First Breath Films, a truly independent film production company, in name, spirit and mission. The company was officially formed in 2010, but it’s been in the making since 1977 when Jason Lehel first joined the film industry.
Jason commenced his journey in the cutting rooms, an assistant editor for two years before moving to the camera department. Here he had the privilege to work with the great Ossie Morris on MUPPET CAPER and DARK CRYSTAL.
He continued on through the ranks on some 20 features, including such films as CRY FREEDOM and GORILLAS IN THE MIST. It was on the latter he got his first break as director of photography shooting additional material for Michael Apted.
In 1988 Jason shot his first short film as director of photography, which was nominated for an Oscar, the second he shot going on to win a best short BAFTA.
Quickly he became busy in features, commercials and music videos, shooting consistently for the UK’s top directors and production companies, as well as for bands including U2, Guns N’ Roses, and even Frank Sinatra. Jason was making a name for himself as one of the leading young DP's in the UK and was quickly taken on by ICM.
In 1993 Jason joined a commercial production company as director and went on to direct over 50 commercials in two years whilst winning several awards, including his powerful anti domestic violence spot starring Dougray Scott.
By 1996 Jason had set up his own production company, Open Eye Productions and had won awards on every short film he directed and produced; they even kept coming for the commercials he directed & produced. Through Open Eye he also won a Grierson best documentary award for the controversial documentary “2 Hours from London”, which he produced for the BBC.
2004 saw Open Eye produce BOB THE BUTLER, staring Brooke Shields and Tom Green, a film that was sold to Disney and has become a family favorite.
Jason moved to Los Angeles in 2007 where he set up the US side of Tantrum Production as well as Route 1, a successful commercial production company, producing & servicing commercials from all over the world.
His first feature film as director came in November 2008, “Gaia”, which he also produced and photographed. Shot on the Native Indian reservations south east of Phoenix AZ, "Gaia" won many festival awards and premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. This was the first breath of First Breath Films.
In 2011 Jason directed and produced the feature "Coyote Requiem”. Amongst his features currently in development is Turtle Man, the story of a homeless man braving the streets of Los Angeles.
The rest, is history in the making :)
“A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”
– Stanley Kubrik