Lucas Lee Krost, 36 

Owner, Branching Films

click to enlarge lucas_krost.jpg

Lucas Krost is still starry-eyed that his movie, “Feels Like Drowning,” was screened at last year's Cannes Film Festival. “Unbelievable,” the Church Hill-based film director says. “I lived the Cannes dream.”

But Krost seems equally as touched that his latest short film, “Neighborhood Watch,” will screen at this year's Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville. He's a homeboy. Often referred to as the heart and soul of Richmond's filmmaking community, the owner of Branching Films is a passionate supporter of the city's arts scene (“I think we can be another Austin”) and a vocal advocate of state tax incentives for outside movie productions. “Did you know that there's been no movie [made] here since ‘John Adams’?” he asks. “I say bring the work to Virginia. The local crews here are amazing.”

Krost the filmmaker balances narrative movies with documentaries rooted in social justice. In 2007 he won Current TV's Seeds of Tolerance documentary competition (and a $100,000 check) for “One Nation Under Guard,” a prison reform doc that featured Richmond's Youth Life Foundation, for which Krost has volunteered, teaching art classes. Youth Life also got a needed $15,000 because of the victory.

Krost paid off his student loans at Virginia Commonwealth University with the prize money and bought a building for the filmmaking company that he started with his wife, Alexandra. He's now working to fulfill a dream: River City Films. “I've always wanted to start a program where we are teaching at-risk youth the art of filmmaking,” he says. “I fell in love with the idea that we are responsible for bettering our community in whatever we do.”

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