by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
Joshua Leonard is a 26-year-old 2012 graduate of the University of Central Missouri at the forefront of a revitalization process at KMOS-TV. He works as a multi-media producer at the station.
One stage of the revitalization found its way on screen last fall with the launching of U-Mag, a modernized, updated version of an old standard, the current affairs program formerly called University Magazine.
In April of 2015, Leonard continued the revitalization with the launch of the pilot episode of Upstart: Film, a chat show airing on KMOS, with Leonard hosting. The show features independent filmmakers who are brought on as guests to discuss the ins and outs of film.
Leonard remarked how his show is a chat among filmmakers, but it’s unlike Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” due to the focus on independent filmmakers, instead of more well known Hollywood stars which Leonard doesn’t have access to. The director interviewed for the pilot episode was Kevin McKinney, a Kansas City, Mo. based filmmaker. He is most noted for his documentary ”Corporate FM,” a film about how corporate consolidation of radio led to a shift in content. “Corporate FM” was screened at the University of Central Missouri during 2012’s Show Me Justice Film Festival. McKinney said he was impressed with Upstart: Film.
“They could have easily glossed over the surface, but the host took time to dig deeper into the subject matter,” McKinney said. “ As a filmmaker, this was very important to me because there are not many outlets for broadcast of (independent) films these days. The internet does not cut it as the sole outlet because it is so watered down. The audience is not concentrated the way it is with a TV station.”
McKinney considers Leonard and Upstart Film to be a part of the “localism” movement.
“It is similar to the way consumers prefer farmer’s markets now. They also prefer local news, local culture, stuff they can get out and see in their own communities,” McKinney said.
Kansas City is where a lot of Leonard’s contacts are located, but he said he would like to expand to include filmmakers from Columbia, Mo. He said Columbia is a thriving market for KMOS, and the station receives a lot of attention there. Leonard said he would like to see more expansion with Upstart: Film, regarding content and filmmakers he has access to, including discussion with makers of popular viral videos and interviews with filmmakers via Skype. Leonard said he believes the show can act as a learning tool, for both himself and the audience. He said the show can give an insight into understanding the hardships and successes of independent filmmakers. Leonard is quick to speak about the struggles independent filmmakers endure for the love of their craft.
“It’s hard in this world,” Leonard said. “Anyone with a camera and money can make a movie.”
“Life is all about learning ,and life is a learning process,” he continued. “If I can learn more about doing it (filmmaking) , it benefits me.”
Ultimately, Leonard said Upstart Film is not about him—It’s about film making. Leonard’s primary goal of the show is to give more exposure to independent film–makers.
Upstart Film airs every other Thursday at 9:00 p.m. on KMOS-TV.
Here’s the shows first episode: