Storytelling Using The Power Of Film

Ari Lee is the founder of Keeper Films (unique, timeless wedding films) and Poema Films (video production for nonprofits and charities). She directs, produces, shoots and edits where required, but loves directing and editing most!

Ari was working in advertising as a producer and then left that to run my start her own business to fulfill her creative passion and to work for herself.

What was it that got you so passionate about storytelling?

I’ve always loved cinema – mum has a story of taking me to see Little Buddha (a 2.5 hour movie haha) at the movies when I was 3 and being entranced the whole time. I studied film, but I think I really fell in love with storytelling when I started Keeper Films.

Most filmmakers don’t start as a wedding videographer, but it’s helped me hone my storytelling skills SO much. Every couple has an incredibly unique life, culture, community, and love story, so observing this (over 150 times) and then translating it into a succinct, engaging and emotive film, I believe has helped me understand the human experience better, and definitely made me passionate about storytelling.

What do you think is the most important aspect with it comes to storytelling?

I love films that hone in on a small, intimate story that speaks to a wider shared human experience, so when art (of any form) is able to authentically present that truth in a beautiful and emotive way, it can be transformative! We learn something, we feel connected to others, we become more empathetic, we feel alive, etc.

What was one of your most memorable client experiences to date?

A groom skydived into his beach wedding ceremony! That was definitely memorable. I’ve travelled to some pretty amazing destinations to film weddings – Ireland, Thailand, Italy, even rural Australia can be wild. My GPS wasn’t working on a dusty road about 5 hours from Sydney and had to get out of the car to ask a farmer for directions. He definitely thought I was a pesky city girl in my nice wedding videographer outfit haha.

Being of Malaysian and Spanish descent, what are the best parts of these two amazing cultures that you think has most influenced your career as a filmmaker?

Wow big question! My mum is Spanish, she’s an entrepreneurial, creative free spirit who believes everyone should be true to their authentic selves and has supported me as I try to live this way.

My dad is Chinese-Malaysian, he’s an incredibly hard worker with an analytical, creative problem-solving mind. Because they both migrated to Australia before I was born and we don’t have much extended family here, it’s hard to say how much of this is cultural influence and how much is just their personalities, but both their approaches have influenced my life and filmmaking so much.

I’ve always worked pretty hard to make sure I get to do what I love. Also just having access to two very different cultures is a privilege and I think probably makes you more open-minded. My partner is the same – he’s half Indian, half Australian (Jewish!).

If you were to write a script depicting your own life on film to date, how would that look like?

I have no idea! Might have to actually write a script and come back to you.

If you had to pick someone to direct your life ‘movie’, who would it be and why?

Probably Agnes Varda. I aspire to have her creative outlook and passion. I think it would be a quirky, introspective, pretty joyful film. Or maybe Abbas Kiarostami if I wanted it to be more quiet and reflective, which would be nice as well.

Follow Ari on her journey

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