Niwot High School 2014 graduate Madison Bounds has many stories to tell, and he delivers them with the clarity and the detailed eye of an ardent historian. Ranging from topics as diverse as men's basketball at the University of Kentucky to German immigration, Bounds has documented the lives of teachers, painters, and sports figures on film. And even though LIfeStory Films, the company he founded in 2022, is based in New York, Bounds has strong ties to the Niwot community.
In 2001, when Bounds was five years old, his family moved to Niwot. He attended school at Niwot Elementary and Sunset Middle School. His father, Matthew Bounds, was a coach at Niwot High School, and his brother, Walker, is now the head coach of the NHS boys basketball team. In addition, Ashley Bounds, his mother, works as a paraprofessional for Niwot Elementary School.
Before turning to filmmaking, Bounds was an athlete, and he has fond memories of his baseball coach, Niwot attorney Biff Warren of Warren, Carlson & Moore, LLP. "Biff was one of my first little league baseball coaches and my freshman team baseball coach, too," Bounds recalled. "I fondly remember how he taught us all the fundamentals of the game. He was a fantastic role model for many of us back then. He was very dedicated to all the players, both on and off the field."
Bounds was also a very serious basketball player, but his interest in the arts started to overtake his interest in athletics when he got to high school. "Especially my junior year," Bounds admitted. "I took a literature class and a film class. And those were two very influential experiences in my life." His teacher, Jaime Rodriguez, introduced him to classic films that included "Citizen Kane" and "The Godfather." Bounds and his friends started making skateboarding videos and other short films, and this interest quickly expanded.
He made a short film that did well at film festivals called https://vimeo.com/334513069?share=copy%3E" target="_blank">"The Mumbler" (https://vimeo.com/334513069?share=copy). His very first film, which he refers to as his "film school," was the absurdist comedy feature film "Crisp Lips." His screenplay for The National Institute of Spiritual Fulfillment was recognized as "wildly creative and very timely and satirical" by the Colorado Office of Film and Television.
But Bounds was endlessly curious about his family history. "I would ask my grandparents thousands of questions on the long yearly drive to the beach," he recalls. "About their parents, grandparents, growing up, anything I could think of."
As he watched his grandparents age, it dawned on him that he could use his professional filmmaking skillset to preserve their stories, especially the memories of his grandmother, Pam MacCorquodale. "I wanted to celebrate them," Bounds explained, "to create a living record of them to return to for the rest of my life."
When he screened the film for his family, they loved it. "For my grandmother, especially, it was quite the cathartic experience just going back into all these old family photos, family archives, and just reliving them to an extent. She said it was one of the most rewarding experiences she's had in many years."
And that is how LifeStory Films was born. LifeStory Films documents lives for the living. As Bounds describes it, "It just felt like that process to me. It made a lot of sense, talking with someone, trying to understand the type of story they're interested in sharing about themselves. What they value and prioritize and the idea of celebrating a family legacy or a family story. People have very different ideas of kind of what that means and what that will look like. So finding out what they're interested in sharing and then from there just making an outline that they can work from, so they don't forget details. And then the interview and the editing process, which is assembling it all. I saw that process and it just made a lot of sense to me. And it just felt like an idea that was worth continuing to develop."
In addition to his work at LifeStory Films, Bounds' experience as an independent filmmaker, screenwriter, and director has been described as absurdist and "otherworldly" and his films have been screened at film festivals all over the world, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, and the Tokyo International Film Festival.
View photos from Bounds' work and learn more about LifeStory Films at https://filmlifestory.com/