Saturday, March 5, 2011

6 Questions with Johnny Vong

1) You're volunteering to help as a production assistant on this shoot. How come?

Strange, lovely, impeccable timing. I was in Barbuda for Ngardy's wedding in January when she told me that this project was all ready to go... crew, money, everything was coming together. I was very happy and excited for her. When I returned to Toronto, I got the unfortunate news that I've been laid off from my full time job....After telling her my story, I simply asked if I could come along with her to Sierra Leone. I agreed to pay for everything including my plane ticket with whatever money I had saved up. We both agreed: I was crazy.

2) In two sentences tell us about yourself.

I am a filmmaker, photographer, devoted cinephile. I'm adventure-seeking, energetic and passionate.

3) How do you know Ngardy?

We met while working together at a small production company many years ago.

4) How are you preparing?

I am reading a lot about the people and history of Sierra Leone right now. There's a lot of emotional territory for me to explore, and I know this research will greatly inform the thematic ideas around the images I capture.

5) Any expectations of what you'll see and experience?
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the quality of life there is very low. I'm not expecting a holiday retreat. I'm expecting to experience first-hand what life in a country so recently ravaged by war, corruption and violence really feels like.

6) What do you intend to shoot?
We'll be shuttling back and forth between a quiet village and the busy city mayhem of Freetown. It's been ten years since the end of civil war, so it's an incredible opportunity to be able to capture the mood and atmosphere of a country rebuilding, with all its optimism as well as heartbreak. I will be using the images I capture from this project for a personal project...a kind of Chris Marker style film, a hybrid of narrative fiction and documentary, something kind of poetic, essayist or travelogue in form and genre.

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