Punch Card Films: Taking it Personally

| By Sarah Jester

Video content:  it’s everywhere. Most of us rarely go a day without watching at least a few videos, whether it’s a corporate commercial, a short film, or a few seconds of a brightly colored ad. But who are the masterminds behind these clips? Ed Hellman and Katie Staab of Certified LGBTBE® PUNCH CARD Films are leading the way in innovative video production.

Based in New York, PUNCH CARD Films is a full service video production company, specializing in a wide range of video content. Several years ago, Ed and Katie came together to co-found this unique initiative.

“Katie and I went to grad school together years ago and worked separately in the industry for many years,” Ed explained. “[We] recently teamed up to start PUNCH CARD Films - we just kind of found we had the same sort of viewpoint on content and how we wanted to work with people.”

“We have the same set of priorities,” Katie agreed. “That flowed over into how we run the business and who we hire.”

As a result, PUNCH CARD Films maintains a significant emphasis on diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Ed and Katie focus on hiring LGBTQ+ individuals for the respective casts and crews of their projects.

“We’re trying to level the playing field in the film industry, which is a very white male-dominated hierarchy,” said Ed.

Like many other businesses, PUNCH CARD Films had to shift their operations when the pandemic struck. Although some of their upcoming projects had to be postponed, the duo was grateful for the opportunity to work on dynamic projects for various platforms that had originally taken a backseat. Ed and Katie have also enjoyed taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with people virtually that they likely would not have met otherwise.

“We’ve had a bunch of meetings in the last few weeks with people we’ve met at the M3,” said Ed. The M3, or the Members’ Monthly Mixer, is a signature networking program of NGLCC’s New York City affiliate: nglccNY. Check your local affiliate for similar programs that can exponentially grow your business network.

When asked about what was unique about PUNCH CARD Films, Katie cited their leadership style. Although they take on many corporate projects, they incorporate a bit of their own personality into each video they produce.

“We have a delightfully weird sense of humor and that’s something we want to sneak into every project,” she said. “These aren’t just jobs to us - that’s the bottom line.”

Stories have power - and it is important for audiences around the world to see LGBTQ+ people in front of and behind the camera. PUNCH CARD Films recognizes the importance of this, and has completed an impressive series of projects that are visible to large audiences. One of these projects has taken the form of a semi-permanent installation in the Empire State Building that will remain up for the next 15 years!

“Filmmaking is at its best when it is inclusive and it’s a group activity and you’re celebrating what everyone is bringing,” Ed explained. “There’s something really magical about film and how it can bring out a lot of creativity in a lot of different people.”

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Want to see more of PUNCH CARD Films? Check out a few of their projects below!

"Sippy Cup" for Gracie Nash [MUSIC VIDEO]
"Block Quotes" featuring Newsweek [SPONSORED DIGITAL SERIES]
"Connatix plays "What Chili Pepper Are You?" [CORPORATE CULTURE VIDEO]

Visit nglcc.org/get-certified to learn more about becoming a Certified LGBTBE®.