Filmmakers and Architects Unite

When architects and filmmakers come together, brilliance ensues. The Look Up Film Challenge is uniting filmmakers and architects in the ultimate creative collaboration. If you’re not yet registered to participate, learn more and register here:

In the first phase of our Look Up campaign with the American Institute of Architects, we put this theory to the test by bringing together an emerging architect with two filmmakers to tell the story of Chris Downey, a visionary architect and planner in San Francisco who lost his sight in 2008. Watch the first film in the series, “An Architect’s Story: Chris Downey.

Along the way, we turned the camera on our creatives, Nelsen Brazill, Reaa Puri, and Sana Jahani, to document their process, and to catch a glimpse of the action behind the scenes as they brought the story of Chris Downey and the positive impact of his work on the community to life through film. Watch the second film in the series, “The Making of An Architect’s Story.” 

Now comes your opportunity to team up to tell your own “look up” story. We compiled a list of best practices and tips for creators from both disciplines to connect. See below for some tips and suggestions, and visit the Look Up Film Challenge Facebook group to put out a direct inquiry.


Filmmaker looking for a compelling story?

We encourage you to reach out to your local AIA Component; find the list here, organized by state:


Architect looking to partner with a filmmaker, or know of a story that should be told?

Here are some tips to get you started:

Where to look

  • Reach out to local film organizations, film programs at schools nearby, or film festivals in your area.

  • Leverage your personal network! It’s pretty amazing how easily a post on social media asking for help can lead you to connections in the filmmaking world.

  • Utilize video sharing sites, such as Vimeo and Youtube, to discover filmmakers in your area, find a style you like, and get in touch with those filmmakers to see if they may be interested.

  • Post in the Look Up Film Challenge Group including your story concept or project, location and email address!

What to say

  • When contacting a filmmaker, share the following details: background on the challenge, a short brief about your current project, information on your potential angle for the film and where you are located.

  • When contacting a filmmaker, having a story in mind from the start will help to entice the filmmaker and will also give them early direction.

Working together

  • Share examples of video styles that you like to align on the direction and tone of the film, which will dictate editing, filming, interview questions, and music choice.

  • If possible, check in with the filmmaker after a script/treatment has been drafted and before filming has started. This will ensure that filming goes the way that you want it to.

  • Documentary filmmaking can be very independent work for a filmmaker. Make sure to align with the filmmaker on rounds of revisions and stages of review before the project kickoff.

Check out our FAQ page for any questions that you may have, or reach out to our team at with any additional questions!

Be sure to share your thoughts about architecture, film or the challenge by joining the conversation at #ilookup.

Happy creating.

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