#PeopleOfWilmDE: Mike Pfiefer

Mike Pfiefer is the Founder and Director of 1440 Film Co, well as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! Read his story below:

“It feels like I had a camera in my hand for most of my childhood. In high school, I talked teachers into letting me make films instead of writing papers, and I just haven’t stopped. I started working in the area as a director of photography for Squatch Creative, and I’ve been here ever since.

Mike Pfiefer and family – Wilmington, DE

When I was in high school, I skipped a whole day of classes to explore the city with friends, and ended up singing Twist and Shout on a parade float. Later I worked as a janitor in an Ivy League school and managed to solve a complex math problem a professor had left on the whiteboard. I also traveled back in time to save my parents’ marriage. [EDITOR NOTE: Just kidding, he just LOVES film! Bonus points if you can guess which movies these are from!]

I honestly do love being in this city. If I go to lunch anywhere in town, I’m almost guaranteed to run into a friend or a client. It feels weird if I don’t. I’m so grateful to this community. The people of Wilmington and the surrounding area have been so good to me, and so supportive from day one. That’s why we try to give back whenever we can, including through our Project Giveback.

We recently received an Edge Grant, $25,000 toward a grip truck for 1440 Film Company. Before that, we were trying to sit a one-ton truck’s worth of equipment into my Chevy Traverse. Going from strapping cameras into baby seats to a legitimate truck is a game changer. The Edge Grant is an amazing program, and I don’t know of another state that has anything quite like it. I’m so grateful to our state for putting the grant out there. If you’ve started a small business, you know how hard it is to get started, and it’s truly amazing when an outside organization has your back.

An ideal night in Wilmington I should preface by saying I have two small children, so nights out are few and far between. But for a chill night out we go for margaritas and tacos at Del Pez, then Constitution Yards and a walk on the Riverfront. For a fancier night out, we start at Bardea, catch a show at The Queen or The Grand, and then end up at Torbert Street Social.

But, I’m a really simple guy. I love Constitution Yards. It’s a little beer garden where you can throw some axes and hang out with friends by the river. It’s perfect.

Again, it’s the community here, all the people who’ve given me an opportunity. I started my own company three years ago and all of our marketing since has been word of mouth, so it’s 100% their kindness and belief in our abilities that allowed us to be successful.

Wilmington was blowing up pre-pandemic. There was all kinds of exciting growth and renewal going on. And then collectively we got punched in the gut. So honestly what excites me is seeing us getting back on track, seeing things like my friends opening restaurants and organizations like The WRK Group, pursuing social justice in the city. I think we have a lot of momentum again, and we can make things better for everyone that live here.

There’s new stuff popping up weekly, get out and support them! It makes such a big difference to small business owners, especially restaurants, to have the support of the community.

I’d like to see the kind of investments we get on Market Street continue to expand to the blocks on either side. There’s been a lot of attention to business, and a lot of great growth. But I’d like to see that equally distributed to the people who live in the city, not just the people who work in it.

My proudest moment is from the first year we did Project Giveback, our program where we make a completely free film for a deserving nonprofit. We created a film for TeenSHARP, an incredible organization with the goal of helping black and Latino high schoolers get accepted by top colleges. Recording the moment students got their acceptance letters was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. If I had a shoot like that once a year, I’d call it a worthwhile career.” 

Check out 1440 Film Co on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and their website

Find out more information about the Edge Grant on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on their website

Read more #PeopleOfWilmDE posts here. To nominate next week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE, email us at info@wilmtoday.com. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

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