Obermeyer makes his mark – and it isn’t in skiwear
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Klaus Obermeyer Jr. is building the same kind of reputation for the family name in commercial film as his dad has in the skiwear business.
Obermeyer, the younger, was recently named one of America’s top 100 directors by Ad Age Group’s Creativity Magazine.
Obermeyer, 33, son of Sport Obermeyer founder Klaus Sr., said he doesn’t care about personal accolades but appreciates the recognition for his team.
“The reason we are successful is because our team kicks ass,” he said.
Obermeyer and his crew shoot and produce high-end commercials on film for Flying Tiger Films. And, as Creativity Magazine noted, they do it well.
“Klaus Obermeyer is actually a premier director of sweeping vistas and extreme sports for Flying Tiger Films, for which he shot the Visa Olympics spot in which two U.S. women’s bobsled stars brake for a bunny,” Creativity wrote. “On the flip side of aggression, he shot a stirring 60 seconds for the Marine Corp. …”
He also shot Samsung’s and Chevy Tahoe’s 2002 Winter Olympic commercials.
Obermeyer became interested in the film industry while attending high school in Aspen. He worked for a video production company and was given the chance to purchase the business when he graduated from Aspen High in 1987.
Obermeyer took out a bank loan rather than attend college, putting the pressure on himself to succeed.
One early job was editing work for filmmaker Bob Fulton, a longtime Aspenite with a strong environmental ethic who made stunning documentary films. Fulton died in an airplane crash in May.
Obermeyer said when he saw Fulton’s film on Hawaii it changed the course of his career. “I got goose bumps from head to toe,” he said of Fulton’s work. “What Bob did was art.”
He wanted to shoot rather than just produce. He worked extensively with Fulton as well as Robert Gordon and Warren Miller, honing the skills he needed to work on his own with his company Obermeyer Productions.
Obermeyer works when he can out of Aspen, but the commercial film industry’s headquarters is Los Angeles. He travels the world on film shoots, including work last month for Dodge in Glenwood Canyon and with Jeep above the Iron Mine at the head of the Castle Creek Valley.
One of his latest works was to create the Marine Corp. recruitment piece that will be used for the next four years. Obermeyer said his 120-person team included 40 or so Marines. The ad is called “The Climb.”
“The pressure’s high to do something that honors them,” said Obermeyer.
His latest endeavor is to shoot a two- to three-minute film that shows the teamwork in the field with the Navy and Marines. Combat action in Afghanistan is being filmed by Marine cameramen trained by Obermeyer.
The action is being filmed in a new way with high-definition, night-vision cameras retrofitted from those George Lucas used to shoot the latest Star Wars movie.
The documentary will be shown as a trailer in movie theaters throughout the country beginning Sept. 11. Obermeyer teamed to create the film through a company called American Rogue, a creative and production agency offshoot from Flying Tiger.
For now, Obermeyer is concentrating on making ads, but he doesn’t rule out other areas of work within the film industry.
“When you get in the position to get the jobs, you’ve got to keep going,” he said.
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