Childhood inspiration leads Jambor to fulfilling career

The Memphis Daily News/The Memphis News

Dec. 27, 2013

Like many children of the 1970s, Erik Jambor’s interest in film began with scrolling words on the big screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … .”

For Jambor, it wasn’t so far away in Birmingham, Ala., where he nurtured a passion for film with a Super 8 video camera in his backyard.

More than the films, though, he relished the “making of” specials for that inspirational film, “Star Wars” and for movies such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

“Then it became more about, not just seeing movies, but making movies as something that could be a career,” he said. “So I used to make stop motion films and Super 8 films in my backyard with friends or with ‘Star Wars’ figures.”

He made films throughout his childhood, as he interned at a local production facility in high school, and then through college where he was in the first film class started at Florida State University.

After graduating in 1993, he returned to Birmingham where he worked in film editing and, with a friend, opened a shop to do offline digital editing.

“I got to be one of the main folks doing nonlinear digital stuff when it was first coming out back in the day,” he said. “So that was the world I lived in for a number of years, making commercials, focusing on high-end, image-based spots for banks and hospitals and things like that.”

The narrative world of film still tugged at him, though, and Jambor made the short film “Gamalost” for the expressed purpose of getting into film festivals. It was accepted into the 1996 Seattle International Film Festival.

The process of getting that film into festivals led him to attend other festivals such as Sundance, which his film wasn’t in, though the experience would prove advantageous to his career.

“I kept coming home with these stories of these great films I saw,” he said. “My friends got fed up from me talking about them because, at the time, you would never get to see those sorts of films.”

In order to give his friends, and other regional film buffs, the opportunity to see what he had in his travels, Jambor and those friends started the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in 1999 . . . (read more)