Film Making For Fiji

This week, I would like to introduce you to American filmmakers Tim Skousen and Aaron Johnston – who have been visiting Fiji and carrying out a series of workshops across
31 May 2015 10:25
Film Making For Fiji
From left: Aaron Johnston, Ajay Bhai Amrit, Eric Aldrich and Tim Skousen.

This week, I would like to introduce you to American filmmakers Tim Skousen and Aaron Johnston – who have been visiting Fiji and carrying out a series of workshops across the nation, inspiring students and media professionals alike.

Their journey started when the Embassy of the United States in Suva, in conjunction with the American Film Showcase, arranged for these two award-winning independent film makers to venture to our shores and impart their knowledge with our young and very enthusiastic scholars.

Over their two-week stay Tim and Aaron managed to fit in visits to media professionals and 16 high schools, where they carried out very intense film making workshops – sometimes working up to 19 hours a day to prepare and cram information they felt would be needed for their classes.

The classes for students were carried out to better prepare them for the upcoming HFC Kula Awards, which is scheduled to begin in July of this year.

Interestingly, both film makers did not start out life with the intention of going into this industry.

In fact both were studying in university and took a course in film making and were immediately consumed by this profession and, through their passion and dedication, decided to make a living out of it.

Tim and Aaron are independent film makers and some of their films are showcased at very popular independent film festivals around the world. Being independent film makers gives them the licence to express their own talent of storytelling and transport it onto the big screen.

It is a huge industry in America and its soul is based on taking nothing and making something.

The obvious question anyone would ask a person in the film industry is what is there a favourite film and without any doubt Tim and Aaron’s answer is one of the all-time Hollywood classic films – The Shawshank Redemption.

This film is as good as it gets in storytelling and cinema photography. It is superbly put together and is a timeless classic. Anyone who has not seen this masterpiece must put this on their bucket list as a must-see movie.

In regards to their Fiji experience the film makers noted how all the students were so talented musically and in dance.

In addition they were most impressed with the enthusiasm and passion of the students for all things to do with film making.

Finally, Tim and Aaron were blown away with the ability of the students story telling – which is a must for anyone wanting to be an aspiring film maker.

Both film makers have recent films, firstly Aaron has his independent film “My Sister’s Quinceanera” which is currently showing at many film festivals and can be seen at the upcoming Fiji Film Festival in July.

I have been a judge at two of the Fiji Film Festivals and must say that the standard of international and independent films is very impressive indeed and getting better all the time.

Tim has a new independent film coming out shortly called “Raiders” and will be available to view in the future.

It is very heartwarming when skilled people like this give up their valuable time and part with their knowledge to youths and media professionals in our nation.

My final question to both gentlemen was what did they hope to gain from their visit?

Tim answered, “I hope that through our many workshops and seminars we have managed to inspire young film makers to be Fiji’s next Steven Spielberg.”

Choice words indeed from people who have come to Fiji to make a difference.

–  The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback:  ajayamrit@hotmail.com


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