Down In The Valley
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So what does it take? Who are they? How do they do it? And what exactly is going on in the piping hot, brain-powered fury of our beloved Silicon Valley, where a slew of start-ups emerge and play their pivotal role in the technological revolution? Precisely the questions 35-year-old filmmaker Jay Capela seeks to answer through the medium of film. Wild At Start-High Technology Adventures and the American Dream is a three-part documentary featuring a fascinating amalgam of entrepreneurs who are bound and determined to bring their visions to fruition in this fertile California trough.
The ever-escalating hype surrounding Silicon Valley start-ups that has permeated the culture is only partially responsible for Capela's endeavor. The San Francisco State film student also watched his friends build a software company, sell it to Adobe and strike it rich before his eyes. "My friends became millionaires, and I saw myself not becoming one," Capela recalls. "That was the impetus for this project."
That, and the desire to create a behind-the-scenes look for the public, one that would portray the zeal of today's entrepreneurs. "That was really the goal of this project-to give people both inside and outside the Valley a real idea of what it's like to be an entrepreneur," Capela says.
The Wild At Start crew contacted close to 300 companies, eventually narrowing the film down to a bank of 14. Following founders around with a camera-eavesdropping on conversations, questioning their motivations and picking their high-tech brains-was Capela's job for the past three years. He's scrutinized everyone from the three twentysomethings of software start-up Imana to eBay's Pierre Omidyar. Ingeniously arranging industry experts to provide a cohesive narrative, Capela tactfully incorporates VCs, angels and columnists to divulge their predictions for the future of high-tech start-ups.
At press time, Capela had 220 hours of material shot, and, with support from PBS and a strong distribution model, he was well-equipped to approach corporations for underwriting sponsorship. Look for the release of Wild At Start in a few months, and prepare yourself for a documentary that will share the ambitions of the latest players in the world of the high-tech start-up.
Wild At Start LLC, (415)648-8351, www.wildatstart.com.