When Brent Hodge left Saanich in 2003 to study at university in New Zealand, it was all for business.
And it was without any film experience that Hodge returned to Canada and settled in Vancouver in 2007. But he did have a business degree. So when he found success directing, and then producing, it was only natural the Mount Douglas secondary grad start his own film production company.
“It just sort of happened,” said the 30-year-old Hodge. “I loved films, loved acting, and figured out I liked directing, and I knew I wanted to start a company.”
Hodge started his company Hodgee Films in 2010 and it’s since turned out several documentary hits such as this year’s I Am Chris Farley, a star-studded recount of the comedian’s life, and 2014’s much acclaimed A Brony Tale. Hodge directed both features, which also included producer Lauren Bercovitch, one of the many “passionate, like minded people” Hodge says are necessary to succeed.
“As long as you know your role is going to change, sometimes you’ll hold the boom mic, sometimes you’ll direct or be the executive producer, and you’re willing, then you’re going to win,” Hodge said. “That’s how movies are made these days.”
Bercovitch, Hodge says, has got ‘it.’
This fall the Telus-funded initiative Storyhive awarded Bercovitch $10,000 towards a short film on her dad, Big Lew. It’s the story of a baby born to Jewish refugees who escaped the war in the 1940s and makes it to Canada. Through perseverance, and timing, Lew becomes the first Canadian to sell a personal computer.
“Lauren knew this story, she was going to do anything it took, and I admire that,” Hodge said. “In those cases, you have to get out of the way and let her do the movie.”
Hodgee Films will release the film, categorized as a digital short (less than 10 minutes), in 2016.
For Bercovitch, the desire to tell her dad’s story grew beyond anything else with the start of a new family with the arrival of one-year-old daughter Georgia (granddaughter of former CBC Vancouver Island radio host Jo-Ann Roberts).
“The only stories I want to tell right now are about family,” said Bercovitch, who credits Hodge as a keen collaborator and supporter.
Having been at it for eight years now, Hodge has seen way too many documentary projects fall through the cracks.
“Some are six years in the making, and they never get finished. It takes a lot to close a doc and I admire Lauren for that.”
Hodge’s career sped forward with a job at CBC and the 2011 music doc Winning America with Vancouver band Said the Whale. It hit another level when A Brony Tale was selected to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
In recent years Hodge has surrounded himself with a great team of like-minded people including Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame.