Optimus today announced that “CaveDigger,” cut by the production and post house’s own editor, Erin Nordstrom, was nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary short category. Jeffrey Karoff produced and directed the independent documentary film that focuses on the art of Ra Paulette, who digs cathedral-like, ‘eight wonder of the world’ caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico.

Now playing in festivals around the world, “CaveDigger” follows Paulette as he digs his creations, each of which takes him years to complete, and each a masterwork. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences. The documentary finds Paulette - fed up with working for others – foregoing commissions altogether and creating a massive, 10-year project.

“I like the challenge of documentary work because it allows me to exercise my muscles as a writer,” comments Nordstrom. “In commercial work, everything is so planned out ahead of time so that when you get the footage, there is already a solid structure within which you have to work. In documentaries, you get to create the structure in the edit. There is no script or pre-known outcome. The filmmaker captures whatever happens in the moment and then we figure out the most engaging story within the moments that were filmed.  It’s a much more collaborative process.”

Nordstrom began working with Karoff after he reached out to her and she viewed a one-minute cut of the footage. She immediately knew she wanted to get involved in this passion project which, in addition to the Academy Award nomination, has been met with critical acclaim, including:

Best Short Audience Award, Maui Film Festival
Best Short Documentary, San Antonio Film Festival
Best Documentary (Non European), ECU – The European Independent Film Festival.
Best Short, Newburyport Doc Film Fest
Finalist, Best Documentary Short, Guam International Film Festival
Official Selection:  Brooklyn Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Doctober Film Festival

“Working with Erin was one of the most satisfying collaborations I’ve had in my career,” commented Karoff.  “I knew I wanted to work with her when I saw ‘I am Trying to Break Your Heart,’ the documentary she edited about the band Wilco. Yet, until we began cutting together, I had no idea of the depth of her storytelling talent. Erin comes to storytelling from a very intuitive place.  From the first rough cut she had bridged sequences with such elegance that even I was swept along in the story.  Everything I suggested, she somehow would make better. She was always focused on how to make the point stronger, the story richer.  Plus, everyone at Optimus, with Therese Hunsberger leading the way, was exceptionally supportive, offering up their Santa Monica offices, personnel and technical support so that we could cut ‘CaveDigger’ between Erin’s commercial projects.”

For more information, please visit www.cavediggerdocumentary.com.

Credits follow:

Director/Producer: Jeffrey Karoff
Director of Photography: Anghel Decca
EP/Managing Director:  Therese Hunsberger, Optimus
Editor: Erin Nordstrom, Optimus
Asst. Editor:  Annie Carey, Optimus
Colorist:  Dan Swierenga, Optimus
omposer: Pete Min
Sound Mixer: Mitch Dorf, POP Sound

About Optimus
Optimus is a leading production and post-production house with offices in Chicago and Santa Monica.  A true one-stop shop, Optimus offers a full suite of creative services, including production, editing, color correction, visual effects and design, audio mixing and finishing. With ONE, the company’s live-action production arm, Optimus offers all production services, from shoot through post, under one roof – a singular, streamlined creative-driven machine.  For more information, please visit www.optimus.com and http://optimus.com/one. Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Optimus161 and www.facebook.com/OneAtOptimus.