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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord to Put Focus on Nation’s National Parks

Hitrecord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s production company-cum-freeform open collaborative art community, has produced one feature film as well as a number of short films, a TV show, story collections and albums, and now it’s taking the show to an appropriately fertile new environment: a national park.

Or rather, all the country’s national parks. To mark the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial campaign, dubbed “Find Your Park,” the multihyphenate is partnering with the org to create a number of crowdsourced art projects celebrating the country’s protected wild regions. Gordon-Levitt will put the pitch to his fellow collaborators in a video prompt, and from there, the HitRecord community will be let loose to throw out ideas, create content, and freely edit one another until they’ve produced enough art for the foundation to display next year.

Dan Doperalski for Variety

“I always find that the best direction I give comes from participation,” Gordon-Levitt says. So if someone writes a story about a national park, I might rewrite it, or I might make a request video — ‘I think this is great, but it needs more of this, or let’s think of alternate endings.’ Or it may be that someone will write a great piece, I’ll record it as a voiceover, and it’ll be the spine of a short film that someone else makes. It can take any number of shapes.”

Gordon-Levitt says that the NPS has left the project open to experimentation.

“I like that our community makes short films and music, writing, books, photography, animation, documentaries — all approaches are welcome.”

This is HitRecord’s second partnership with a nonprofit — in 2012, the group produced a voting-rights cartoon for the American Civil Liberties Union — but it’s certainly the widest-ranging collaboration HitRecord has entered into. For the actor, who notes that he grew up frequenting Yosemite National Park and Big Sur on family camping trips, the project has personal appeal as well.

“I think it’s wonderful that for 100 years, these places have been preserved. Without it, they’d probably be apartment complexes and shopping malls,” Gordon-Levitt says. “Why not celebrate it by making great art?”

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