Meet the Filmmaker: Louis Amon Josek – Out Deh – The Youth of Jamaica
Originally from Cologne, Germany, Louis spent several years working on multiple film productions as a DOP, before finally finding his role as a director and developing his artistry, which is beyond mainstream: young, fresh and intimate.
Out Deh is his debut film, portraying the quest of the youth of Jamaica and a profound cultural change on this little Caribbean island. It is not only a documentary on the struggles and first steps of a new generation, but also a first step for the director himself to leave his trace on the ground of artistic cinema.
We recently had an opportunity to interview Louis about his experiences in making Out Deh, and here is what we learned.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about the film?
Out Deh started 5 years ago while visiting Jamaica for the first time and getting welcomed by a young generation of Jamaicans, determined to get out of old and set structures in society and culture. Young people with a belief in themselves that I had never experienced before. We came from totally different backgrounds but were within the same generation. The resulting mutual understanding was the base of our documentary and the starting point of this unforgettable journey that brought us here.
What was your biggest inspiration to make this film/How did you get involved or attached to the project?
My biggest inspiration were our three main characters of the movie – Shama, Daniel and Romar. Their courage made me believe in my own dreams too. With this movie we want to build respect and compassion for young people who follow their visions with courage and commitment.
What does a film festival like Byron Bay Film Festival mean to you and your work?
Even though the small island of Jamaica seems to be far away – this story is not. We want the message of this movie to get seen by people around the world and without festivals like Byron Bay International Film Festival we could never achieve that. To build the movement of this movie with each selection means a lot to us and we are proud to continue this journey together with BBFF.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to future independent filmmakers?
Don’t try to obsessively hold on to your original treatment. Be open for the process and feel free to react to new situations while still trying to keep control of your story.
What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process?
Out Deh is my debut film. Being confronted with the situation where I had to learn “filmmaking” with each step of the process was probably the hardest part and present from the beginning until now. The optimism of our three main characters in the movie helped me a lot during this process and made me believe that it was possible at all.
Any upcoming projects for you, your team or key creatives involved in your film?
Out Deh is a portrait of the beginning and will continue to follow this generation for sure. We aren’t finished with our journey yet and still curious where this will lead us next. “If the journey keeps on presenting itself, I guess you have to keep going with it.” – Daniel Simpson, Kingston.
What drives you as a filmmaker?
In a way this film is also my personal creative space in which I express my own searching as a young man. My own natural desire to put my block too.
Anything interesting or unique about the filmmaking process for this film, any hiccups along the way, any happy coincidences that changed the films direction?
We always had one clear direction of the movie but never knew how far it would take us. We started in Jamaica and in the end found ourselves on the island of Hawaii and Japan accompanying our characters while their dreams came true. This was a very special moment in the filmmaking process.
Is anything else you would like to share?
I am proud of Elishama who became one of the first professional surfers of Jamaica, of Daniel who added a new sound to the Jamaican culture, and of the courage of Romar who meanwhile became a father after having lost his family in the ghetto of Tivoli Garden. Of everybody who has accompanied us and contributed to this journey so far. Thank you.