Film crew sets up in field
March 6, 2019

Whether it’s combing the tree-lined beaches of Costa Rica or learning the artistic trade of a Tennessee woodworker, alumni Lauryn and Ian Kellett agree – they are living their dream job.

The couple founded Denver-based Liquid Luck Productions, a video company that produces a range of work, from still photography and TV shows to documentaries and marketing clips.

While their background and passion helped create their early success, the pair also credits a tight bond with their alma mater.

“It’s like we never left,” Ian Kellett (BA ’13) said, describing his second-floor office space in a downtown building overlooking the CU Denver campus. “They ask us to speak a lot, and we always try to say yes –  it’s not like we have far to go,” the good-natured Kellett said with a grin.

Ian Kellett looks through video camera
Ian Kellett films for a Discovery Channel project: American Car Prospector. He and his wife, Lauryn Kellett, founded Denver-based Liquid Luck Productions.

College creates career-ready stars of tomorrow

The Kelletts, who chose the College of Arts & Media (CAM) and its Film & Television department largely for a hands-on learning approach, knew they made the right decision from the start.

“We made a ton of films before we even left school,” said Lauryn Kellett (BA ’14). “So we already had a portfolio built up of videos.”

Because of that, the two were able to jump right into their careers after graduation, said Lauryn Kellett, who grew up shooting films with her parents’ video camera and a cast of siblings and Barbie dolls. “People trusted us more.”

CAM’s resources and expertise were also invaluable, Ian Kellett said.

“Renting a camera can cost $500 a day. So being able to cut our teeth and do this stuff in school was great,” said Ian Kellett, who was raised by a Colorado TV icon and was hosting his own television show by age 5. “And we produced projects that ended up getting student Emmys, which are big resume boosters.”

“We made a ton of films before we even left school. So we already had a portfolio built up of videos. People trusted us more.”  ̶  Lauryn Kellett

Crew sets up for shoot
Liquid Luck Productions crew members take part in the 48 Hour Film Project in Denver. The owners, CU Denver alumni, hope to boost the film industry in the Mile High City in the years ahead.

Professors push passion, student success

All of their CAM instructors were intent on ensuring student success, Lauryn Kellett said. Thanks to Associate Professor Hans Rosenwinkel, MFA, Ian Kellett had a major coup, working on the set of the Oscar-nominated “The Invisible War.”

“And he got us both on an Olympic commercial shoot,” Lauryn Kellett said of Rosenwinkel.

Both Kelletts said Assistant Professor Howie Movshovitz’s, PhD, passion was contagious. “I went into his silent-film class not liking silent film at all,” Ian Kellett said. “I left loving silent film. I think that says a lot.”

Faculty also helped steer the students toward scholarships. “We both got the scholarship to be screeners for the Starz Denver Film Festival,” an opportunity set up by Associate Professor Craig Volk, MFA, Ian Kellett said.

Lauryn smiles as Ian Kellett speaks
Lauryn and Ian Kellett speak during a lunch-and-learn session at CU Denver’s Comcast Media & Technology Center , where they discussed running a film business for an audience of film students.

College provides high-caliber talent

Many CAM faculty members have helped keep their growing company staffed, Ian Kellett said, pointing to one of his chief mentors, David Liban.

“He always gives me a lot of recommendations and goes out of his way to make sure that we keep in contact with the best of the students,” he said of the associate professor and chair of CAM’s Television, Film & Video Production department.

Whether the students stay (three of their current permanent staff members are alumni or students) or move on in their careers, it’s rewarding for the couple, the Kelletts said.

“It’s so cool to have interns who go on to do great stuff,” Lauryn Kellett said, using one of their first summer interns, Mengle Han (BA ’13), who now owns a major production house in Los Angeles, as an example.

“I went into his silent-film class not liking silent film at all. I left loving silent film. I think that says a lot.”  ̶  Ian Kellett

Kelletts pose in front of house
Jim Kellett (Ian’s father), Lauryn Kellett and Ian Kellett pose in front of the couple’s home in 2013, before attending an Emmy Award ceremony at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Lauryn and Ian Kellett both won the Student Achievement Emmy Award in Public Affairs/Community Service.

Couple spreads the ‘liquid luck’ from CU Denver to the city

Admitting that they pondered the more lucrative filmmaking land of Los Angeles after graduation, the Kelletts chose to stay in the Mile High City. Set on giving back to their university, the two also hope to help trail-blaze a vibrant film industry that can garner the attention of the California film hub.

“That’s one reason we do so much speaking at CU Denver,” said Lauryn Kellett, who is also running for the Colorado Film and Video Association in hopes of helping to build incentives for filmmakers to grow the state and Denver-area market.

“I think it’s just a matter of keeping the skilled people here,” Ian Kellett said. “That’s something that’s important to us: providing a resource for students and graduates.”

The two are grateful for the foundation their alma mater has provided in helping them reach their dream. They chose their company name after the Liquid Luck potion of Hogwarts’ fame, because their first film made together at CU Denver had a Harry Potter theme.

While they predict their Lynx connection will continue to boost their success, they are also counting on other things, Ian Kellett said, flashing a grin. “Maybe even a little luck.”

 

Line of Alumni Award winners
Ian Kellett won the Recent Alumni Award in 2018. Here, Chancellor Dorothy Horrell poses with all of the winners during the ceremony. From left to right: Jim Paradise (BS ’98), Kelly Hodges (BFA ’02), Andrea Wagner (MA ’14) and Kellett (BA ’13).
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