The Affolter Brothers


photo by Amanda Oakes
Nathan Affolter, Jon Affolter, Heath Affolter, Thomas Affolter
 
From the Affolter Entertainment website:
 
Affolter Entertainment is a media production and development company based out of Vancouver, BC.  The company's objective is to develop and produce original content for a variety of media including animation, online, interactive games, advertisement, television, film, and documentary. Affolter Entertainment is dedicated to creating compelling stories that feature dynamic characters. Every Affolter Entertainment project aims to surprise, inspire, and to entertain.

The company has experience in both film and animation using both traditional and innovative techniques and technology. Affolter Entertainment uses classical and stop motion animation, as well as industry standard technology including Flash, Harmony, and AfterFX.

In addition to developing their own original content, the company founders have contributed to a variety of recognized TV and film series including Ren and Stimpy, Bob’s Burgers, Wayside, Robotboy, Atomic Betty, Edgar and Ellen, 1001 Knights, and Rob Zombie’s El Super Beasto.
 
The Affolter Brothers made the short film Counter Act which features Louis Ferreira. They joined The Friends of Louis Ferreira in May 2016 with an exclusive interview.
 
 
 
Professional Credits
source: IMDb
 


Production Company - filmography

  1. Soggy Flakes (2017) ... Production Company
  2. The Undertaker's Son (2017) ... Production Company
  3. Counter Act (2016) ... Production Company
  4. "Bottoms Up" (2015) ... Production Company
  5. "Txt Tales" (2015) ... Production Company
  6. "Food Flix" (2014) ... Production Company
  7. Plant Girl (2010) ... Production Company
  8. Left to Blossom (2008) ... Production Company (presents)
  9. Bread, Salt, and Water (2007) ... Production Company
  10. Sofia's Birthday (2006) ... Production Company

Distributor - filmography

  1. "Bottoms Up" (2015) ... Distributor (2015) (worldwide) (all media)
  2. "Txt Tales" (2015) ... Distributor (2015) (worldwide) (all media)
  3. "Food Flix" (2014) ... Distributor (2014) (worldwide) (all media)
  4. The Jester (2008/I) ... Distributor (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  5. Left to Blossom (2008) ... Distributor (2008) (worldwide) (DVD)
  6. Bread, Salt, and Water (2007) ... Distributor (2007) (worldwide) (DVD)
  7. Sofia's Birthday (2006) ... Distributor (2006) (worldwide) (DVD)
 
For individual filmographies of the four brothers please check out their individual listings:

 
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AFFOLTER BROTHERS
 

 
 
FF – Hi everybody, this is Bea from Ferreira Fest and I’m so thrilled to be talking to the Affolter Brothers tonight. They made the short movie Counter Act that Louis was in a little while ago and that we’re about to see very soon.

So anyways, hi, and, who are the Affolter Brothers? And what is it you do? What gets you up in the morning?

NA – Hello!

JA – Hello!

NA – Hello, how’s it going? I’m Nathan Affolter. I’m the oldest brother, I’m trained in animation as well. We all kind of collaborate on animation and live action.

JA – And I’m Jonathan, I’m the second oldest, also trained in classical animation.
 
HA – I’m Heath. My training is all in live action.
 
TA – Yeah, and I’m Thomas. I’m the youngest. I’m the baby of the family. Proudly the babe. And I’m also trained in live action.
 
Heath, Nathan, Big Bad Wolf, Jon, Thomas
accepting an award for the stop-motion animated web series "Food Flix"
at the 2015 Vancouver Web Fest
We all work together and we love writing and developing stories, themes, characters, things that we’re passionate about. Then, if we can, whenever we can find financing for the project, ultimately producing and directing together as well.
 
Because, well, quite frankly we produce our best work when we’re all working together, and  we’re all on the same creative wavelength but we all have strengths and weaknesses, we all bring something different to the table.

So we find that the more minds on a topic, the better the end result is.
 
FF – Fantastic.
 
HA – We have a production company together called Affolter Entertainment, and that’s what we do. We do short films and music videos and commercials, web-series and we’re working towards doing our first feature.
 
FF – Okay, and who’s the water-color artist?
 
NA – Oh, that’s me, Nathan.
 
FF – That’s Nathan, okay, because I saw the picture on Twitter today and I was like, damn, that’s good. So, very multi-talented there.
 
HA – Thanks. Both Jon and Nathan are extremely talented artists.
 
TA – Both Heath and I are extremely not talented artists.
 
FF – Again, perfect match, right? All right, well, if somebody could tell us a little bit about Counter Act and maybe about the story of the movie. What’s the plot?
 

Cinematographer: Stefan Berrill
 
HA – Well, Counter Act is a short drama, it takes place in a Tennessee diner circa 1960. And it’s about a young woman named Alice who witnesses a sit-in protest happening at the diner that she’s in, by two young African Americans named Mary and Ray, and she somewhat naively decides to get involved and join them in their protest. But that kind of raises the ire and anger of the racist patrons. And she soon gets in over her head.
 
But eventually through the example set by the sit-inners, she learns to stand up for what she believes in.
  
FF – Great! How did you come up with that idea? With the storyline, even wanting to make a movie about this particular topic?
 
HA – Yeah, originally it started about five years ago or so when the last short film that we had in film festivals was playing at the Santa Cruz film festival, and one of the films playing there was a documentary called Soundtrack for a Revolution.
 
And part of that documentary is about the Civil Rights movement and the music within it, and they showed some clips of sit-in protests that were happening, like old news footage.
  
Naika Toussaint, J. Alex Brinson, Jacqueline Robbins, Louis Ferreira 
photo by Amanda Oakes

And we just found it incredibly inspiring, and a really amazing story.

We actually hadn’t even heard of the sit-in movement prior to that and the more we researched it the more we thought that was just a travesty that not only us but a lot of people in our generation didn’t even know that that took place.
 
We knew about the Civil Rights movement but you hear mostly about the Martin Luther Kings and the Malcolm Xs and the real leaders of the Civil Rights movement, but you don’t hear so much about the everyday Joes  who really took it upon themselves to get out there and do whatever they could, and they were such a massive part of the movement, and we just found that really inspiring and we wanted to tell a story about that.
 


Naika Toussaint, J. Alex Brinson. Cinematographer: Stefan Berrill
 

 
 
HA – But in doing our research about it we struggled with, a little while, with how to tell the story, because of the fact that we’re Canadian and we’re white and we’re not exactly directly tied to the movement in any way. Which kind of stalled us a little bit of being like why should we tell this story or why do we deserve to tell such a great story. And it was through that lens that we found our particular story which is about a white girl named Alice who witnesses it all happening and decides to get involved. We found our personal connection to it because of the  fact that even if you are an outsider who’s passionate about it, even if you’re not the one who’s actually being persecuted, doesn’t exonerate you from getting involved and for standing up for what’s right.
 
FF – Right. Exactly. So that was your personal connection, your hook into that particular part of history.
 
HA – Yeah, exactly.

FF – Now how did you end up casting Louis in the movie? How did that come about?

NA – We’re lucky that we got part of the Hot Shot Shorts Competition which was a script to screen competition here in Vancouver. Part of that sponsorship includes a casting director named Maureen Webb. She’s great, she’s an awesome person, it was just a treat to get to work with her.
Teal Fiddler, J. Alex Brinson, Louis Ferreira , Naika Toussaint
Photo by Amanda Oakes


She’s legendary in town, and everywhere. And, yeah, so she helped cast the film and got us in connection with Louis I believe, didn’t she?
 
TA – Yeah, yeah.
 
HA – We really couldn’t have done it without Maureen's casting, she has worked with Louis before. She’s the one that got in contact with him, gave him the script, stuff like that.
 
TA – Absolutely. Maureen’s the best, for sure. Project Limelight, too, is very worthwhile. All that work she’s doing, she’s definitely one to give back. We were one of the lucky recipients of that.
 
FF – Great.
 
TA – She’s out of our range, normally. We were fortunate to get to work with her.
 
JA –  At first we thought it was kind of a long shot, we didn’t know [Louis] personally, had never worked with him before. But we love his work, had seen him in feature films and television. And we’re just huge fans, so we were looking for somebody to play Jimmy, the manager and owner of the diner. So we contacted him and he read the script and loved it and wanted to get involved and contacted us and that’s how it just came to be that he was part of the project, and we were so lucky to have him.
 
J. Alex Brinson, Louis Ferreira, Naika Toussaint
Photo by Amanda Oakes

Louis brought so much, with his experience and just his personality, he’s such a great guy to work with. And he was on set, I think that all the younger actors, too, looked up to him and learned a lot from his technique, from his methods, and just the way he is on set. He puts everybody at ease but at the same time can turn it on.
 
And when the camera’s rolling and it’s time to do his job he’s very professional that way.

FF – Do you have a memory of the filming that you’d like to share? Something that surprised you, maybe a discovery that you made, as you made the movie? As you were actually working on set?
 
TA – You know what, there are so many stories to choose from. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing in particular and we’re kind of fortunate, too. Normally a lot of big stories come out of stuff going completely haywire or sideways or breaking down.
 
But we were actually, we were fortunate, we had a pretty smooth shoot. It kind of all went according to plan.

crew members and actors J. Alex Brinson, Naika Toussaint

Photo by Eric Jorgensen


I think definitely one of the most lasting impressions or memories that all of us took away from it was just the level of respect and comfort that everyone brought to it as well as their passion and hard work.
 

Photo by Eric Jorgensen
But, we start every day of our productions, we have a little thing that  us four brothers do, where every project we have, every day after the safety meeting we start with a big huddle. Like a team huddle, so everyone, all the cast and crew we all get around and put our arms around each other and have a little pep talk. And we like to treat everyone like a big family, basically. I mean, we are a big family, that’s where our background is.
 
FF – Right.

TA – So we have to tell people we’re not just coworkers, we’re not just all members of a team,  we’re all a big family,  and each and every day that we work together that’s how we’ve got to treat each other, with love, dignity and respect.
 
 
 
TA – And especially for a project like this where, not only for Louis but for all the performers, in particular Naika Toussaint and J. Alex Brinson who  play the sit-in characters, and Teal Fiddler, for that matter, who played Alice, our lead character. It’s not easy content to do,  the nature of the story is quite heavy and any time you dabble in racism and prejudice you’re  entering into a dark area, a dark aspect of human nature. And it’s important for performers of any creative practice, but especially for actors on a film set, to be able to feel comfortable. 

Naika Toussaint, J. Alex Brinson, Dakota Daulby, Teal Fiddler
Photo by Amanda Oakes


And to just feel like everyone’s there to support them, and everyone is there to help them out. And that they’re allowed to go to those places, and to have no fear of doing so. We really felt like our crew, all of the cast members as well, but especially the crew, they all,  the below the line crew members, every person just brought such a level of respect and decency to it and we really felt like it was a big family out there.
 
We were super honored and super humbled and just unbelievably grateful for the level of passion and love that all the members of the family brought.
 
FF – That’s wonderful.
 

J. Alex Brinson, Louis Ferreira, Naika Toussaint
Photo by  Amanda Oakes

HA – Louis in particular, I think, it’s not necessarily one particular memory, but he’s just such a veteran that he really became a leader for everybody on set, especially the cast, because we had a lot of young up and coming cast in this and every time he stepped on the set it just made everything so light and fun and people could turn to him and he always, he had some pointers for people, but as well just would always be making jokes and saying things that would keep the crew and the cast just feeling positive throughout the entire experience.

FF – Right, and that’s so important, especially when you’re dealing with a heavy subject. You need a little bit of levity here and there.
 
TA – Absolutely.
 
TA – Yeah, and there was a point, we found out that Louis, he was still doing Motive while we shot this short film. Normally the way Motive works is like a Monday through Friday shoot, they don’t shoot on weekends. But we found out like, what was it, a day or two before we were about to shoot that Louis had just gotten word that that particular episode of Motive that they were shooting needed to shoot on the Saturday, and our production was a Saturday/ Sunday shoot.
 
There was a time where Louis called us up and [said], I’m due on Motive so I won’t be able to get to set until later in the evening. And is it even going to be possible to be a part of the project. And he really wanted to but he was worried about being a hindrance to us, the team making, the production team and we just said, no, you know what, we’ll figure it out with the schedule.

Robert G. Heimbecker, Louis Ferreira, Jason Logan
Photo by Amanda Oakes
 
We’ll figure it out, and the way it ended up working was that we started Saturday morning and probably worked for, I don’t know, seven, eight, nine hours before Louis even got to set that day.
  

Photo by Amanda Oakes
So he had actually done two productions; he had done a full day on Motive, then came all the way out to Maple Ridge, which is outside of Vancouver, so it’s a bit of a drive out to our set. He came all the way out there to our little production, our little Indie short film, coming from this big hit TV series, and for everyone on set he was like a spark plug. As soon as he got there everyone was just elevated by him. And as Heath mentioned that the humor that he brings, he’s making everyone laugh, making jokes, just having a great time and just really brought this incredible energy.

I remember thinking, myself, that I was pretty blown away that this guy who’s, you know it’s not like he’s a twenty year-old or anything. He’s a veteran actor now but he still has this incredible energy where he can do two completely different productions, plus travel time, in the same day, and still just set the standard for the level of energy and passion that’s there on set. It was really an amazing thing.
 
HA – And on top of that he worked the entire Sunday for us and then on Monday had to go back to Motive. So we were extremely grateful just that he was willing to put in that time for a little Indie that wasn’t paying him anything.
 
TA – Dedication, truly.
 

 
 
FF – What’s next in the development of this project? Where are you with the movie at this point and when can we expect to actually catch a glimpse of it?
 
NA – We’re currently sending it out to film festivals right now. So we’ll be doing that for about the next year. It will play at some of them, hopefully. You’ll be able to keep track of that on our website, and our Facebook and Twitter.
 
After the film festivals, we really want people to see this film, just to spread the word. So we’ll be figuring out the next avenue, whether it’s online, and what avenue that online is basically.
 
FF – Fantastic. How can our readers and Ferreira Fest members help? Where can we contribute? Is there a way we can contribute, how can we help promote the movie?
 
TA – Well, for right now we dabbled with potentially doing a crowd funding campaign, to raise some money to help with film festival entries, shipping and distribution costs that way.
 
But we haven’t quite landed on that yet so we don’t have that going. If we do start something like that we’ll obviously be in touch with you and let you know about that and hopefully you can put the word out to your readers and your listeners, that would be amazing if it comes to that.
 
But we’ve got a couple other avenues to explore first for additional financing to help with the distribution costs, so for right now it would just be great if everyone could look us up online. We’re just about to launch the website, the Facebook page, the Twitter, and the Instagram, all the social sort of thing for the short film Counter Act and if people could look us up, google us or whatever or search us on Facebook and all that then it would be a great help, just to have people like and subscribe.
crew members and actors Chelah Horsdal, Pippa Mackie, J. Alex Brinson, Genevieve Buechner.
Photo by Eric Jorgensen
Stay in the loop and as news and updates occur, as we have exciting stuff to announce, then if they can just share it on their own Facebook and spread it around and tell anyone and everyone that they think might be interested in the project, or something like this that they should check it out.
 
Basically the more, the larger the following the better our chances are of getting into the film festivals where we’re actually going to end up playing and get this film in front of some audiences.
 
FF – Absolutely, well we can certainly do that. What’s your next big project? I mean, you’re still very much involved in this one but what’s on the horizon?
 
TA – Well, this one’s kind of winding down actually, so now our attention is, now that it’s completed it’s basically just the film festival marketing angle for Counter Act. Our next big production is, [we] haven’t fully decided yet. The way we work is, we often end up pitching television series ideas or feature film concepts to bigger studios and networks and the people that have the money and the financing to make these things become a reality. So, a couple ideas for some feature films, we’ve got a lot of ideas for television series ideas and not just the dramatic historical content, but lots of stuff. We’re heavy into, as we mentioned earlier, animation, and have a lot of ideas for kid shows and comedies and lots of fun stuff.
 
We’re hoping that Counter Act  opens some doors with regards to the bigger projects for us.
 
Accepting two awards at the VanChan Awards Thomas, Nathan, Jon & Heath Affolter
photo credit Bren MacDonald

JA – We also have a YouTube channel called Comedy Blender which you can check out. We have tons of different web-series on there, a few different ones, a different variety, some animation, some live action, a mix, you know, hybrids of both. Just a lot of fun stuff that’s all kind of just experimental and just to keep our tools sharp and keep entertaining people and trying out different styles and different types of comedies and film making and get our name out there and show people what we can do.
 
FF – Something for everybody then.
 
JA – Yeah.
 
FF – Quite literally. Thank you so much for being with us this evening and thanks for all the information and we hope to hear and see a lot of you guys in the very near future.
 
TA – Well thank you, and [we] really appreciate it.
 
TA – It’s an honor to be interviewed by you. It’s an absolute pleasure. Thanks be to you for sure.
 
FF – Well, thanks so much for your time. We’ll talk to you soon.
 
HA – Take care.
 
FF – Okay, bye!
 
 
Thanks to Casey for the transcript. All photos courtesy of Affolter Entertainment; used with permission.
 
 
 
Watch the trailer for COUNTER ACT right here:
 


 
 
Keep up with the Affolter Brothers

 

 
 
Watch a few videos

 

 
 

 
 

 
 
And here is "The Making of Food Flix"!
 
 

 
 

photo by Stephanie Halber
 
The Affolter Brothers hate waiting for air mail. This is the 21st century, after all.
Besides, somebody just ate the carrier pigeon.
 
 
 

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