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Jonathan Pekar Filming Memphis

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ost Memphians would agree that Memphis is the house of cool. But, if there were a documenter within that house, it would be Ardent Recording Studios. Ardent has continued to capture some of best music and film from Memphis and from around the world in the last forty plus years, creating numerous international stars. Ardent never forgets, though, where it came from – the heart of Memphis’ eclectic and diverse culture. The studio continues to celebrate and harness the city’s exuberant propensity for all things cool in new and groundbreaking ways. One way in which Ardent is continuing to create new and captivating media is through its Film Department. Memphis native and Ardent director of film Jonathan Pekar is making some big strides in Memphis film, and it is an understatement to say he is excited about his post and his unique position to share his enthusiastic passion for all things Memphis to the entire world. “We want to entertain to the highest possible level. We are a full service production company based in Memphis with a very strong Memphis aesthetic. The whole concept is Memphis entertainment for the world. We are spreading Memphis flavor across the planet through film and music,” Pekar candidly states. From feature films to television to documentaries, the Ardent Film Department does it all. After returning to Memphis from living in Los Angeles and working with the Discovery Channel, Pekar quickly let the city know the extent of his mastery of film when he won an AFD, a Midsouth Emmy for Best Commercial for his animated commercial for the Memphis Music Foundation that features paintings from well-known Memphis artist, Lamar Sorrento. He has also created music videos for Memphis music stars Amy LaVere and band Star & Micey. Channeling and incorporating his true love of the city of Memphis (Pekar proudly describes himself as a “38104 guy” and shows off a tattoo with the same inked numbers), Pekar and his team recently created commercials for Central BBQ and CFI Prosthetics Orthotics. The word commercial doesn’t really doesn’t describe what the Ardent film team has done here. What they have created in these two commercials captures the individual essence of Memphis: charming, funny and surprising with a bite to it. Pekar’s newest project, “Kids of Memphis,” is a half-hour long TV series featuring Moziah Bridges of Mo’s Bows; Hanna Star, young singer/songwriter/musician; and Skyler King, a rising skateboarding star. In each episode, the young adults will “better the city of Memphis one project at a time, encouraging other kids to be a part of it,” Pekar explains, adding that the crew of kids will continue to grow as the show develops. The show is slated to be aired in December of this year. Pekar and his team have also teamed up with The Blues Foundation, collaborating on selecting and editing material for the 35th Blues Music Awards Telecast, a 90minute program aired on PBS that highlights the best moments from this year’s Blues Music Awards. On why Memphis is the place for innovative film, Pekar declares, “Memphis is Memphis. You cannot replicate that anywhere else. Try as hard as you can, there is no false wall you can build, there is no smell you can put in the air, there is no feeling of in-between the shots of what you are getting when you are in Memphis.” Pekar has his finger on the pulse of Memphis. He is dedicated to injecting that Memphis attitude into his work, and, it is safe to say, that we can expect many great films from him in the upcoming years, films that continue the legacy of capturing the big heart and distinctive flavor of Memphis. Story by Rachel Warren Photo by Steve Roberts

RSVP Magazine October 2014  

RSVP magazine is like no other publication in the city of Memphis. What began as simply “The Society Pages” more than a decade ago has evolv...

RSVP Magazine October 2014  

RSVP magazine is like no other publication in the city of Memphis. What began as simply “The Society Pages” more than a decade ago has evolv...

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