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Stephen Dirkes

2013 animation SM from stephen dirkes on Vimeo.

Currently residing in New York City, Stephen Dirkes, founded and directs Obscure Object Films production company and works as a freelance director, composer and editor.

A devotee of cinema craft and historical avant garde cinema, I’ve been drawn to explore stop motion and time lapse animation, super 8mm film, stills animation and finding new and interesting ways to incorporate those techniques into the latest in digital film making. As a filmmaker, the rhythm and structure of my picture editing is very closely allied to structures in music and that connection greatly influences my work.

I studied classical music composition and early music as a teen in Canada at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto and continued at the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan, film sound at Simon Frazer University, Vancouver, BC and Indonesian traditional music at STSI Bandung, Indonesia.

Receiving grants and commissions as a composer and film maker from; McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Telefilm Canada, Indonesian International “Dharmasiwa” Cultural Scholarship, the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Czech Republic and New York State Council on the Arts, my work has been widely received and well reviewed.

In 1992 I moved to Seoul, Korea and worked with Young Chang instruments developing Kurzweil sampling synthesizers and embarked on an independent study of Korean traditional musics.

In 1995 I moved to Bandung, Indonesia on a scholarship to study traditional music and established a music production studio. As the music director for Red Rocket Animation, scoring MTV interstitials and short format animation was a great opportunity to work with traditional painted cell animation. I scored 100′s of television ads, produced music for a few record labels and was able to enjoy extensive study and travel throughout Asia.

In ’97 when the currency and government both collapsed, I moved my studio from Indonesia to Prague, Czech Republic and continued to score film and TV commercials and had the chance to work with Czech animation hero Bedrich Glazer ( Jan Svankmajer’s animator ) and in historical “Barandov Studios”.

Lots of time spent producing music for several record labels and performing live electronic music ( the Lab, aftermath db ). I became involved in vjing ( VJ Pixalot ), new media ( Labtest ) and taught a course on avant garde cinema and real time performative cinema with Petr Vrana and Standislav Miller in the New Media Department at FAMU ( National Film Academy Prague, Czech Republic ).

Relocating to the U.S. in 2004, I founded “Labtest” media art collective to create a VJ performance commissioned for “Hipersonica” international VJ festival in Sao Paulo, Brasil and have continued to vj/dj and exhibit gallery shows, media installations and festival screenings in Berlin, Ghent, Havana, Jakarta, LA, Moscow, New York, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Toronto.

Prior to forming Obscure Object Films in 2009, I was a senior producer/editor for Emmy Award winning production company, Scribemedia.

Creating film and music continues to hold my interest, gets me creatively charged and lets me learn something new every day.