Gabriel Campisi and
The folklore of the film world is full of stories about "overnight sensations," those folks whose first try at a film or video project lands them smack in the middle of the big time. It's less often that we hear about people who quietly take one step at a time, carving out a career and making a name for themselves over a period of years.
One such independent film and videomaker is Gabriel Campisi. After years of making his own films and doing production work on other people's projects, Campisi has seen his career really begin to take off in 1994. The key to this sudden professional acceleration is The Law, a project that Campisi shot on VHS in 1988 and edited four years later.
Campisi and the Early Years
Not unlike Steven Spielberg, Campisi started shooting his own 8mm short films in his teens. His animated film The Lost Creature took a full two years to complete. It won the 16-year-old Campisi several awards, including first place in the Chicago Photographic Society's American Teenage Film Festival. He went on to make several other 8mm films before graduating from high school. "Telling stories this way is something that I've always been doing, and always wanted to do," says Campisi.
After graduating from high school, Campisi decided he wanted to tackle a bigger project. He had some science fiction stories he wanted to shoot and assemble into a half-hour film. Doing such a long production on 8mm film would be complicated and expensive, so he bought a VHS camcorder. True to the kind of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland "let's put on a show" spirit of independent videomaking, Campisi grabbed a few friends and began shooting The Law.
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