However, none of this would have come to pass if not for a class taken on a whim at the University of Oklahoma.
I initially wasnt interested in filmmaking at all, said Freestyle Productions owner Vahid Farzaneh. I was kind of drifting around. I took an intro to film class for the credit and kind of fell in love with it.
Rather than joining the braindrain of filmmaking talent that leaves Oklahoma for Los Angeles or Austin, Farzaneh decided to stay put and focus on creating something big from the ground up in the home he loved.
After graduating from OU, he started Freestyle Productions in 2007 with his savings from working as a freelancer and some help from his family. The Moore office and production facility opened its doors in 2009.
Since that time, Farzaneh has turned his passion into a thriving business, about 75 percent of which is devoted to commercial work. He has also transitioned from being a hands-on filmmaker to more of a support role, helping numerous independent filmmakers get their projects off the ground.
No one starts in film wanting to be a producer, he said, but I found it much more rewarding to supply help to others.
Freestyle spent a big part of 2013 working on The Posthuman Project, a feature-length film about superheroes due later this year. Infused with the heart of John Hughes and the visual flair of J.J. Abrams, Posthuman follows the story of five teenage friends who gain superpowers.
Most of the time, people come to Freestyle to make something small and quiet, said Farzaneh. Posthuman is the opposite of that.
Its also the first feature for director Kyle Roberts, a videographer for The Oklahoman who has created several hit viral videos using stop-motion animation. The film was co-conceived by Roberts and his friend Matt Price, owner of Speeding Bullet Comics and features editor at The Oklahoman who co-wrote the script with DC comics author Sterling Gates.
Posthuman has been incredible to watch transform from script to this weird trans-media project, Farzaneh said. There are comics, t-shirts, a web series, a feature and hopefully more. To be associated with something this ambitious is truly a blessing.
Freestyle has worked with RED cameras, which were used to shoot big Hollywood movies like Thor: The Dark World and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Farzaneh offers the equipment to independent filmmakers at a discounted rate.
They have also recently completed work on two short films: Hana, a tone poem about a dying man reflecting on a past love, and The Monsters, an examination of bullying and the causes of school violence.
Hana director Bunee Tomlinson said he likes working with Freestyle because their professionalism and work ethic enable him to focus on the creative side of things.
William Tyler, writer and director of The Monsters, said Farzaneh understands what it takes to get a passionate filmmakers vision on the screen and that Freestyle approaches others projects with the same enthusiasm it would its own.
Ultimately, the secret to Farzanehs success is hard work.
You have to work harder than you want to just to break even, so you have to work past that point to succeed and advance, he said. You have to
find the thing that youre willing to kill yourself for. When youve
found that thing, dont ever let it go, because I guarantee you will
never feel better in your life. For me, thats making movies.