Is it wonder or wander? Time or timeless? For Fayette County filmmakers Will & Jim Pattiz, these questions are at the heart of their quest to capture the natural beauty of America’s national parks. The Pattiz Brothers combined their love of film with a passion for America’s national parks to produce a series of visually-stunning short videos celebrating the wonders of nature.
To accomplish this mission, they embarked on an epic, nationwide journey to showcase each of America’s 59 national parks. Their goal is to create a short film for each park, showcasing all of the things that make it more than just a park.
“Coming from Georgia,” said Will, “we grew up playing outside with lots of trees around, but national parks are a playground for everyone that gives you more than just trees. They give you a sense of awe that everyone should experience.”
The Pattiz Brothers attended The Heritage School in Newnan. Will graduated in 2009 and attended The University of Georgia. Jim graduated the following year and attended Georgia Southern University. In 2012, they co-founded Sea Raven Media. Shortly thereafter, these intrepid young filmmakers decided to showcase the beauty of the parks. Their breathtaking videos have already garnered a dedicated and enthusiastic fan base, with some registering more 200,000 views. The project’s ultimate goal is to entice people to visit these national treasures or to give those unable to do so the armchair experience of a lifetime.
“The goal of our project is to share the wonders of our national parks with as many people as we can,” says Jim, “thereby ensuring their continued protection and enjoyment for generations to come.”
Thus far, the brothers have filmed eight parks while visiting fourteen. What is so unusual about their project, however, is that they only visited their first national park a few years ago.
“I still remember that incredible feeling when we entered our first national park, Petrified Forest, in Arizona,” recollects Will. “It was like setting foot on another planet. This got us thinking to ourselves that we’ve got to share these wonders with as many folks as possible.”
The brothers began with Olympic National Park in June of 2014, then went on to film Redwood, Acadia, Joshua Tree, Smoky Mountains, Zion, The Badlands, and the Grand Tetons, which they just completed filming. Seven of these films have already been released on Vimeo and YouTube as well as featured on their ‘More Than Just Parks’ website. The eighth film in the series is currently in post-production and is scheduled to be released on July 6.
“We do a lot of research about each park beforehand, and when we go to shoot we camp the entire time,” says Will.
“From pre-production to launch to post-production you’re probably talking about two months or more,” notes Jim. “We typically spend three weeks in the park actually filming. For Zion, it was a full month. Editing the film is always the hardest part as we have countless hours and days of film to sift through and it’s very hard to condense that into a four-minute short that people can sit down and watch.”
To capture the Zion film, the brothers totally immersed themselves in the park’s iconic red sandstone cliffs, surreal slot canyons, golden meadows, and many waterways. The resulting 8K film was then edited into four breathtaking minutes of amazing footage.
“What I love about our national parks,” says Jim, “is that they are so uniquely American. It’s truly incredible that the government would choose to set aside some of our most stunningly beautiful land, simply for the benefit and enjoyment of its people for all time. This is what sets our country apart.”
The brothers’ Redwood film was recently selected by the National Geographic to be featured in their Short Film Showcase, which spotlights exceptional short videos, and, in a recent Outside Magazine article highlighting the best films and shows about America’s parks, ‘More Than Just Parks’ ranked just below the work of America’s premier documentarian Ken Burns who recently tweeted Will and Jim that he has become an admirer of their work.
The Pattiz Brothers have also garnered international recognition for their efforts with an article appearing in London’s Telegraph, which touted their incredible time elapse photography at Zion National Park. In 2016, they partnered with The Weather Channel to do a series of live interviews from the parks as they described their cinematic experiences to a nationwide audience.
“We’ve got to share these wonders with as many folks as we can,” says Will.
Posting their stunning videos and describing their incredible experiences on the ‘More Than Just Parks’ website, the Pattiz Brothers are doing just that.
To follow the journey of the brothers and to see their videos, visit [btn type=”default or primary or success or info or warning or danger or link” link=”www.morethanjustparks.com”]www.morethanjustparks.com[/btn].