For filmmaker Ben Proudfoot, churning out high-quality documentaries that tell the story of a Maker’s process is a walk in the park. The Nova Scotia-born filmmaker attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles and has since gone off to win dozens of festival awards worldwide and even a qualification for the 2012 Academy Awards© for Best Live Action Short Film.

More recently, Proudfoot and his crew at Breakwater Studios – an LA-based production company he founded – have been keeping busy by going behind the scenes in various workshops and small-scale manufacturing facilities to gain better insight into the process and stories of those who create by hand. However, it is perhaps the studio’s most recent undertaking that is one of their most ambitious projects to date.

The studio’s new film series – Life’s Work: Six Conversations with Makers – introduces viewers to six of Nova Scotia’s master craftspeople. Through the collection of six short films, Proudfoot goes behind the scenes of the various studios and workshops to learn more about the lives of those that spend their days crafting objects by hand, such as woodturner Steven Kennard, who adds that the satisfaction one receives from making something with their hands just “can’t be described – (it is pure) joy and the delight”.

In total, the series will feature six short films focusing on six different craftsman. They include Stone, Turns, Mother Earth, Fibre & Wood, Lady Bug and Rust. Currently, Stone, Turns and Mother Earth have been released while the other three will be released over the next three weeks on the Breakwater Vimeo Channel.

While the cinematography and production quality of the films are enough to convince anybody to watch them (woodturning at 180 FPS? Yes please!), it is perhaps the the stories about creating objects by hand from the Makers themselves that leave the most lasting impression:

“There’s something that turns me on about the fact that, at the end of the day here’s something that I think is very cool that didn’t exist in the morning. It wasn’t there last week. It didn’t exist last year. And here it is,” said featured sculptor Gordon Kennedy.

While the films will be released on Vimeo, you can stay updated on their releases by heading over to Life’s Work.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.