Entrepreneur and NFL games, but they also worked on their own video-production projects. Their big break came in 2006 when they finished directing their first documentary, The Cross and the Towers, a documentary about 9/11 that won several awards, including one for best documentary at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Shortly after, the brothers directed a music video for Michael W. Smith and signed a contract with Revolution Pictures, a company responsible for producing the music videos of many country artists. Within the last three years, the writer/ director duo has garnered three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and they have been nominated more than 10 times throughout the show’s history. They also continue to produce documentaries and other projects.
What makes it unique? For years, the Erwin Brothers thought they might have to leave Birmingham in order to be successful filmmakers, but they’ve been glad to stay in their hometown and convince their clients to come to them. “Our job used to be very difficult, but the Birmingham Film Office has made our job very easy and has given us access to so many locations and clients,” Andy says. “We’re going to stay filming here as long as we can.” For October Baby, the brothers filmed at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Samford University as well as the Alabama Theatre, which Andy says was special for him because his grandmother and grandfather, as well as he and his wife, had their first dates there. “At first, people say, ‘Nah, we live in Nashville. We don’t want to come to Birmingham,’” Jon says. “But at the end of the day, we get a lot more work done here for less money. It’s more relaxing, and the environment is more inviting. Once people get here, they love it and want to come back.”
Home Movies Two brothers make feature films in their hometown.
Staff Size: Though the Erwin Brothers
By Stephanie Brumfield Portrait by Christopher Jones
Owners: Jon and Andy Erwin What is it? The Erwin Brothers are Birmingham-based film producers. The brothers direct, produce and edit all of their work, 80 to 85 percent of which is filmed in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Since they joined forces in 1997, they have directed documentaries, television series, music videos and commercials. Currently, they’re in the post-production process of October Baby, a feature film they co-wrote, produced and directed.
History: Jon and Andy Erwin started their film careers as teens operating cameras for ESPN. While working for ESPN, they spent seven years filming everything from local sports programs to college football 56
previously employed a staff of seven people, they now work project-to-project alongside a core group of about 25 freelancers.
What’s ahead? The Erwins are almost finished with post-production work on October Baby. Though they missed the deadline for Birmingham’s Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, they expect to have October Baby running the film-festival circuit beginning in September or early October. Their next step is to begin developing one of four new projects that are all personal to them and that all have state ties. “Our current dream is to write and direct our own features,” Andy says. “It’s great to help other people accomplish their goals, but it’s another matter entirely to make movies that we want to make. You have to make movies that you really enjoy and hope that people enjoy your taste. After that, you hope your film does well enough for you to make another one.”
Photos courtesy of Mandii Marie Photography
y Savvess in Bus
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Clockwise: Andy and Jon Erwin discuss a scene at St. Paul’s Cathedral while filming October Baby. Rachel Hendrix, a University of Montevallo graduate and Alabama native, plays the film’s lead, a teenager who discovers she’s adopted. Andy Erwin and actor John Schneider on set at Samford University.
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