Despite always having an interest in film and television, it wasn’t until Kegan Sant was a teenager that he considered it to be an actual career path. At the time, he had written a short synopsis for a project, titled Fragments of Gold. A line producer who was speaking at a career fair at his high school approached him, expressing interest in developing it. Although he wrote the synopsis for fun, this sparked a fuel in him that has been alive ever since: he wanted to be a filmmaker.
Fragments of Gold didn’t end up panning out with that line producer, but the experience motivated Sant to get on sets, learn the craft and ultimately make that movie. Working his way up, he worked as a personal assistant, a technician and shooter in music videos and short format narrative work. However, he found his home in producing and has never looked back. Now, he is known around his home country of Canada for his formidable work as a producer and is extremely sought-after around the world.
“Kegan is an exceptionally talented producer whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with on many projects over the last 5 years. As a cinematographer, it is important to work with producers you trust to help you achieve a level of craftsmanship you can be proud of and I can say with absolute certainty that Kegan has never let me down. Every project we have tackled together has become a source of pride for myself and everyone else involved. His relentless attention to detail and constant pursuit of cinematic excellence is a testament to his tremendous value as a producer. He is not someone who just does what needs to be done to complete a project, he is one to give everything he has to make it the best version of itself. I have been on projects where we were faced with the kind of adversity which would force the average producer to buckle under pressure, but Kegan always managed to steer us into a place where we could all succeed,” said Simon Shohet, Director of Photography.
Sant has impressed audiences around the world with his work in both film and commercials. His award-winning film The Bear made its way to several prestigious international film festivals, and his commercials for WestJet, TELUS, and Woods captivated viewers across Canada. The same occurred with a national campaign for the Canadian Football League, where Sant got to realize his dream of making a large sports campaign.
The CFL What We’re Made Of commercial was shot over 17 shoot days across Canada with multiple professional football players. It was to advertise the rebrand of the Canadian Football League. Sant worked on the commercial in September and October of 2015, and it made its premiere at the Grey Cup, the championship football game in Canada, on November 29th, 2015. It has since been picked up by many sports stations across the country, rolled out online and various stills were used for billboard campaigns. The campaign also garnered a lot of media attention, advertising the CFL’s new rebrand and using the commercial as a way to further market it. In addition to all of this, the commercial won an award for ‘Best Editing’ by Applied Arts Magazine and was nominated for ‘Best Commercial Cinematography’ at the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC) Awards in 2016.
“It’s a great feeling to know that all the hard work and long hours we put into the project were worth it and it was well received. I was also happy to know that the crew were recognized in the form of awards and nominations, which is something I can be proud of knowing that I pulled together the right team of people,” said Sant.
When the opportunity came around the make the commercial, Sant was a production partner at Kith and Kin Production company. When the request came across their desks to produce the new flagship commercial that was to premiere at the Grey Cup and show off the league’s complete rebrand, Sant knew he could make it happen. They were looking for commercial polish with creative, music video thinking. As Sant started in the world of music videos, he had a plethora of connections. He instantly put a team together that he knew would give the agency what they were looking for.
“When combined with my prior background in music videos and commercial experience, we ultimately had the best team presentation and plan to execute. They knew it would be a long, difficult shoot and they wanted to ensure that we had a crew that would be able to sustain the long hours, huge asks and still deliver with a great attitude. We were to travel across Canada, over the course of three weeks and 17 shoot days to make this happen. It sounded like a challenge I couldn’t wait to accept,” he described.
Sant had just over two weeks to shoot the comprehensive commercial in seven different provinces in the second largest country in the world, with a small five-person crew, while still allowing two full days of studio shooting with a full 50-person crew. It was a large feat to take on, but his vast producing experience and constant commitment to his work allowed for a seamless execution. He and his team were constantly faced with many challenges with the various teams, stadiums, travel itinerary and little prep time, but he knew exactly how to overcome these obstacles. The agency creatives were strong, and the director knew what he was looking for, so Sant was able to stay one step ahead the entire time, keeping spirits up and setting the crew up for success. Travelling as a small crew, Sant would also often be carrying equipment and setting up lights or offloading carts, while organizing their next flight and managing the budget. After travelling the country, they shot two days in studio back in Toronto, with lots of art department FX and slow-motion shooting. In the end, the result was magnificent.
“It was definitely a grueling shoot but overall, a lot of fun. I liked that we were working on a travel job that involved working with many professional athletes, having unparalleled access to stadiums that I would have never had before and getting to work with a tight knit crew. Working with small crews always allows for a great bond, rapport and short hand to develop. We quickly fell into a groove and worked very closely with one another to overcome our challenges and produce a finished product we’re all proud of,” said Sant.
Sant’s outstanding ability of putting the right team together that can work harmoniously, efficiently, and effectively resulted in tremendous success for the CFL What We’re Made Of campaign. The producer understood what it took to balance expectations and keep motivations high during strenuous periods throughout the shoot. He constantly was aware of the crew’s capabilities and having traveled to all of these provinces previously, he had existing relationships wherever they shot. This allowed for a much more seamless experience and minimized the stressful demands of working to hit a deadline. With such results, there is no doubt as to why Sant is such a highly-regarded Producer in Canada.
Photo by Jehn Philip