Daniel Kooman really wanted to travel the world.
He also really wanted to make movies, and just over 10 years ago, he admitted to having his ‘lightbulb moment.’
“I realized I could do both,” said the filmmaker, who along with his brothers Matthew and Andrew own Unveil Studios with offices in the Comox Valley and Red Deer, AB.
Daniel completed his first feature film in 2006, travelling to five continents and 20 nations asking questions in each country and finding commonalities throughout each culture.
“Through that, there was a realization that the west is not the world – there’s fantastic people and every culture is so different but we all struggle with the same things – the need for family, a home and safety.”
Daniel noted it is easy to romanticize travel, and admitted “the world has a lot of danger.
“There is an incredible amount of abuse in India and Africa.”
He explained good stories are meaningful stories, and that perspective led him to his first dramatic feature-length film on human trafficking.
As an independent studio, Kooman and his brothers (who live in Red Deer) said one of the biggest challenges of filmmaking is “doing everything yourself,” but he admitted it’s where he finds a lot of the joy.
Kooman and his wife Christy – a dance instructor in the Valley – travel regularly to Tanzania where he made a not-for-profit documentary and worked closely with Juma’s World – an organization which helps to empower Africa’s children to break through their limitations and unleash the power of love so they can create a better world.
“We learned what we had to do to make an impact in their lives,” he added. “If you’re willing to serve someone, you find life transforms for the better.”
He noted while Tanzania is at the top of his ‘favourite places to travel’ list, he really likes Thailand, as it was there where he met his wife (who is from Hornby Island). He said he would like to spend more time in the Mediterranean, but spends about half a year working in the Valley, and about two to three months travelling overseas.
In 2014, Unveil launched The Space – a full service production studio in Red Deer, which is home base for the company’s post production work and features a sound stage and recording studio.
While Daniel considers Black Creek home, his brothers are based out of the studio in Alberta.
Unveil Studio’s latest film – She Has A Name – focuses on trafficking in Asia, based on Andrew’s stage play.
Daniel is hoping to take the film to a variety of film festivals later this year.
For more information, visit unveilstudios.com