New cinematography instructor’s film releases in 1,500 theaters
By Andy Garrison
September 19, 2012
When it comes to dancing with electronics, there is none better than our very own cinematography instructor and active free-lance cinematographer Jason Cantu.
“The way that I feel about cinematography in music videos is that you really have to feel the music in order to make the camera move,” Cantu said.
Cantu has been very successful in his ongoing career, filming multiple independent films and many music videos, including a long list of Kansas City’s own relatively famous rappers.
“I shoot all of Tech N9ne’s high end music videos,” Cantu said. “I have also done projects for Jackyl and Run-DMC.”
Cantu is into music, which helped him to eventually specialize in shooting music videos.
“I am a music lover; I was a little Indie rock kid,” Cantu said. “I liked going to the clubs and see the touring bands, and that’s really how I got my start in music videos. I started doing low budget Indie rock videos.”
Having a professor like Cantu on board at Missouri Western offers a very unique perspective for the students.
Longtime friend and co-worker Dallas Henry believes that it offers students the critical opportunity for real hands-on experience.
“First off, it gets the students involved with someone who is actively working,” Henry said. “Also, though, he is providing jobs; if he is shooting something and he needs someone, he brings his students along.”
One of his current students, Kelsey Houser, agrees that his ongoing and up-to-date experience is very valuable to a student in this field of study.
“His experience in the real world is what makes him more respected,” Houser said. “You know that he knows what he is talking about.”
Cantu is also very excited about having a film he shot almost five years ago making it to the big screen on Sept. 14.
“I’ve done quite a few films, and I actually [had] a film being released in 1,500 theaters [last] Friday called Last Ounce of Courage, which is pretty exciting,” Cantu said. “To get a movie into theaters — I mean that is pretty exciting; some people work a lifetime and never get a movie into theaters.”
Cantu had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do when he was at a young age. His father used to be big into a program called “Amiga” which is kind of like Photoshop. While he and his brother were shooting his movies, his dad used Amiga on their footage in some funny ways.
“In Amiga, you can do paint programs and some basic Photoshop stuff,” Cantu said. “My brother and I used to shoot movies and my dad would crop out the background and put in some surreal background, and so I kind of grew up messing around in it.”
The future looks pretty bright with Cantu on board at Western, and students look forward to all the hands-on experience he brings and the exciting and unique projects he can offer.
Along with his friend Henry, they are looking to do some pretty big and innovative things within the department.
“We are combining our editing, scriptwriting, directing and his cinematography classes together to do some really big projects,” Henry said.