Production Company Wants to Spotlight South End “Genius”

by Steve Potter

Indie Genius Media’s Industry Mixer attracted a diverse crowd of South Seattle creatives Thursday night curious about the new social justice informed production company.

All were eager to learn about Indie Genius founders Jamil Suleman and Aaron Jacob’s plans for a South End based video production house in a previously vacant space at the Mount Baker Lofts building.

The studio, adjacent to the Mount Baker light rail station, will be the primary locale for Indie Genius’ unique brand of visual storytelling.

 “Video is really the most vibrant storytelling tool of our time. I want this to be a place for storytelling. It will be a place where we can all tell our stories, the stories that need to be told now, whatever they may be. I hope it will be a kind of megaphone to help get those stories out into the world,” said Suleman.

As the Indie Genius website puts it: “IGM provides high-quality video production to optimize your social media outreach and set yourself apart from the competition.”

Jacob and Suleman are both committed activists who walk the walk right down at street level. I ran into them once as they were heading out to a nearby homeless encampment with boxes full of healthy, delicious sandwiches they made to hand out. 

Suleman is well-known in local activist circles for attending protests dressed as his alter-ego Jesus Christ, aka “Josh.” For the past two years, he and a crew of volunteers dubbed “Team Meek” have organized and hosted Josh Day, a community potluck in the true spirit of Christmas. A feast is shared for one and all. Warm donated clothing is available for homeless folks to take.

Far from all business, Thursday night also was a celebration of the local community, with a who’s who of South Seattle based artist and organizers.

DJ Jennifer Moore spun tracks. She was accompanied on some by cellist Sam Anderson, formerly of indie-pop sensation Hey Marseilles, who has more recently been engaged in some interesting community-building studio work. Anderson also performed a solo set of cello inventively looped and textured through effects pedals later in the evening.

Among the other local celebrities on hand were muralist and rapper Ari Glass, former Sub Pop General Manager, and Up Records co-founder Rich Jensen, and Aaron Jacob’s alter ego, dj.kuhnex, who curated a bumping set of music toward the end of the evening. Folks mingled, drank wine, ate cheese and crackers and enjoyed a fantastic curry soup provided by local celebrity chef and man-about-town Tarik Abdullah.

Video clips of Indie Genius’ 2016 Graffiti Village Tour, an environment-and-community focused road trip of the West Coast stretching from Canada to Mexico, were projected on the wall.

Beyond simply a workspace, the Indie Genius Media founders intend their space to be a place where art and activism merge, independent artists can show and sell their work, local organizations can host events, and art-centered after-school programs can meet. 

The high ceilings make it an ideal space for showing large paintings, drawings, collages, or photographs. It should be a welcome new addition to South Seattle’s cultural landscape.