Vancouver: “Josh” Episode

“One ordinary day in an extraordinary man’s life.” Filmmaker Angelina Cantada is convinced that spending a day with Josh Vander Vies is enough to change how one see’s life. Josh is quite an achiever—he’s an athlete, artist and motivational speaker who’s now working towards a law degree. The guy’s got big dreams. That he’s pursuing these dreams while living his life without arms and legs is simply one of those challenges that he’s overcome.

“I love the concept of Ripple—providing inspiration through ordinary people’s lives,” says Cantada. “Josh is a source of inspiration for me and I know he will be too for many of the viewers who will see this film.”

Cantada feels it’s awesome that Josh is living his life to the fullest and “that he doesn’t let his disability, or anything for that matter, get in the way of his goals and dreams.”

Do you feel that life has dealt you a bad hand? Snap out of it. If Josh can get over his problems, so can you. Watch “Josh.”

Have a thought or two about the story? Post your comments on this site, “like” us on Facebook or tweet the filmmaker. Want to keep abreast on the latest about “Ripple?” Subscribe to .

–Owen Santos

Posted on 1 July '11 by admin, under SEASON 2, VIDEOS. No Comments.

About “Freakin’ Heroes” Filmmaker Ted Frank

Documentary filmmaking is a natural extension of what Ted Frank does. His company, Backstories Studio deals with market research and strategy firms, helping clients understand the needs of their consumers better. A long-time veteran of marketing and consumer insights, Frank says he enjoys conversations, the stories that unfold from them and putting them together in a meaningful audio-visual package. But he knows there are a lot more stories to be told, and he’s determined to collect and share them in the hopes of inspiring others as they continue to inspire him. Here’s part of his back story.

How did you get started producing videos and films?
I took some classes at the Film Society and got really excited about shooting last year when Canon put out their first video-enabled DSLR for under $1,000. Of course, now I’ve spent thousands on lenses and such (since then), but that was the spark.

What equipment did you use in shooting and editing your first Ripple story? How was the experience?
I used the Canon Rebel T2i and a Steadicam Merlin to get the flying shots. My videographer-teacher Jason Wolos [Take his class at the Film Society. You'll be glad you did.] brought in tungsten lights for Jason Tanko’s interview. It was definitely scary to get behind the camera at first, but then once I started planning the key shots and letting go for the rest, you couldn’t get the camera away from me.

The video was edited on Final Cut Pro. Editing was my favorite part because I had a totally different idea (for the story) when I started. I was going to open with Jason’s childhood story about how he thought streetlights powered cars, but once I started cutting the audio and came across those little snippets in the beginning that brought out his obsessive side, I decided to go in that directon. That’s what’s so fun about editng. You really do have so much influence on the story.

Did you work with a team? If so, can you describe any challenges/successes?
I did the majority of it on my own. My wife Vania edited the questions, my friend Ed (Cefalu) did the interview, and my teacher Jason (Wolos) set up the lighting. On the Cupertino and Clare shoots, my Backstories colleague Danica (Barnes) helped me with the lights, sound and second camera.

My friend Cody (Westheimer) lent me music off his stock site Green Button Music. That brought the whole thing together.

What is it about the video/film production process that you enjoy the most and why?
I absolutely love starting with nothing, then playing with all the pieces, and finally ending up with something whole. I find that so fulfilling. Even if no one ever saw it, it would still be so worth it to me because the process of crafting is what connects me to the real me.

Watch Ted Frank’s Ripple documentary short entitled “Freakin’ Heroes here.”

– Owen Santos

Posted on 28 June '11 by admin, under RIPPLE FILMMAKER PROFILE. No Comments.

San Francisco: “Freakin’ Heroes: Jason” Episode

A childhood obsession turned lifelong passion. For Jason Tanko, that would be street lights. As a child, Tanko would create his own street lights using beads and straws, and collect the real thing as a teen. Unusual? Forward-thinking is more like it. Today, Tanko is founder of a company that not only has become a successful streetlighting business, it has also saved the cities and municipalities it serves a significant amount of money by helping them repurpose old street lights. No surprise, perhaps, to those who know him well.

But filmmaker Ted Frank had no idea that Tanko, his neighbor, is quite obsessively dedicated to a piece of modern life that many probably take for granted. Neither did he know the depth of Tanko’s commitment to the community and to lessening his industry’s negative impact on the climate. Frank was blown away by Tanko’s obsession that he decided to create his first Ripple documentary, Freakin’ Heroes.

“Jason is my kind of hero, not only because his passion-turned-career story is so inspiring,” says Frank, “but because he’s absolute proof that there’s so much more to people than we could ever imagine.”

Frank adds, “Heroes can be found among us, and if we need to feel good, all we really need to do is talk to the people around us.” And he’s glad he did. Watch and see why Jason Tanko is such a freakin’ hero.

–Owen Santos

Posted on 24 June '11 by admin, under SEASON 2, Uncategorized, VIDEOS. 1 Comment.

First “Ripple” Photo Exhibit & Film Fest

Ripplemakers.TV, in collaboration with venue sponsor Community School for Music and Arts, will be holding its first photo exhibit and film festival free of charge in the San Francisco Bay Area on July 8, Friday, 6pm at the Finn Center, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View, CA. The exhibit and festival will feature inspiring documentary shorts by global short filmmakers and Ripple portrait images by professional photographer Auey Santos. The exhibit’s premium metal print images are sponsored by Bay Photo Lab.

Ripplemakers.TV is home to “Ripple,” an inspiring documentary shorts show that features ordinary people from different walks of life who cause a positive ripple effect in the community. Volunteer filmmakers from all over the world contribute stories about people who inspire them to make a difference.

Curious about “Ripple’s” documentary shorts? Check them out.

Posted on 22 June '11 by admin, under EVENTS. No Comments.

About Filmmakers Michelle Ortega & Jason LaBatt

It’s a partnership that started 20 years ago and still going strong today. Producer-director Michelle Ortega and producer-editor Jason LaBatt have filmed hundreds of videos together and won a number of awards along the way. In 2009, they launched their own video production group, North Beach Digital, and produced their first documentary, Adult Beginner Ballet. This husband-and-wife team is a perfect match for Ripplemakers—as LaBatt once shared to the Heart of Gold International Film Festival, stories that are“clear, concise and inspirational” are what he prefers to work on. It’s a view that Ortega shares and promotes, along with diversity in media. Clearly, it’s a partnership that works.

How did you get started?

We both started learning video production at SF State and began by making independent educational videos. The director/friend who worked with us on those videos ended up hiring us down the road to work at Macy’s in video production. I also worked at LIVE 105 while in college and videotaped several of their concerts.

When did you start your work partnership with Jason LaBatt?

Jason and I have been producing videos together since our college days in ’92 at San Francisco State University, where we met in the Broadcast Electronic Arts and Communication Department. “How to Live with The Roommate From Hell” and “RA Training,” were the first independent productions that we created and then sold to colleges and universities nationwide. The videos did really well and Jason and I had a great time working together.

What is it like working together?

We share a similar sense of humor and we balance each other. I’m more of the motivator/creative producer and like to do rough cut edits and Jason (who also has a strong producing background) is technically proficient in everything from editing to operating a camera. Sometimes we have conflicts about ideas and challenge each other, but ultimately we come to a place where we agree on the choices.

Watch Michelle and Jason’s Ripple documentary short entitled “The DanceWright Project” here.

–Owen Santos

Posted on 19 June '11 by admin, under RIPPLE FILMMAKER PROFILE. No Comments.

The Story Behind “The DanceWright Project” Episode

Jamie Ray Wright has been creating and staging dance masterpieces that have moved audiences for more than 10 years now. Wright, a former musician, advertising and marketing executive for more than 20 years, is founder and artistic director of The DanceWright Project, a contemporary dance company that is striving to make dance relevant to a wider audience with a much more open approach–incorporating elements of popular culture while showcasing the beauty of movement and the human form. Filmmaker Michelle Ortega met Wright in an adult ballet class at the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, and this inspired her to produce this documentary with producer-editor Jason LaBatt for Ripplemakers.

What is it about Jamie Ray Wright that you found inspiring?

Jamie works at a dance center where he sees professional people come in and out every day and I find it inspiring that his love of dance encouraged him to pursue choreography. He just decided to do it and I think that’s great.

Why did you decide to produce a Ripple story?

I saw this as a great opportunity to promote Jamie’s work and share it with others. I liked the idea behind what Carol was doing with short inspirational stories and Jamie was the first person I thought of as he’s been in the back of my mind for several years and I was really happy to find a venue for his story.

What does it mean to you?

Producing a Ripple story means taking time out from my professional career as a corporate video producer to make something that’s personally meaningful to me, and dance is meaningful to me. I like it when people go outside their comfort zone and try something new because they want to do it regardless of whether society says it is valid. It challenges the belief that you have to be the best at something to be considered successful.

–Owen Santos

Posted on 19 June '11 by admin, under BEHIND THE SCENES. No Comments.

San Francisco: “DanceWright Project” Episode

Taking the first step at anything can be scary and intimidating. Jamie Wright, after watching dancers and teachers practice dance at the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center, decided to share his passion for it by starting his own dance company. His lack of any formal dance training did not stop him from pursuing his dreams. Today, his dancers are thankful that he decided to share his choreography talent with them. Documentary short creators, SF Producer Michelle Ortega and cameraman/editor Jason LaBatt were two of the many lives he has touched. We asked Michelle why they chose to feature Jamie. Here’s what she said: “I like it when people go outside their comfort zone and try something new because they want to do it regardless of whether society says it is valid. It challenges the belief that you have to be the best at something to be considered successful.” More about the film’s production on a blog about filmmakers Michelle and Jason.

Have a thought or two about the story? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments on this site, “like” us on Facebook or tweet the “Ripple” show creator. ‘Want to keep abreast on the latest about “Ripple?” Subscribe to this blog.

Posted on 10 June '11 by admin, under SEASON 2, VIDEOS. No Comments.

San Francisco: “Dreaming Big” Episode

A professional make-up artist friend for TV, film and theater named Jenny Zielon led us to Christina Yao, a feature film director who was preparing to premiere her very first feature film in the United States. Jenny met Christina years ago while doing theater in San Francisco. Christina immediately struck her as someone who never allowed fear to stop her from what she wanted to do in life.

Christina jumped from doing years of theater to directing a film epic called “Empire Of Silver,” first shown in China and Taiwan. The Ripplemakers.TV team was floored by the beautiful cinematography and storytelling behind her first film work. We were also amazed at how seemingly fearless she is about pursuing her dreams.

Get to know her and find out what makes her tick with “Dreaming Big,” a Ripple episode from San Francisco, produced, co-written and edited by Carol Gancia, shot by Andrew Bender and co-written by Daniel Ogawa.

We’ll be posting a new article about the movie release date this April. Please subscribe to get the latest update.

Have a thought or two about the story? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments on this site, “like” us on Facebook or tweet the filmmaker. ‘Want to keep abreast on the latest about “Ripple?” Subscribe to this blog.

Posted on 30 March '11 by admin, under SEASON 2. No Comments.

Manila: “Helping Hands” Episode

Manila-based documentary filmmakers Elwyna Lagare and Lawrence Ang love caring for animals. When they met talented veterinarian Wilford Almoro, they were amazed at his dedication in caring for stray animals. For a professional of his caliber, they knew he could be earning a decent income for himself and his family if he had worked in an upscale animal care hospital or clinic. Instead, he chose to operate and treat rescue dogs and cats full time while dabbling in another passion– the visual arts.

Check out Ripple Manila’s “Helping Hands” episode and be inspired!

Have a thought or two about the story? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments on this site, “like” us on Facebook or tweet the filmmaker. ‘Want to keep abreast on the latest about “Ripple?” Subscribe to this blog.

Posted on 14 February '11 by admin, under SEASON 2, VIDEOS. 3 Comments.

“A Penny A Page” Episode

What is success to you? From birth, many of us are programmed to strive for it, but what does “it” really mean? “A Penny A Page” introduces us to Bill, a teacher and professional blogger who has his own definition.

Bill, an American from Cincinnati, lived in Asia for 20 years. In 1999, he moved back to America. Five years ago, he started writing about life and business in Japan, China and India. He wrote non-stop. 15 blogs everyday for a year and a half… until he started making money.

Bill says his greatest weakness is also his greatest strength: not knowing when to stop. 15 websites later, he’s still at it and sharing what he knows with 3,700 San Francisco Bay Area Meetup members. Why? Bill attempts to answer this question.

In Episode 4, RipplemakersTV producer Carol Gancia and cinematographer Andrew Bender bring Bill’s story to the screen. Have a thought or two about the story? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments on this site or tweet the filmmaker on

Have a thought or two about the story? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments on this site, “like” us on Facebook or tweet the filmmaker. ‘Want to keep abreast on the latest about “Ripple?” Subscribe to this blog.

Posted on 23 December '10 by admin, under SEASON 1, VIDEOS. 11 Comments.