Below the Great Lakes (Television Interview)

  • WORT 89.9 FM - Oil Pipelines that Dwell Beneath the Great Lakes (Audio Interview)

  • David Pakman Show - There's a Ticking Timeomb Oil Pipeline (Video Podcast)

  • Grist - Video about the aging pipeline below the Great Lakes should be this summer’s top horror flick

  • EcoWatch - Enbridge’s Aging Pipelines Beneath Great Lakes Are ‘A Ticking Time Bomb’

  • Daily Kos - Keystone XL of the Great Lakes

  • NWF - Summer Disaster Movie? No Thanks.

  • On Earth  - In Dire Straits

  • Great Lakes Echo Pipelines, Fish tanks and Environmental Risk

Filming Pipeline Nation for VICE News

Spencer Chumbley shot and field produced the latest environmental story from VICE News. He traveled to Glendive, Montana with Nilo Tabrizy several days after a pipeline ruptured underneath the Yellowstone River and contaminated the towns drinking water supply. The 15+ minute documentary explores the incident and failures in America's pipeline regulatory system. It was shot primarily on the Canon C300, with the Washington, DC portion being shot on the Sony FS7.

New York Times features Ljung's latest

Erik Ljung's latest film was published in the New York Times on March 19th 2015. The film focuses on the death Dontre Hamilton at the hands of a Milwaukee Police officer and Wisconsin's new law regarding the requirement of an outside investigation of police officer involved deaths. Ljung directed and shot the film with assistance from Dan Peters and additional cinematography by Quinn Hester. Read some of the press the film has generated locally in Milwaukee.

Speaking in Seattle

Spencer Chumbley delivered a keynote presentation to high school students attending the Washington State Global Issues Network in Seattle this weekend. The talk, entitled "Foster Discourse, Highlight Humanity", echoed Discourses' motto and focused on social change through filmmaking.

Additionally, Chumbley discussed "The News After Jon Stewart" with Brett Horvath over beer and bites at Seattle' Impact Hub. Big thanks to all those who came out and the event's sponsors: Crosscut, Impact Hub, YPIN, and Hilliard's Beer. Check out #newsafterjon on Twitter for snapshot of the discussion.


We help VICE News resurrect "Toxic" series

VICE News has resurrected the media brand's popular environmental series - Toxic. Discourse was there behind the camera for the latest installment on the coal ash. 

Erik Ljung was responsible for principle photography North Carolina and  Spencer Chumbley filmed on location in Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. We utilized Canon's popular EOS-Cinema C100 and C300 series cameras. 

Looking for more? Look at these environmentally focused films that we have worked on: Petcoke: Toxic Waste in the Windy City, Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail. 

We made the Canon C100 a web news workhorse

Spencer Chumbley recently published an article about his time using the C100 for VICE Media.:

The release of the C300 caused many news and documentary shooters to move past the ‘DSLR revolution’ into a new order. It met their aesthetic needs, had better ergonomics that DSLRs and also passed broadcast standards – 4:2:2 color and a bit rate of 50 mbps saw to that. But what about those professionals whose work lives on the web, such as VICE News? people who didn’t need the high spec but wanted the look, the controls and the handling? The answer turned out to be the cheaper Canon C100, but like any camera it isn’t without problems.

Read it here on NewsShooter.com.


Erik Ljung wins Mary Nohl Fellowship

Erik Ljung was recognized as a winner of the Mary Nohl Fellowship:

The idea of a solitary artist working alone in the studio is increasingly a thing of the past, if one judges by this year's winners of the Mary L. Nohl Fellowships for individual artists. Many of the winners represent nodes of connection among others and create their own audiences.

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"Death of Corey Stingley" at 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival

The VICE News film "The Death of Corey Stingley" was featured in the 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival. Director Spencer Chumbley and Director of Photography / Field Producer Erik Ljung attended the screening. Check out some press about the film as well as interviews with Spencer and Erik:


Father of Corey Stingley, Craig addresses the crowd at the Milwaukee Film Festival after the screening of the film featuring his son.

Father of Corey Stingley, Craig addresses the crowd at the Milwaukee Film Festival after the screening of the film featuring his son.