Levi Taylor Magyar, a local award-winning cinematographer and co-owner of Warrenton-based production company Film Vision Media, photographed two feature films, “fishbowl” and “DC Noir.” Both were recently released on all popular streaming platforms, including AppleTV, Amazon Prime and Comcast.
Released in October, “fishbowl” follows three teenage sisters in a small town filled with secrets as their grieving father prepares for the rapture, hoping to reunite his family. Magyar served as the director of photography alongside directors Stephen and Alexa Kinigopoulos.
“My job as director of photography is to have an intimate knowledge of the director’s vision for the film before shooting starts and translate that vision onto the screen,” Magyar said.
Magyar was the principal camera operator for “DC Noir,” also released this fall. This crime anthology series is based on the short stories of crime novelist George Pelecanos, screenwriter and television producer behind “The Wire” and “The Deuce.”
“DC Noir,” an independent production shot entirely in the District of Columbia by Magyar and local crews, involves four short stories that revolve around a murder plot, a veteran city cop, a drug deal gone wrong and a heroic act.
After he graduated from George Mason University with a degree in film and video studies, Magyar devoted himself to searching for film jobs. His dedication to networking and honing his craft paid off.
In addition to his latest feature films, Magyar has filmed music videos for the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Joy Williams, John Langston, Nikki Lane, and Ruston Kelly. He has filmed several documentaries, award-winning shorts and commercials for a long list of small businesses, and even a national ad for Rice Krispies that was shot in downtown Warrenton.
For the past five years, Magyar and director Kinigopolous have also been working with the Washington Football Charitable Foundation to document the team’s annual charity initiative, Loads of Love. This program aims to reduce absenteeism in at-risk students by installing laundry facilities in schools and non-profit organizations. The Loads of Love Program is projected to eventually increase attendance rates and even grades by as much as 98%.
“It’s an honor to see these players year after year and document the good work they do,” Magyar said. Each September, Maygar’s film is presented at the Welcome Home Luncheon, a big event for players, their families, and coaching staff to help kick off the season.
From New York to D.C. to Nashville to Los Angeles, Magyar has worked with respected individuals within the industry. Over the years, he has learned to quickly read and understand his subjects in order to capture their story and guide audiences in a desired direction.
“Creation,” he answered when asked about the best part of his job. “I love to help people emotionally connect to a story, a person or a character. Once I’m dialed in and capturing an emotion, that’s the peak moment for me. It’s why I do what I do.
“From the flicker of the campfire to flicker of the film projector, storytelling has always been part of the human experience,” he continues. “The film industry is a fickle one, but it has a huge and important place in our lives.”
No matter where his travels take him, Magyar is always happy to return to his home in rural Virginia. He feels a deep connection to the land and the people, and has dreams to someday shoot a feature film here with a local cast and crew.
“I love shooting with Virginia as a backdrop—the land is inspiring,” he says. “Whenever I need to clear my head, all I have to do is take a drive down Rte. 211. This is where I want to go to bed at night.”
In 2018, Magyar and his business partner, Lindsey Forsten of Profecta Marketing, formed film production company Film Vision Media. Their custom studio is locally based, and includes a shooting floor with controlled acoustics perfectly suited for video and photography. It also features a sound isolation booth perfect for voiceover work, book-on-tape recordings and podcast interviews. The studio is available for rental to qualified parties.
To learn more about Levi Magyar and the studio at Film Vision Media, call 540-724-6347.