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Making White Lightnin’

Making White Lightnin’

in 1956 Johnny Bush and Mickey Gilley got together in “Studio A” at SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston. They recorded a few tunes together and sent them out into the world in hopes of scoring a top 40 hit. At that time, radio DJ and recording artist, J.P. Richardson, aka The Big Bopper was a regular at the studio.

58 years later Johnny and Mickey have lived a lifetime in the music industry and enjoyed successful careers. A few weeks ago the two reunited in Studio A and recorded The Big Bopper’s “White Lightnin'” with some of the top session players in the Lone Star State.

Promoting Houston, its attractions and its history are a big part of what we do at Zenfilm. We thought it important to document this moment of SugarHill history.

The video has been picked up by the major country music networks and Vevo. We hope you enjoy it.

Urban Cowboys

Urban Cowboys

Country music legends Mickey Gilley and Johnny Bush last recorded at Houston’s SugarHill Studios 58 years ago. When they reunited in SugarHill’s historic “Studio A”  to cut some new duets, they were joined by some of H-Town’s most prominent musicians;. Kenny Cordray on guitar, Anthony Sapp on bass, Brian Thomas on pedal steel,  Tyson Sheth on drums and the beautiful and talented Champion Sisters on background vocals. The sessions were produced and recorded by SugarHill’s chief engineer Andy Bradley who celebrating his 30th year at the studio. History in the making. Even KHOU’s Great Day Houston came by to film the event for later broadcast.
Zenfilm’s Brittany Holland was in Avid 1 today putting together the music video for “White Lightning” which will be released along with the single next month. Hold on to your hats.

Symphony of A Thousand

The Zenfilm team was very fortunate to have collaborated once again on this project promoting the upcoming performance of Mahler 8.

Former Music Director Christoph Eschenbach returns to conduct two spectacular evenings of music by one of his favorite composers. Mahler’s Eighth Symphony is commonly referred to as the “Symphony of a Thousand” due to the huge number of performers required on stage. Watch in awe as more than 400 musicians, chorus members and vocal soloists join together – complete with a special stage extension – for a once-in-a-lifetime, powerful experience of music.

With the Houston Symphony team we created a short film that gives insight into this “once in a lifetime” performance. More info and tickets can be found HERE.

ECD: Glenn Taylor
Director: W. Ross Wells
Producer: Brittany Holland
Cinematographers: Scott Marett, Brittany Holland
Gaffer: Mike Haimoto
Sound: Paul Schneider
Editorial: Brittany Holland
Animation & Design: Bao-Uy Luu
PA: Tiye McKethen

The Houston Symphony, Jeff Walton and Zenfilm

Today was the premiere of a short film we created, literally, in concert with Houston Symphony and composer Jeff Walton. The project is titled “A Soundtrack for the City | Inspired by Houston”. The piece debuted at Wortham Center in Houston at the Greater Houston and Convention Bureau’s annual meeting.

The video is the combined work of over 150 individuals that contributed their considerable and diverse talents to making it happen. It is a time-lapse “portrait” of the city of Houston, set to an original score by Jeff Walton, performed by Houston Symphony and conducted by Brett Mitchell. The Zen team of director W. Ross Wells, Producer Brittany Holland, Cinematographer Scott Marett, Art Director Bao Luu, Production Coordinator Mike Haimoto and Jib Operator Billy Ralston created the visuals and handled the post production tasks. Orchestrations and arrangements by Paul English.

The orchestra was recorded by Brad Sayles. Other instruments were recorded by Andy Bradley. The music was mixed by Andy Bradley at SugarHill Recording Studios.

The video is a presentation of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, conceived by Holly Clapham-Rosenow.

An Epic Endeavour

An Epic Endeavour

Symphony Project
Left to right: Paul English, Brett Mitchell, Jeff Walton, W. Ross Wells.

I was trying to formulate a post describing  what took place in Zenfilmdom last Wednesday.  Fortunately, my extremely talented collaborator Jeff Walton posted the following on his Facebook page and I lifted it whole-cloth, read on…

“yesterday was an incredible and emotional day…”

Jeff Walton

As some of you know, yesterday was an incredible and emotional day. I had the honor of having an original score of mine played and recorded by the Houston Symphony in Jones Hall. This is all part of a massive video/music project to promote the city. I absolutely could not have done this without the help and inspiration of a remarkable group of people. W. Ross Wells and everyone at ZenfilmAndrew Bradley , Dan Workman, and everyone at SugarHill Recording StudiosBrad Sayles (awesome job!), Paul English for the stunning orchestration, everyone with the Houston Symphony, conductor/maestro Brett Mitchell (amazing!), the GHCVB folks (especially) Holly Clapham Rosenow who came up with the idea to begin with and without whom this would not have happened), and the support of my beautiful wife Dana Green Walton and my two boys Benjamin and Nicholas who supported and talked me through this sometimes terrifying and exhilarating experience. To my three drummers – Tyson ShethMarvin R Sparks Jr, and Leesa Harrington-Squyres and guitarist Aaron Echegaray – you guys totally rock and I cannot wait to see you in this video! And lastly, thanks to everyone who has posted such wonderful messages of support and well wishes, I truly appreciate it and am grateful!!!
~ Jeff Walton

Boe Creative NAHB Award

Boe Creative client Mischer Development has been listed among the nation’s best by the National Association of Home Builders.

Mischer has received a Silver Award in The Nationals 2014 presented by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for their new television commercial series for Cypress Creek Lakes. The commercials were created by Boe Creative Services and Zenfilm. In addition to the commercials, we also created a full length marketing video for Cypress Creek Lakes, which is available on the Mischer You Tube channel.

Silver Award winners advance to the NAHB’s Gold Awards competition, with winners announced during the annual International Builders’ Show set for Feb. 4, 2014, in Las Vegas.

“We used actual residents in the production,” according to Mischer Vice President Randy Corson. “We wanted to give people a feeling for what it’s really like to live in the community and illustrate the real value that exists in a well-developed neighborhood like Cypress Creek Lakes,” he added.

For The Journey Ahead…

“Think globally and act locally” is a catch phrase many recite when it comes to community activities for sound environmental practices. Aramco Services Company has been taking this principle to heart for decades by teaming with non-profits dedicated to a range of environmental initiatives. Now those stories are being told in a new video series “For The Journey Ahead” produced by the ASC Public Affairs Department in collaboration with the creative team at Zenfilm.

The most recent installment of For The Journey Ahead features the heroic work of Houston Food Bank. The piece was produced by Judy Sultan from Aramco Services Company and Brittany Holland of Zenfilm. Scott Marett filmed and edited the mini-documentary short.

Previous episodes have featured Trees For Houston, The Houston Museum of Natural Science and other community partners of ASC.

Emmy Number Two!

Emmy Number Two!

UPS delivered a holiday package to Zenfilm on new year’s eve. Inside were very pleased an Emmy Award for the TV campaign we produced last year with KHOU TV.

The second installment in our “KHOU Stands for Houston” campaign features Lyle Lovett recording the theme song in his own inimitable style. The session was filmed during the final sessions for  Lyle’s 2012 album “Release Me” at Conway Recording Studios in West Hollywood, CA. The session was a who’s who of accomplished musicians and was a hell of a lot of fun to shoot.  As an added bonus, we may have a shot at being featured in Leland Sklar’s coffee table book of people flipping him the bird.

Special thanks to our fearless leader and head of promotions Dale Lockett for making it happen. Here is the cast:

Starring: Lyle Lovett, Jim Cox, Russ Kunkel, Dean Parks, Luke Bulla, Keith Sewell, Leland Sklar, Sweet Pea Atkinson, Sweet Pea Atkinson, Sir Harry Bowens.

Concept by Dale Lockett. Directed by W. Ross Wells. Lyle Lovett and Jim Cox arranged the music. Nate Kunkel was the producer.

Thanks everyone and congratulations!

Download the KHOU Mobile App for iOS or Android.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

Yeah . . . these ladies could pretty much eat you for breakfast.

Need more proof? The Champion Sisters are performing live and in-person and releasing a new album this Friday evening at Cypress Saloon, located at 12710 Telge Rd. Even more proof? The lucky onlookers will be the first to witness their action packed new music video, License to Love (filmed by none other than Zenfilm).

Ross is especially proud of this one . . . it’s the first music video to take advantage of some of our new graphic suite’s range of applications. Check out some of the sequences built into our 1970’s spy thriller motif; I’d tell you what you could expect to see . . .but then . . . I’d have to kill you.

Let’s avoid the nastiness, shall we? Just show up to Cypress Saloon on Friday September 21st, at 12710 Telge Rd, Cypress, TX 77429. Of course you could always just call  (281) 373-1588 or visit their website for more information.

Look for the Champion Sisters new album Unfit to be Tied, as well as their video for the first single License to Love coming soon on Friday!

More Than a Feeling

More Than a Feeling

That ol’ Reverend Craig Kinsey is at it again, and this time . . . . he means business.

Good thing he’s got friends. You see, when the Sideshow Tramps aren’t prowling the Houston nights in search of Mistress Music, Craig Kinsey is toiling away behind the scenes. He’s been ceaselessly tinkering with not just a few things here and there, but rather crafting a world that shall serve as a doorway into his very imagination.

That’s where you come in . . . turns out you have the keys in your pocket. Visit Craig Kinsey’s Kickstarter page for more information on his upcoming album and sister novel, how the two will come together, and your place in all of this. You’ll hear it straight from his lips in a short piece courtesy of our own Brittany Holland. She has a knack for coaxing delivery of an inspired performance, believe me.

Want to get to know Craig Kinsey a little better? Check out his debut solo record The Burdener, out on ZenHill Records. Need a little more? Sideshow Tramps have a new one out, and they’ve never been better. Still not enough? . . . . . . . Have I mentioned his Kickstarter?