YARMOUTH — A local production company’s impact on the worldwide television market has earned it recognition as Maine’s Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Jynx Productions, based on Lafayette Street, was founded in 2005 by Kathleen O’Heron and Johannes Wiebus, who came to smalltown Maine to escape the rat race and find a wholesome place to raise their family.

The aim of their production company, O’Heron said this week, is to “tell the unique stories of people who are impacting our present and of the innovators who want to shape our future.”

The company also works with corporate clients who want the opportunity to “shine a light on the people, products or the pivotal moments that shaped their company spirit,” she said.

At any given time Jynx has as many as 20 projects in the works, with film crews scattered across the U.S. and around the world.

For instance, a few years ago, Jynx produced a documentary featuring Chuck Patterson, an action sports star best known for his surfing and downhill skiing and snowboarding stunts.

The team from Jynx filmed Patterson while he was in Maui getting set to ski one of the world’s most fearsome surf breaks, known as Jaws. For the stunt, Patterson wore skies, ski boots and carried ski poles.

O’Heron said some of her production crews travel a lot, mainly in the U.S., but the company also just finished a shoot on an island off Mexico and will be sending a team to the Republic of Senegal in West Africa in June. She said last year, Jynx was also shooting in Okinawa and Düsseldorf.

Its specialty is documentary storytelling, O’Heron said.

Initially she and Wiebus focused their efforts on news stories that might make interesting documentaries for television. “We made call after call and pitch after pitch until our ideas started to gain traction, and before long, they turned into commissions.”

Now, O’Heron said, “broadcasters worldwide rely on us to provide a window through which they can view the current American cultural experience.”

What she most enjoys about her work, O’Heron said, is all the different people she gets to meet and work with.

“Our projects run the gamut, from the world’s tiniest apartment in New York to the world’s largest motorcycle. But our favorite projects introduce us to amazing people who have fantastic stories to tell,” she said.

For instance, O’Heron said Jynx did a piece on Ron Clark, who runs a school for underprivileged inner-city kids, and another on Khalil Rafati, who “went from skid row to smoothie millionaire.”

“These are the stories we gravitate to,” she said.

Her favorite piece is about a man in New York City who believes the streets there are paved with gold. O’Heron said he scours the sidewalks of the Diamond District every day on his hands and knees, scraping gold dust off the pavement.

“We filmed him for two days, never believing he was actually finding anything. But on the third day he took his gold dust to a smolder and out came a little gold nugget worth $400,” she said.

O’Heron said many of the projects that Jynx gets involved in are suggested by the production team, who are “in the enviable position of pitching anything they are interested in producing.”

While Jynx Productions is known across the country and around the world, O’Heron said, “we are proud to be a Maine-based company” that’s created jobs “in a state that we have come to love.”

She said the company has hired locals, as well as people from away. In addition, O’Heron said her company also relies on freelance support from sound mixers to color specialists and composers to motion graphics artists.

Winning the Exporter of the Year from the Small Business Administration was “a pleasant surprise,” O’Heron said. “I am hoping the award will give us some visibility and recognition in Maine and beyond.”

“Maine has provided us with most of the support we need (and) Maine’s existing creative ecosystem has been (very) welcoming.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Kathleen O’Heron, left, and Johannes Wiebus, of Jynx Productions in Yarmouth, have won Maine’s Small Business Exporter of the Year award for their brand of documentary storytelling.


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