Short Film Series Promotes Small Businesses in St. Louis

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"One of the interesting things about any city is all the unknown stuff that for the most part you have to live in that neighborhood all your life or be around it all the time to know they exist," Ryan says. "So we're just trying to let people know about the little pockets of interesting characters around town."

"Bob the Baker"

Bob the Baker -- Once Films from Once Films USA on Vimeo.

Kiger and Ryan are small business owners themselves. Having worked as professional photographers for about twenty years, the two started Once Films three years ago. They now do multimedia advertising work for an array of companies. But they do the "Spotlight Series" without charge as a way to promote small businesses and try different storytelling techniques they can't otherwise do with paying clients -- although that's not always the case after clients see the films.

See also: Short Film Explores the Romance of Peanut Butter & Jelly

"With these films, we get to play with the art form," Ryan says. "But this more experimental approach has also inspired clients, who see something they might want to emulate."

Kiger and Ryan are looking for more subjects to make films about, so they encourage any suggestions.

"If you know somebody in your sphere of friends or acquaintances, share that with us, and we'll put them up on a pedestal where they belong," Kiger says.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter at @RayDowns. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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