By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
Dollar movie nights have been popular, with past screenings including Back to the Future, Rushmore, and Exit Through the Gift Shop. The next will take place on Saturday, April 13, and this time they're changing things up: The movie — appropriately, the animated feature Up — will be projected onto the ceiling, and viewers will lie on the floor to watch.
"We just wanted to also make C&I a way where people can connect," says Miller. "That's what really matters. Behind it all, it's relationships. That's the main thing for us."
C&I now has 13 employees who travel among three studios — the Fort Lauderdale headquarters and satellite offices in D.C. and North Carolina — including Corey Bost, C&I's event manager and a local musician who performs and records there.
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For this month's Art Walk, taking place March 30, C&I is putting on "French Quarter at C&I," a New Orleans-themed event complete with Cajun foods like jambalaya and gumbo, a live jazz band sourced from C&I's crew of in-house musicians, street performers, fireworks, a pop-up coffee shop, cigars, and plenty of cheap craft booze provided by nearby Riverside Market. But more than just a place to drink, hang, and share ideas with other local creative types, C&I's events are designed to rally support and nurture artists in a tangible way.
Take the "Live at C&I" concert series. Not only are the artists given the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd but C&I also shoots HD videos of their performances for free. Why? "Simple," says Miller. "We love music. Period. I love to help out artists that are really talented. Sometimes, artists just need that simple media push to help them get noticed. We love that we can do that."
As far as their own work goes, the team at C&I keeps busy with clients from all over the country in anything from politics to magazines, from ESPN and Sony to IKEA and Sea World. Currently, they're working on shooting a Miami-based reality-TV show, Top Recruiter, that follows some of the nation's most sought-after job recruiters, as well some commercials with national clients like Head & Shoulders and Blinc Mascara.
And even amid all the chaos of its commercial work and community events, the team has been working on shooting its own original films, including a web series called The Distance, based in New York and Fort Lauderdale. Currently in its fifth episode, the drama series focuses on long-distance relationships and stars Miller's brother Josiah Sampson as Sam and Brigitte Kali as September. You can watch The Distance, along with other C&I short and feature-length projects, at films.c-istudios.com.
"We are constantly pushing ourselves; we are never satisfied; there is always something more we can do," Miller says. "The future of C&I is to continue to build relationships and make great content. If we do those two things, we will be in a great place."
Their FAT Village neighbors, boutique design agency Helium Creative and planning and landscape architect firm Cadence, are also doing well in the blossoming Fort Lauderdale arts district and bringing attention to the area while building an audience for the work being done there.
"As long as we continue to create awesome media and awesome events, FAT Village will grow," Miller says. "If we all realized that life is more than money, we would be doing better. Relationships are everything, and that is the best thing about FAT Village... Fort Lauderdale is a town that people outside of Florida will start hearing about a lot more."