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This film production company founder’s path led him to his passion: videos for good

As Mike Pfeifer, founder of 1440 Film Co., learned, sometimes career paths take unexpected turns — and take you to what you really want to do.

Mike Pfeifer, founder of 1440 Film Co. (Courtesy photo)
When Mike Pfeifer was a kid, he would always ask if he could make videos for school projects.

When he was old enough to decide on a college major, he chose a business degree.

“It never crossed my mind that I could actually work in film,” he said.

Although his film production startup, The Mill-based 1440 Film Co., is newly launched, you’re probably familiar with Pfeifer’s work: Previously, he worked for Short Order Production House and directed the video “Options in Delaware,” which was used as part of Wilmington’s pitch package for Amazon HQ2.

After college, Pfeifer got a job at eZanga, an online marketing firm in Middletown. It was there that he realized that filmmaking could be more than a hobby. As a video marketing specialist, he started making videos for the office. They were such a hit that when he moved on, he looked for a job in the film industry.

“I was very inspired by Steve Jobs’connect the dots,’ speech at Stanford University,” he said. “I connected the dots going back to when I was a kid, and I knew that this is what I want to do.”

Delaware’s film industry is small, but not nonexistent. Pfeifer worked as director of photography at Squatch Creative Wilmington, then got the job at Short Order, launching him into the industry of commercial film production.

Zach [Phillips, founder of Short Order] is great,” he said. “As much as I love and respect the team at Short Order, it was time to branch out and start up my own production company.”

I immediately fell in love with the concept of knowing that our time is limited so it's best to make the most of it.

Where does a film production company in Delaware get work? In the age of digital content, it might be anywhere from a company looking for branded content, a college marketing itself, or product advertising. As digital content evolves, video — like graphics, photography and copywriting — needs to be high quality.

1440 is the number of minutes in a day (“make each one count,” it says on the company’s About page). The number also has a deeper meaning to Pfeifer:

“Fourteen was my lacrosse number and 40 was my Dad’s,” he said. “Unfortunately, he passed away from lung cancer a few years back, so I always wanted something in there as a tribute to him. He was an amazing father, mentor and overall human being, and not a day goes by where I don’t think about him. When I went online to search if 1440 had any other meanings attached to it, it turned out that that’s the number of minuets in a day. I immediately fell in love with the concept of knowing that our time is limited so it’s best to make the most of it. I feel it’s one of things we all know deep down but lose sight of it in the day to day hustle.”

It’s not just talk, either.

“One big difference in my production company is that there is a social giving element built in to my business model,” he said. “A percentage of each project will go toward a fund that will annually tell one local nonprofit, cause, or persons’ story free of charge.”

One nonprofit film he’s done that is especially close to Pfeifer’s heart, he says, is “Keeping Families Close” for the Ronald McDonald House, which he made while at Short Order.

“This is what I’m really about,” he said.

1440’s most recent project was for Zip Code I/O (of the I/O Tech Fest). You can check it and other projects out in Pfeifer’s online portfolio.

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