Next Level Round 5 Recipients

Photo by Chad Kirkland from Caitlin Burris’ Next Level Project, ”Keepsake’.

Congratulations to the recipients of Round 5 of our Next Level Grant Program!
Read more about the program here.

The Next Level Grant Program provides funding for local directors and producers that are currently working on a project in the state of Utah. The Utah Film Commission seeks to cultivate original storytelling by providing the extra push for filmmakers to get their film to the “next level”.

Utah Film Commission has awarded two projects that reflect excellence in storytelling and visual style. Read more about the projects and the filmmakers below.

Isaac S. Cole — Cast. Mend. Set.

Isaac Cole’s filmmaking passion started at The Tower Theater in his hometown of Salt Lake City and eventually lead him to study film production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating in 2012, he went on to work for acclaimed NYC documentary filmmakers, Jules and Gideon Naudet. Isaac then moved to The Zapata Ranch, a 103,000 acre Bison ranch in Colorado, where he created short documentaries for their blog “The Ranchlands Review.” While at the ranch, Isaac wrote and directed “Stray Dogs” a modern western feature film. Shortly after, Isaac returned home to Utah where he started working as a fly fishing guide and continued to make and work on films. His most recent short film “Lucy In The Morning” premiered at the 2019 Davey Foundation Film Festival and is now streaming online at Nobudge.com. Isaac is currently working as an editor and producer on a feature-length documentary about gun violence in America.

Cast, Mend, Set is a very personal story centered on a young man named Ethan. Ethan attended a fancy photography school in New York City and had dreams of becoming a famous artist, but instead has found himself working as a fly fishing guide in Utah. Although he loves what he does, he can’t help but feel like a failure, at least until he takes out an elderly man who reminds him how good he has it and that being an artist isn’t defined by the success you have or don’t have.

Is filmmaking a career path that you’ve always wanted to pursue? Was there a defining moment that you decided you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I wish I could say I knew from a young age that I would become a filmmaker. I’m envious of the filmmakers who can tell stories about making short films with the family camera when they were eight years old. My filmmaking origins story was much more gradual. I can say, however, that I knew I wanted to tell stories from a young age. My dream was to become a famous author, but as I got older, I realized I didn’t have the talent, nor the grammar for it.

In High School, I helped my older cousin who was studying film at the University of Utah on a student film. As he got more and more into filmmaking, I did as well. Over time it became apparent to me that this was really the perfect way to express my creativity and I became more passionate about it month by month and year by year.

What aspects of the Next Level grant program do you find most helpful?

I would be lying if I said the money won’t be most helpful in being able to make this film. Making films is an incredibly hard endeavor and a large part of that is due to the costs and the challenges of fundraising. But I am also incredibly grateful to be supported by the Utah Film Commission in general and to be part of the community of Utah Filmmakers.

What are you planning to use the grant funding for?

I am planning on using the funding for two specific phases of post-production: to hire a composer for the film’s score, and to hire a professional color correction artist to do color grading.


Brady Perron — Ball of Wax

My name is Brady Perron. I grew up in New Hampshire but moved to UT when I was 18 to go forward with a pro skiing career, and to attend Westminster College. I grew up taking photos/video and eventually shot second angle while on shoots as a pro skier. I inevitably switched up my career and channeled my creative energy from skiing into a career in video production. Since taking a step back from skiing 7 years ago, I have developed, shot, marketed, and edited films and branded content for Armada Skis, Elaine Hersby, Monster Energy, Treefort Lifestyles, Full Tilt, among others. I am lucky to have won two X Games gold medals, alongside pro skier Phil Casabon, as a videographer in their video competition Real Ski, along with multiple Vimeo Staff Picks. I also support local artists like Freida and Super Bubble by producing content for them.

Ball of Wax is the story of an old Utah man, Jube, as he reflects on his past and heritage with his friend/filmmaker/neighbor, who works with him on a small city farm plot. The filmmaker friend reveals the man’s growing age, youthful tendencies, strong spiritedness. He is eager to pass the torch. The film follows a wholesome relationship built between grandfather, grandson, and filmmaker.

Is filmmaking a career path that you’ve always wanted to pursue? Was there a defining moment that you decided you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I wanted to become a filmmaker of sorts when I was a kid- It felt natural to emulate our favorite flicks. My brother and I always had mini DV cameras around, and shot a lot of action based material. My mom was the main photographer and inspired both of us with her ability to capture such gold in her candids. We would dice footage together as best we could, and figure out how to sync it to our favorite songs. Much of my work is rhythmic.

What aspects of the Next Level grant program do you find most helpful?

I find the funding to be most helpful at the moment but I am eager to utilize the Co//ab Membership and UT Film Commission Support. I’m hoping to find a supportive entity to host my film, letting it see the masses, support myself as a filmmaker, and providing solid content for a company.

What are you planning to use the grant funding for?

I will be using the funding to pay for further Editing hours, continue Software subscription, additional shooting, color grading, and sound as well as graphic design.


Find more information about our Next Level Grant Program here.

Allie Russell is the Marketing Coordinator at the Utah Film Commission, based in Salt Lake City.
For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at cmmartin@utah.gov