A life-long ambition

19 Dec 2016 / 19:19 H.

THE short experimental film, Crude, under the direction of Sion Ribeiro Joseph, has been making waves at various international film festivals.
The film blends the issues of the destruction of the environment in the hands of the human race and the oppression of women together in one story.
Creatively and artistically produced, it’s no wonder that Crude has garnered several international awards, including best experimental film from the São Paulo Times Film Festival in Brazil and best producer award for Ribeiro Joseph from the TMC London film festival in the UK.
The 24-year-old director was in Malaysia recently for a visit. In an interview, he spoke of his passion for his craft.
“I had wanted to be a filmmaker since I was six years old,” said Ribeiro Joseph, who loves the idea of spending the rest of his life making up stories.
“There is nothing more rewarding for a filmmaker than to see his audience become completely oblivious to the world and problems around them, and get totally absorbed in your film.”
Ribeiro Joseph was born in Wales in the town of Pontypridd. His parents are both teachers. At the age of 11, he followed his parents to Qatar in the Middle East where they were offered a teaching position.
In 2013, at the age of 19, Ribeiro Joseph took a bold step to realise his dream of becoming a filmmaker by moving to the US to study filmmaking at the New York Film Academy.
After getting his diploma, he moved to Los Angeles in California, the mecca for filmmakers. Since then, he has been actively making short films, documentaries and music videos.
One of the more prominent music videos he directed was for Grammy-nominated singer Shanice Wilson and her song, Gotta Blame Me.
One of his documentaries is called Growing Up as Expat that follows the lives of a group of young expatriates living in a completely new environment and culture in Qatar. The documentary had been screened at several international film festivals.
Ribeiro Joseph’s next project is to make his first feature film. Prime will centre on a protagonist set on saving the innocent people caught in a war between two nations.
“Whenever there is a war, it is the civilians that suffer the most,” he said.
Ribeiro Joseph also wants to make an action film with a strong human element. “Action films are not just about one guy beating up another guy,” he said.
He is fully aware that the competition in Hollywood is tough and that making his dream a reality is not going to be an easy affair.
“Even if I am homeless, I will still be making short films,” he added. “I get depressed when I am not making films.”
When he has the time, Ribeiro Joseph will be indulging in his second passion, which is travelling. He has been to scores of places in most parts of the world except Africa and South America.
“When you travel, you experience the world from a different point of view,” he said. “I put what I experienced from my travels into my films.”
When asked to recall one interesting experience in his travels, he said: “It happened in Phuket, Thailand, last year. I got a chance to enter a cage with three tame tigers. I managed to film those tigers.”
His current visit to Malaysia is his third. “You have the most beautiful sunsets I have seen,” he exclaimed.
He recalled one memorable moment in Kuala Lumpur when he bumped into a young Malaysian who, like him, harboured dreams of becoming a filmmaker.
“He started asking me pointers on [filmmaking] and I was glad to share my views,” said Ribeiro Joseph.
“Some people have the impression that filmmaking is intimidating. But once you take the filmmaking away from the pedestal, you will understand anyone can make a film. All you need is a good story.”
Ribeiro Joseph pointed out that one does not need expensive fancy cameras to make a film today.
He cited the example of the 2015 American comedy drama Tangerine where the entire film was shot using just three iPhone 5 smartphones. The film turned out to be a huge success at the Sundance Film Festival.
His advice to budding filmmakers: don’t be afraid of failures and hard work.
“As a filmmaker, you are sure to mess up. You are going to make some bad films in your career. I have made some terrible short films.
“The likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg do not happen overnight. They worked hard to be where they are today.”


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