Sunday, October 4, 2009

A new film!

We've just shot a new documentary film about 9 traditional cattlemen (cowboys) in the Highwood Mountains of Montana doing a 9 day cattle roundup, pushing hundreds of cows down the mountain range from summer pasture the same way it's been done for a hundred years. This is a dying way of life...

Director: Brian Liu, Producer: Andrew Labens, Additional Camera: Damon Ristau.
More still photos here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yoga Activist identity

We recently completed a new logo for Yoga Activist, an awesome project started by the folks over at Yoga District! Dig it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

DJs Yellow Fever at the Smithsonian Freer/Sackler Galleries! All yellow, All night!

(pic of DJs Yellow Fever with Jerry Busher & Hash Vyas performing at Asia After Dark by Swedish Scene)

Under a perfect summer night last night, DJs Yellow Fever (Brian and Nick) spun a rare all-asian set in the beautiful courtyard of The Freer Gallery Of Art for their sold out "Asia After Dark" event. We spun everything from cambodian and vietnamese psych, 70's thai pop, bollywood, to asian hip-hop, with special guest musicians Jerry Busher (Small Doses, Federico Aubele, French Toast, Dust Galaxy, Fugazi) on drums and Hash Vyas (Thievery Corporation, Federico Aubele, Dust Galaxy, Gogogo Airheart) on bass. Extra thanks to the gallery staff, their support, Amanda Williams, The Pink Line, and Jerry & Hash for playing this amazing gig with us. Also thanks to Sam Vasfi for taking our photos.

We'd appreciate any additional photos and/or links anyone would send our way. Thanks so much!

Some press and photos:
• Alfredo Flores' event photos on Facebook - Asia After Dark
Freer-Sackler Gallery on flickr
• Asia After Dark report on The Pink Line Project
photography of the event by Vincent Gallegos
Swedish Scene!

Sam Vasfi's "serious/legit" photo of us. pretty funny, huh?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Taste Of the Nation

Our work for Share Our Strength's new Taste Of The Nation campaign. We're excited for them to make their final design decisions!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

HotDocs in Toronto & Silverdocs in MD/DC

HotDocs Film Festival in Toronto:
the one thing i was most surprised about HotDocs was actually the city of Toronto itself. having spent a significant amout of time in Toronto in my youth, i was not completely new to the city, but Toronto has become a great town. the amount of support and interest in indie films and docs that the people of Toronto showed was also amazing. LOTS of people came out to see EVERYTHING. also, since the town has so many theaters, the festival was able to place screenings and parties in many different neighborhoods, which really forced me to experience different neighborhoods and the GREAT food in each. ill be back!

Standout films I saw:
• When We Were Boys [beautiful window into life in a wealthy boy's private school]
• Winnebago Man [hilarious. look it up.]
• Bitch Academy [short doc on russian girls who take a class on how to seduce rich men. surprisingly sweet.]
• Burma VJ [incredible story of covert burmese citizen journalists during the recent burmese uprising]
• The Wild Hearts [drunken naked wasted rock n roll boys from copenhagen go on a road trip]
• Art & Copy [doug pray's great film about the advertising industry]
• Necrobusiness [unbelieveable gangster morticians in poland.]
• Carmen Meets Borat [the quick appearance & departure of Borat turns a town upside down. an incredible window into life in a small romanian town.]

i overheard one canadian filmmaker talking about funding. American: "You guys are so lucky as Canadian filmmakers to have such great financial support from your govt." Canadian: "Youre right, but somehow i think that makes us have the ability to put out so many mediocre films." hmmm.... food for thought.

For the most part, i thought the programming at HotDocs was great, but I was sorely disappointed by the few "HotDocs Talks" i attended. maybe it was the topics, maybe the moderator, maybe it was the speakers, but either way, they were for the most part uninspiring, and didnt really yield much info other than superficial discussions of films. you guys really need to check out Silverdocs' sessions and panels.

outside of that i had a great time!

Silverdocs Film Festival in Silver Spring, MD:

As usual, a great festival experience, and a great learning experience. This fest just gets better every year. Congrats Sky!

Standout films I saw:
• Soul Power [absolutely amazing doc about the musical entertainment part of the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight]
• Supermen Of Malegaon [making of a low-budget Bollywood film. SO funny!]
• Hunting Down Memory [incredible amnesia story]
• More Than A Game [incredible story of Lebron James & crew, from the beginning]
• The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry [i learned a lot about the man that i did not know. mayor for life.]

Outside of the great lineup of films themselves, and the panels, Silverdocs really outdid themselves with special guests this year. Wale played a nice set at the opening night party following the screening of More Than A Game, attended by Lebron James and his crew. Im not sure many folks attending even knew who Wale was. shame... Also, funk legend Fred Wesley of the James Brown Horns spoke and performed a bit after Soul Power (which blew my mind!), and Marion Barry attended his screening as well as the after party at Jackies featuring a full set by DC gogo legends Trouble Funk! WOW!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cinema Eye Honors 2009!

wow. where do i begin? only in it's second year, Cinema Eye has already started to become one of the most coveted awards in the documentary community. now held at the beautiful Times Center in New York City, the sold out room was filled with filmmakers, broadcasters, festival types, celebs, and old friends.



The 2009 Cinema Eye Winners were announced this past Sunday March 29 and brought together luminaries of nonfiction filmmaking to honor and celebrate some of the best films of 2008. Award presenters included a bevy of nonfiction legends including Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter), D.A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back), experimental artist/musician Laurie Anderson (attending with Lou Reed, of course), and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me).

The need for a new standard of award for documentaries that recognizes the breadth of the genre and includes the crafts of cinematography, music, editing and producing should have been obvious from the start. Who knows why there wasnt anything like this before... This award was conceived by and for those who had spent the year on the road watching nonfiction films at festivals all over the world, and felt that the Academy’s choices failed to fully represent the year they had experienced.

Man On Wire and Waltz With Bashir swept up most of this year's awards, with one of my faves of last year, Up The Yangtze, also picking up 2 awards. Over 20 nonfiction films were nominated throughout 10 categories that celebrate excellence and innovation in the field.

i could go on and on about each of the winning films, but nothing really tops meeting Phillippe Petit, the legendary "Man On Wire" himself, as well as D.A. Pennebaker and Albert Maysles. basically i shook their hands, said it was honor to meet them, asked to take the photo you see below, then fled in shame for being unworthy to even be in the same room with the men responsible for Gimme Shelter, Don't Look Back, and countless other amazing films....


Pennebaker quote of the day (approximation): "It's funny that we were called filmmakers Back then, because we spent more time making equipment than making films... "

Following the ceremony, i DJed the after party w/ Ion, who basically asked me to spin with him, however after playing 4 songs off his ipod mixer he pretty much disappeared into the open bar and left me (happily i might add) to spin the rest of the night. Im guessing folks liked the music because grand poohbah Bob Alexander asked me to turn it up, and one particularly beautiful bartender asked if i would play there more often. either that or it was just the open bar talking. ill never know....

Thanks to Cinema Eye sponsor IndiePix, Bob Alexander, Danielle DiGiacomo, Matt Posorske, Jason, AJ Schnack, and Cinema Eye for a great event! Disarm was aquired and released to DVD by IndiePix just 2 weeks ago, and im proud to be a member of the IndiePix family! Find Disarm in stores, on Amazon, Netflix, and more!

* Cinema Eye in other press:
Cinema Eye in the New York Press
Cinema Eye on Indiewire

* note: some text borrowed from IndiePix press release.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Emiliana Torrini on tour

photographed our longtime "lil buddy" Emiliana Torrini @ The Hiro Ballroom in new york this past weekend 3/28/09! the show was amazing, and it was great to see ET onstage again w/ the band with siggi on drums, and kari out managing Lay Low.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

old friends

Running into old friend Neil Strauss on a promotional world tour of his new book, "Emergency". We actually had to rescue him from groupies... Ha.:


You may know him from his reporting for Rolling Stone or New York Times or his bestselling biographies of Motley Crüe "The Dirt", Jenna Jameson, or "The Game", the boook that launched him into superstardom.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

March 5th DISARM DVD launch event in New York

At long last, we launched the DVD of Disarm, our documentary feature film on landmines, at at the beautiful Scandinavia House venue near the United Nations in New York this Monday, 2 March.

DSC_4586checkin table

A massive snowfall the night before and throughout the day had us worried that the event would be a bust, but last minute RSVPs filled the room for our event convened by IndiePix and ICBL to launch the Disarm DVD and commemorate the 10th anniversary of the international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.

While the snowstorm prevented one of our star guests, Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams, from speaking at this event, and Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys and Rolling Stone political cartoonist David Rees from attending, we still had a full house of approximately 150 VIPs including diplomatic representatives from 20 countries (including several ambassadors), mine clearance and disarmament officials from the United Nations, film industry representatives, a number of artists including DJ Spooky (Paul Miller), and many members of the press.

After a brief reception and panel discussion between Disarm’s executive producer Mary Wareham, Colombia’s Ambassador Claudia Blum, Norway’s Ambassador Mona Juul and Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch, we screened Disarm, followed by a film Q&A session with Mary Wareham and director Brian Liu. Many thanks to IndiePix and ICBL, our speakers, and our audience for braving the cold weather!

ToolboxDC has designed a limited run of Disarm T-Shirts available for purchase. The film can be purchased from Amazon, rented via Netflix, and shortly it will be available from the IndiePix website for digital download from anywhere in the world. The Disarm DVD is loaded with extras: 40-minutes of deleted scenes, subtitles in 5 languages, trailers, and director's commentary. Contact us if you want to subtitle Disarm into your own language or hold a public screening of the film.


* Purchase and review & rate Disarm from Amazon
* Rent and review & rate Disarm from Netflix
* Purchase or download Disarm from IndiePix
* Join Disarm’s Facebook group

new reviews:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Disarm DVD completed!!

FINALLY, after many years of work including touring numerous film festival screenings, a few awards, and distribution on various television networks, the Disarm DVD has been completed!!!

This newly mastered DVD, with new artwork, is loaded with extras including directors' commentary, trailers, and 40 minutes of deleted scenes. Our amazing friends at IndiePix will start distributing the Disarm DVD on February 24th launch event is planned in New York on March 2nd together with Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines(ICBL), and special guests.

The DVD will be available from stores in Canada, the US and UK, and online at Amazon, Netflix, Borders Books, and via digital download. PLEASE buy the film, spread the word, and PLEASE PLEASE add to your Queues and your wishlists and leave comments and star ratings on the Disarm profile on Amazon, Netflix, and IMDB sites.

Thanks to so many people who have helped us, donated time, provided resources, or kept us safe during the making of Disarm. Please support independent film and help support the bans on landmines and cluster munitions.

A big thanks to everyone involved in preparing the DVD especially Mary Wareham, Brian Liu, Guillaume Bernadeau, Amy O'Byrne, Nick Pimentel, Katy Wood, and our translators. We're grateful to IndiePix, especially Danielle DiGiacomo, Liz Ogilvie, Matt Posorske, and Ryan Harrington.

If you aren't already, please sign up to the Disarm email list at

The New York event (sold out) flyer is available here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thievery Corporation FIVE sold out nights at DC's 930 Club!

Our good friends, Thievery Corporation, have just finished up their five SOLD OUT shows at the legendary 9:30 Club! It was a pleasure to have everyone in town again for so long. We continued doing some still photography and video all week.

all photos below ©Brian Liu/ToolboxDC. unauthorized use prohibited.

DSC_4088louloucrop was at the Tuesday show and posted a review here. The band has been playing super long shows and long encores for their hometown crowd. In the audience have been some surprise friends in town and guests including DJ Spooky and U2's Larry Mullen Jr.

Baby Julian!

We'd like to congratulate Toolbox Senior Designer Nick Pimentel and his new bride Lizzy Evelyn on the birth of their beautiful son Julian Santiago Pimentel on December 17, 2008!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An AWESOME day in DC and the world!

Today, in DC, history was made. ill complete the post when i recover from the week's festivities.






Artist of the hour Shepard Fairey stops to say hi before being mobbed by press and fans...


Two of my favorite pieces from the Inauguration Manifest Hope art show (one silkscreen, one Etch-A-Sketch):



Tuesday, January 6, 2009

DAMn cool photos of Mingering Mike!

Brian Liu of ToolboxDC's exclusive photos of artist and imaginary soul superstar Mingering Mike appear in in DAMn Magazine #20 (Jan/Feb 2009). DAMn is a beautiful bimonthly international review on design, architecture and art, based in Brussels.

cover+spread vertflat

Monday, January 5, 2009

Disarm stencil spray trailer and DVD news!

Finally! After many years, our feature documentary, DISARM, will be released on DVD by IndiePix this spring 2009. The deal is done (much thanks and love to Danielle DiGiacomo, Ryan Harrington, Liz Ogilvie, and the IndiePix crew), and we are delivering the film and DVD extras to them THIS WEEK!!!

If you aren't already, please get on the DISARM email list at

Here's the newly completed "Disarm stencil spray trailer", edited by Amy O' Byrne and Brian Liu: