We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Marcus and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kevin, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I started my current production company, Knowledge Tree Films, in 2014 to create and work on projects that educate people while entertaining them. I majored in cultural anthropology in college, before going on to obtain a BA in tv/film production, and I’ve happily combined both of these life long passions together. Knowing your history is important, and so many people in this country have zero understanding of the times, forces, events, and people who made our society here in the United States what is today. When people aren’t connected, they’re impacted negatively; we instinctually want to belong. We are experiencing an era of extreme disconnect which leads to stress, anxiety, violence, and hate. We can’t move forward in this sort of environment, so, my colleagues and I are trying to do our part. The stories we tell through our short and long form documentary series, and our episodic travel show bring to light all the diverse voices missing from our conversation. We want to acknowledge the hard facts that made this country, even if they make people uncomfortable. At the end of the day, we all have much more in common; our differences are highlighted too much. So we create, we travel, we film, and we share. A stepping stone to making things better.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a writer and photographer. A storyteller with both mediums. I’m always evolving, learning more about myself, other people, and life in general. I’m proud of the fact that I always have ways of expressing myself through both the written word, and visually through both my personal photography, and the cinematography made as part of our shows. My personal photographic hero, Ansel Adams, shared what he learned about a photograph communicating the emotion and state of mind of the photographer. The purpose and meaning behind my photography, and the larger scope of my work is summed up in that concept: I am presenting to an audience, to the best of my capabilities, what I saw and felt. It’s human connection, and it’s connection the great unknown. I have my tiny part in all of this, and I am humble and appreciative of that. I’ve struggled at times to be my authentic self, and that is an ongoing thing, as it is with many people. The lesson I’ve learned more than once is to be your authentic self, to hold yourself to high standards in both actions and words, and to engage with other people on the same level. Making excuses for yourself and others is the most counterproductive thing you can do.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
While I do enjoy a night out on the town visiting new restaurants, night spots, and music venues, I would make this the bookend of a weeklong trip. I’d start things off by looking up a new place to eat and get some contemporary cocktails. The next morning, I’d take us on a road trip. There are so many beautiful natural scenes that many people would not expect to find in Arizona. The San Francisco peaks would be a destination, and we’d get there by driving through the awesome small towns found in the Tonto National Forest. A stay in Winslow at La Posada Hotel, and having a meal in the Turquoise Room restaurant is a must stop. Ideally, there would be several weeks to take a trip, allowing time to soak up nature, go hiking, visit different independently owned restaurants, try different lodging options, and get a good feeling of simply being there on the ground. But, a week to explore this part of the state would work, with another night out on the town after getting back, of course!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my grandmother, Ann Marcus. She was a tremendous role model for me, teaching me to be my authentic self, and to tell my story. She lived the quintessential 20th century American life. She grew up during the Roaring 20’s, and came of age during the Great Depression. She had a victory garden during WWII, and worked as a reporter for Life Magazine, a position very few women had at the time. She came west with my grandfather in the early 1950s and broke into TV writing for shows like Lassie, Dennis the Menance, and Gentle Ben. In the 1960s and 70’s, she pushed boundaries writing for Peyton Place, Mary Hartman-Mary Hartman, and in the 80s/90s as head writer of Knots Landing and General Hospital. She was endless curious, loved life, had a wicked sense of humor, and accepted people for who they were decades before the rest of society caught up. She supported and encouraged me in my desire to become a good storyteller, and worked with me on my writing for years. Her mentorship was invaluable. She cared deeply about people, and the future of humanity. It’s in her memory, in part, that I want to help make our world a better place.

Website: www.knowledgetreefilms.com

Instagram: @darkwaterpilot

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-marcus-39852b12/

Twitter: @darkwaterpilot

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevin.marcus.758

Other: www.darkwaterpilotphotography.com

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