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iU Creator Spotlight: Joshua Lewkowicz
Ideas United works with a global community of creators to cultivate and support the next generation of filmmakers. iU Creator Spotlight features a closer look with a new creator every month.
Oct. 1, 2019 | By: Victoria Lightfoot
Assistant Editor, Dreamworks Animation
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Josh Lewkowicz and I currently live and work in Los Angeles. I’m an Assistant Editor at DreamWorks Animation and a union member of IATSE Local 700 (The Motion Picture Editors Guild). I’ve always been interested in filmmaking and I’ve been making movies ever since I was able to pick up a camera. I am fascinated with movie-making, and specifically the technology used to help bring films to life. As a kid, I would play with my parents Sony Hi8 camcorder and set up my Legos and Hess trucks to try and film mini-movies. When I got a little bit older, I would convince my friends to act in little videos and movies we would make for fun. I always had a camera in my hand and wanted to film or document whatever was going on around me. I grew up watching movies like Star Wars, ET, and Indiana Jones; I always loved to watch the behind the scenes features for movies and see how the magic was made. I was especially interested in how the look and lighting on set led to how the image appeared in the camera and on the screen (achieving the film look so to speak).
Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Freehold, New Jersey.
Where did you go to school?
I studied at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, NJ. It used to be called Trenton State College and was known primarily as a Teachers College.
What did you study?
I majored in Interactive Multimedia (IMM) with minors in Communication Studies (Radio, TV, Film) and Marketing.
How did you get connected with Ideas United and Campus Movie Fest?
The first year Campus Movie Fest came to TCNJ, I was a member of the Student Film Union, a campus club centered around filmmaking. One of my fellow Interactive Multimedia Major classmates and friend, Andrew Kuserk, and I were already very interested in filmmaking. We were constantly working on in-class and side projects together, trying to push the boundaries of what was technically and visually possible for us. We decided to enter Campus Movie Fest to try to challenge ourselves to make a film in a week, which would take us outside our comfort zone as far as scope and visual effects. That year we won on campus for Best Picture and Best Visual Effects for our first CMF film, Focus. We were hooked on Campus Movie Fest, and the following year we grew our team to include two new members, Ryan Laux and Chris Lundy. Our team quickly went from being classmates and collaborators to fast friends, and I had the pleasure of creating two more films with this team including Iris and Paramnesia. Those films went on to win Best Visual Effects nationally at CMF Hollywood and were nominated for Best Picture and Best Drama. Each year our team and the scope of our projects would grow larger, and Campus Movie Fest became the highlight of our college experience! What could be better than dropping everything for a week and making a movie with your best friends?
What projects are you currently working on with DreamWorks?
I’m currently working as an Assistant Editor on the Guillermo Del Toro show Wizards, which is part of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy he developed with DreamWorks Animation. Wizards will be released on Netflix next year, but I previously worked on the shows Trollhunters and 3Below, which are the first two shows in the trilogy. They are currently streaming on Netflix. I’m also working on an upcoming DreamWorks Animation project that is unannounced, but stay tuned for that!
What kind of work would you like to develop moving forward?
Besides continuing to grow as an editor at Dreamworks Animation and in the film industry, I have been trying to stay creative outside of work. The original Iris crew and I have started a new online channel called Helium Turtle Studios. We all feel the drive to stay creatively active outside our day jobs, so Helium Turtle is where we have begun to post short films, photography, CG work, and other collaborations.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the iU Family?
Being a part of the iU family really helped set myself and fellow teammates on our career paths today. Our experience with Campus Movie Fest gave us affirmation that filmmaking was something we all loved to do, and we met so many people in the CMF community that share that same passion. Getting to screen our work in such a large forum, and in turn seeing the amazing work of others, helped me to grow as a creator and filmmaker. Staying connected with past CMF’ers and extended members of the iU family has been awesome, and I love to see where other people’s career paths have gone and what they’re creating. It’s also been a great way to share what we’re working on. Most recently we created a feature-length documentary about producing our film Iris during CMF, and we couldn’t wait to share it with the CMF community! Making movies is such a collaborative art form, so seeing how others work and sharing the process is always a great learning opportunity.
Where can we follow your story?
My embarrassingly out of date website can be found here: www.joshlewkowicz.com, but you can see more of my and my team’s current work on the Helium Turtle pages linked below.