Presenting Jonathan Sterkenburg, a psychology student and filmmaker who will be chronicling the 10th birthday of a young man living with a rare syndrome on 10.10.10. You can see more of Jonathan's work at:MUZIEKTELEVISIE.NL
Who are you and what is your profession? I'm Jonathan Sterkenburg, and I'm a psychology student at the Groningen University. I am not a filmmaker professionally, I just love to find how you can create a hidden way of looking by making films. Until now I did mostly nostalgic or serene cinematography without a story (however the first thing I made was sort of a short film), but I always loved documentaries on small hidden stories and that's like what I'm going to try now.
Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing? I lived my childhood in Cuzco, Peru as my parents were spreading the good news. I think lots of the colors and atmospheres that I love are coming from my memories of the grand landscapes and the street culture of the country. I spent the rest of my sad youth in Hilversum, Holland, the most beautiful city of the land, surrounded by woods, lakes and fields.
What inspired you to be a filmmaker? Realy, until I left Hilversum and started studying in Groningen I probably watched less movies than most people, since my parents didn't consider it a good way to spent your time. But I always had all kinds of visual poetry in my mind, without thinking to make it into a film, but just for my own enjoyment.
When I was 19 I started discovering how fantastic movies are, and also just the whole concept of a moving image on a screen. I got together with my good friend K. de Vries, found an SD mini dv camera, and started pretending we were really good. From the beginning it was the color process that interested me the most, to create an old Super 8 seventies look full of nostalgia. When I discovered Magic Bullet Looks and the 35mm Lensadapter it was like having found the meaning of life.
Who are your heroes? Wes Anderson, Andrei Tarkovsky (and all soviet cinema), Hayou Miyazaki, Akira Kurosawa (mostly just for Dersu Uzala), Wim Wenders, Donnie Darko, Yuriy Norshteyn, Sufjan Stevens, Meite U
What story do you want to tell on 10.10.10? I am going to film a boy - Vincent - who suffers from the rare Leigh syndrome, impairing sufficient energy distribution in his body. He cannot speak (because of muscle underdevelopment) and after just small efforts he needs a long rest. The official life expectancy for this condition is 10 years, on 10.10.10 he will be 10.
I will try to portray much of his normal life that day, and of course the birthday events. He also has a nephew who is blind and there's an unique connection between the two. I hope to capture that as well. There's a city run in Groningen and he is a VIP guest there on that day because the event supports an organization that does research on the syndrome.
Why is this important to you? No explanation needed I suppose.