Lowery is an award-winning filmmaker from Texas. In 2011 he was accepted to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab for AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS. His debut feature, St. Nick, premiered at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and went on to play dozens of other film festivals around the world. That film was released theatrically in the spring of 2011 to rave reviews from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. His follow-up directorial effort, the short film PIONEER, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2011 and won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW the following March. It has played nearly 30 film festivals around the world to date. Lowery is an alumni of the Talent Campus at the Berlin Film Festival and IFP Narrative Labs. In 2010, the Independent Film Channel declared him an ‘Independent Icon.’ Filmmaker Magazine named him one of the 25 New Faces Of Independent Film in 2011 and in 2012 Variety named him to their Ten Directors to Watch List. His new film is AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS. Currently Lowery is co-writing PETE’S DRAGON with Halbrooks for Disney and is attached to to write THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN for star Robert Redford. Twitter
JAMES M. JOHNSTON
Johnston is an award-winning filmmaker from Fort Worth, TX. His work as producer includes PIONEER, AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, PIT STOP, and LISTEN UP PHILIP. Johnston recently won an Indie Spirt Award for his work as an Independent Film Producer. He was a 2011 Creative Producing Fellow at the Sundance Institute and named to Variety’s 10 Producer’s To Watch list in 2012 with his producing partner Toby Halbrooks. Johnston is a director in his own right and his short films including KNIFE, RECEIVE BACON, and MERRILY, MERRILY have played to great acclaim at festivals around the world. Johnston also co-owns two successful vegan restaurants with his wife Amy McNutt called Spiral Diner & Bakery and they are in the process of opening Fort Worth’s first art house cinema called The Citizen Theater.
Currently Johnston is in development on his feature directorial debut titled SEIZE THE BODY which was workshopped in the Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive Narrative Feature Workshop. He is also Executive Producer on the upcoming David Lowery film THE YELLOW BIRDS based on the NY Times best selling novel of the same name. Twitter
Halbrooks is a producer from Dallas, TX who came to film after touring the world for six years as a member of the rock group The Polyphonic Spree. PIONEER marked his first narrative project; however, he cut his teeth as a successful commercial producer and director, and together with Lowery has also helmed a number of acclaimed music videos for artists such as School Of Seven Bells, Sarah Jaffe, and Okkervil River. He is a recipient of a 2011 Sundance Creative Producing Fellowship for his work on AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS and was just named one of Variety's 10 Producers to Watch, along with his producing partner James M. Johnston. He had two films in competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS as Producer, and UPSTREAM COLOR as Co-Producer. Currently Toby is working on the PETE’S DRAGON screenplay with Lowery for Disney. Twitter
Sailor Bear was formed when longtime friends and collaborators Johnston, Halbrooks and Lowery joined forces to produce the critically acclaimed short film PIONEER which won the Grand Jury Prize at seven film festivals around the world including Festival Internacional de Cortos FIB (Spain) and South by Southwest Film Festival (USA). In 2011 the team was honored to have their newest feature project AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS included in the esteemed Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. Johnston and Halbrooks for the Creative Producing Fellowship and Lowery for the Screenwriting Labs. AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster premiered in competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play Cannes Critic’s Week. The film is being released by IFC Films in theaters starting August 19. Next up the team is attached to produce LISTEN UP PHILIP by writer/director Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel). Lowery and Halbrooks are co-writing PETE’S DRAGON for Disney and the trio are developing several other projects including their own original scripts.