How did Red Finch Rental Start?
Below is the brief history of me, Mark Hedengren, the founder of Red Finch Rental. Now, I’m sure there are loads of people out there with way more experience than me in film, but I have found the fact that I’ve worked in film in NYC, LA, Sweden, and Scotland and have been creatively involved in production makes me kind of unique in the film equipment rental world. So, read below and you will get an idea of how Red Finch Rental came to be.
I attend BYU during the same period Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) and a bunch of other prominent filmmakers were there. It was an exciting time when lots of feature films were getting funded. I went and worked as an in-house assistant with esteemed director Lauren Greenfield (Thin, Queen of Versailles, Generation Wealth). Interestingly, Lauren’s brother, Matt Greenfield (The Shape of Water), is a major movie producer who is now Co-head of Fox Searchlight Studios. It was a great experience working with three other assistants and Lauren to put together advertising projects (one of which won a big time advertising award, a Kelly) and the HBO Emmy nominated feature film Thin. Right before finishing my degree, I entered a 24-hour filmmaking competition and won. That film, Tolerance, went on to get into Slamdance and a bunch of other festivals. I then finished an MFA at the Glasgow School of Art/Konstfauk (Art School in Stockholm, Sweden) where I worked on various projects. It was interesting to work in a film industry with so much government subsidies. Scandinavia has a first-rate film/photography/design culture. I then moved to New York City to work for Getty Images - Global Assignments. I spent a large amount of time working on NYU and Columbia MFA program shoots. It was a great experience. All of the good parts of an MFA experience except no tuition. I think a couple of the professors thought I was a student.
I was offered a teaching position at UVU and, since my goal at that time was to become a professor like my parents, I moved back to Utah to take the job. I then made a feature-length film, Sundance Skippy, that was broadcast on KJZZ a few times and in the New York Film Festival among others.
During this time, I attended a party my sister threw. I was talking to a friend of hers that was also involved in film, and he said “Have you heard of this new “RED” digital camera that is coming out? People say it’s going to replace film in filmmaking, but I don’t think it will.” In my head, I thought immediately “That’s exactly what they said in still photography. This camera is going to take over film production.” In still photography, it was the launch of the Canon 5D Mark I that killed film in 2006.
I bought a RED ONE camera #109. It was one of the first few in Utah. I then started renting it on the side. It was then that I accepted a teaching position at BYU. I published two books, the second being Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange’s Three Mormon Towns which was forwarded by Academy Award Nominated Producer/Photographer Mary Ellen Mark. The next year, I received the Utah Visual Arts Fellowship (the top award in visual art in Utah). I was then invited to apply for a full-time faculty position at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), one of the top art schools in the country. I was in the final three people for the position when I realized I actually liked renting gear more than teaching art. I decided to make renting equipment more of a priority. So, after nine years of renting equipment out of my house, I opened Red Finch Rental. That is how Red Finch Rental came into existence…I love to help people make their projects come true!
Meet the Team
Owner/Founder - Mark
Before founding Red Finch, Rental Mark taught film and photography at Utah Valley University and then at Brigham Young University (markhedengren.com). He was offered a job to teach at Savannah College of Art and Design when he realized he could have more influence by going full-time into his rental company. He has a BFA from Brigham Young University and MFA from the Glasgow School of Art. He has been giving the honor of being a “distinguished alumni” of both schools. He is the author of Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange’s Three Mormon Towns, The Mormons and his upcoming book Swimming Holes. He directed the feature documentary film, Sundance Skippy.