We're Maurice Barnes & Carrie Suntken, and we are the co-founders of Firefly Productions. Here are the answers to the most common questions we're asked about ourselves:
How long have you been working together?
We started Firefly in 2014, but we worked together once before in Batavia, Illinois (far west suburb of Chicago). Carrie was a head assistant manager for a new movie theater that was opening, and Maurice was the first person she called & arranged an interview for. Though both were promoted within the company several times, they always seemed to be working together on a project, and became fast friends.
Are you two married, dating...?
While we have been best friends for a couple of decades, it was only in the last few years that we realized we had something even more unique and wonderful between us. So yes, we are definitely a couple! Marriage will happen at some point; we just need to find a time in between all of the weddings we have scheduled!
Do you like capturing weddings?
We love it! While we do videography for schools, non-profits & businesses, 90% of our work is weddings. We have both been driven by the same thing: When we each got married many years ago, we each had a family member in charge of recording the ceremony & other important parts of the day. In Carrie's case, her brother & best man accidentally recorded over half the ceremony by trying to get cool shots of the limo. And Maurice got a bunch of footage that was incomplete & never made into anything special. Within a few years of both of our weddings, we had loved ones very close to us pass away. We're grateful for the pictures we have, but we would do anything to go back and have video footage; to be able to hear their voice and see them interacting is something that would be priceless to us. So, we are driven largely by our own regrets. Photographs are wonderful, but video is a very different thing. We believe that it's important to have both if possible.
Do you have any pets?
Maurice lost the puppy love of his life - his sweet Nym - a couple of years ago. She was an Australian/Shepherd mix, and was incredibly bright & loving. For 14 years she blessed his life. It's been hard to think about getting another dog, especially with our work schedule. We both love cats, and will likely get one or two of those in the near future. In the meantime, we have six community kitties that roam around in our yard, and we can often see them climbing trees or rolling around on the grass while we edit away at our desks. We have names for them all, and that keeps us pretty happy in the short term.
Are you originally from the Cincinnati area?
No & no. Maurice grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, spent a year in Michigan, and then moved to Cincinnati in 1999. Carrie...well, her story is more complicated. Carrie was born in California, but as a child lived in Iowa, Illinois, Washington, Texas, and Illinois (again). (And no, her dad was not in the military at that point, but he was a healthcare administrator.) Once she was out on her own, she lived in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio (in Cleveland). The first time she saw Cincinnati she fell in love with it, and was quite jealous of Maurice for many, many years. In late 2012, she finally moved to Cincinnati. They now happily live in their dream condo in Union, Kentucky, where they have no intention of ever leaving!
Maurice Barnes, co-owner, grew up in the far west suburbs of Chicago. He & his brother Michael spent their childhood writing & filming countless original stories with their Aunt's Super 8 camera. In late 1995, his love of film brought him to a career in the movie theater industry, where he spent most of his years in marketing & upper management. In his spare time, Maurice was still making creative magic, and in 1997, he & his brother created StarQuest Entertainment; they invited people to "Come Quest With Us" as they created animated & real life video shorts, online commercials, "old time" radio shows, and music videos.
Maurice moved to the Cincinnati area in 2000, where he & his brother continued to work together long distance when they could. It was at this time that Maurice found a new creative path & passion in telling the real stories of others. He started with weddings, capturing the fiery love & sweet glances of countless couples who wanted an affordable, yet professional, wedding video that captured the details & moments of their day. He then started receiving requests for other types of life events such as showers and graduations. Suddenly businesses were asking Maurice to come in & assist them in creating marketing & event videos. He realized that this was something that he wanted to dedicate his life to full time...this is where his long time friend, Carrie, came in.
Carrie Suntken, co-owner, spent her childhood moving around the U.S., including California, Illinois, Washington & Texas. To this day, the place she thinks of as "home" is her grandparents farm, snuggled in the hills of Eastern Iowa. She always had creative ambitions, especially when it came to music, writing & design.
Carrie spent many years as a marketing and operations director for various companies, including a large regional movie theater chain, a Minnesota ad/marketing agency, and a national healthcare consulting firm. In 2005, Carrie started filming & editing several videography projects on a wide range of topics for educational & marketing purposes. With the help of her younger brother Adam, she started creating personal video projects for family members, including a documentary about their father for his 60th birthday. She continued to live in various parts of the U.S., until she made a move to the Cincinnati area in 2012. After years of working for someone else, she decided to put her skills to use for herself. She started consulting for several businesses, including her brother's videography & production company, BSD Media, and began developing several creative projects that were historical/educational-based.
Maurice & Carrie come together: It was in Batavia, Illinois, in October 1995, that that Carrie met Maurice while working for the same movie theater company. They found out quickly that their work styles & values were similar; they made a very strong team. Over time, they developed a strong friendship that is now over 22 years strong. In late 2012, they found themselves in the same city again, and after many discussions the Firefly Productions partnership was born.
"Firefly" came out of their childhood memories, as the insects would often light up the Illinois and eastern Iowa night skies during summer. Just as many try to capture a firefly for it's unique glow, Maurice & Carrie made it their mission to "Capture your fire" - whether it be of a couple getting married, a person celebrating a landmark occasion, creative artists sharing their talents, or businesses wanting to reach out to potential & existing consumers. We work with each individual, couple, or organization to make sure that the end result tells your story.
Whether it's a person, group of people, an activity, an event, a special place, a company, a community...whatever it is that ignites your passion, Firefly Productions will Capture Your Fire! Please contact us to get started on your next event or project!
Maurice & Carrie at Chicago's Hancock observatory. The pic on the left was taken in 1997; the pic on the right was taken in 2018.