Aspiring Colorado filmmaker infiltrates Oscars swag bags

(Photo: Courtesy of Ian Rymsha)
<p>Colorado native Charles Van Loucks directs his 2010 thesis film titled “The Creation of Evil,” which he made while attending the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.</p>
Photo: Aspiring filmmaker Charles Van Loucks directs thesis film 3-2
Colorado native Charles Van Loucks directs his 2010 thesis film titled "The Creation of Evil", which he made while attending the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

The aspiring filmmaker from Englewood, Colorado, has invested in an unusual marketing campaign to try to reach some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

As is custom at the Academy Awards, every nominee will leave Sunday’s ceremony with a gift bag. This year’s collection of more than 50 goodies is reportedly worth $85,000.

The giveaways range from a $15,000 walking tour of Japan to a pair of NBA Summer League tickets to a bottle of organic maple syrup. The bag will also include a DVD advertising Van Loucks’ filmmaking services.

Van Loucks moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to attend the city’s branch of the New York Film Academy. He’s lived in the American film mecca since graduating in 2012.

“It’s extremely difficult to find a constant film job in LA,” Van Loucks says. “I was sending out my resume every day to no avail, so I decided I needed to do something different.”

Van Loucks took out what he describes as a “substantial loan” to produce a 30-second commercial and purchase billboard space promoting his skills.

Then he decided to reach out to people with connections to the Oscars to ask about distributing his video resume. And to his surprise, they were very receptive and supportive of his unusual approach.

Considering the film industry is largely about whom you know, Van Loucks sees this as a good investment.

“It’s something I’ll be paying off for a while, but I think it’ll be worth it, especially if I can reach those people that are normally unreachable,” Van Loucks says.

The 25 year old, who got his start in film as a kid documenting family vacations, hopes this move will lead to his big break.

If that happens, Van Loucks says he’d like to eventually return to Colorado to shoot a feature he’s writing about various experiences with friends in his home state.

Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the 86th annual Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. MST.