Aaron Douglas Johnston and Tim Skousen are two American film makers that came to Kuwait as part of the American Film Showcase. The U.S. Embassy worked with the two film makers to have a 5 day workshop benefiting Kuwaiti film makers. We had the privilege of meeting Aaron and Tim and this is what we found out.
First thing they mentioned was that Kuwait has a hunger for film making as 100 applications were sent in for their workshop, however as an intensive workshop they were able to accept 25 applicants only.
Aaron, whose background is in sociology and international studies, realized during his mid-20s that he, enjoyed researching communities and social phenomenons. Getting his hands dirty with real stories lead him to a career as an independent film maker, working with communities to produce narrative films. His short film “My sister’s Quinceanera”, which tells the story of a Mexican-American family living in Iowa, landed him his spot in the American Film Showcase.
Tim, on the other hand, is a narrative director he makes documentaries, as well as, commercials for a few household names. This is his sixth trip with the American Film Showcase. He sees a potential in Kuwait for film making, but it should start with people working together. By doing so, individuals will start to specialize, and that will lead to a better quality in the films they create.
One thing they truly agree on is that film making is a team sport, and that the community continues to work together. The equipment is available, the stories are available, by working together individuals can grow together. Their advice is to not try and imitate Hollywood, create personalized films about the experience of being Kuwaiti. Both Aaron and Tim, would love to come back again and have this workshop again.