Interview with Filmmaker Keaton Davis

Hope on Screen Grand Prize Winner

As founder of Key10 Media, Keaton Davis produces video content for both corporate and non-profit organizations.  Currently residing in Austin, Texas, Keaton enjoys the local outdoors while hiking and riding a bicycle or motorcycle. When venturing around the U.S. or to other countries, he produces video segments for the travel industry.  Keaton is a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, where he served as Director of Independent Film Projects.

How did you get interested in filmmaking?

My interest in filmmaking began in elementary school, using the family's 8mm camcorder. After a few years, silly home videos progressed to friends' skateboard highlight films. In high school, my teachers adjusted to receiving a video file in lieu of the assigned poster project. My friends always knew they might be featured as actors or documentary subjects. 

Was working on this film different for you than others? Is there anything that set it apart and made it special?

HOPE IS, a family story, is different from my other projects, in that it's deeply personal. Dealing with my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease is challenging, and to publicly display our private struggles can be difficult. After sharing with a few friends a recording of my grandmother's reaction to music, I decided to move forward. The music that provides memory and hope to my grandmother, provides a visual narrative that in turn gives hope to each viewer.

Compared with other forms of art and communication, are there unique ways that film can convey and cultivate hope?

Hope, as a feeling of expectation and desire, lends itself to an emotional response. I believe that film is, at its core, an emotional medium, through camera placement and editing.  Other forms of art and communication may successfully present its subjects with emotion. Film, combining multiple forms of art and communication, can command more powerful emotional responses, including hope. 

What movies best embody the theme of hope?

When talking about the theme of hope in cinema, a few titles come to mind. “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Shawshank Redemption,” and more recently “The Revenant.”  Each film features a main character who hopes to overcome his environment.  While they are hopeful, they are also strategic and committed in their actions to succeed.  

Would you describe yourself as a hopeful person?

I'm a hopeful person, with fond memories and big dreams that motivate me toward the future. As a history lover, I think our connections to past experiences, or more specifically our memories of those experiences, influence our present and future. I live in a family of storytellers where most everyone loves telling, hearing, and reading great stories. My biggest fear, or greatest hope, is that I'll not have enough time to capture the greatest of our family stories on film.

What projects are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m working on expanding Key10 Media to provide additional video services.  As a passionate small business owner, I want to introduce other small businesses to video as an affordable advertising medium.  Also, I'm beginning work on a historical short film that concerns the challenges of my paternal grandmother.