Interview with Filmmaker Joel Primus (RAISING GLOBAL CITIZENS)

RAISING GLOBAL CITIZENS, 80min., Canada, Adventure Documentary
Directed by Joel Primus
A couple with two young children decide to embark on a year long journey across the world, travelling through Argentina, Colombia, The Yukon, Vietnam and Lebanon, in hopes of learning how parenting and world travel combine, and what it means to be a citizen of the world.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A storm of things came crashing down on my wife and I all at once. When we were living in New York and just had our second child. A news station had a special feature called, “The Year of Fear” and we were taken aback by this idea that based on what the media was selling, seeing the world and other cultures through loving, not fearful, eyes would be a choice…a choice learned through travel. I was already overwhelmed and stressed with work and when one of my best friends passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind two young daughters, we decided we were going to make this film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

The film really had two start dates. Prior to that moment I decisibed in New York in 2018, it was actually back in 2008, when I was about 23 years old, my brother and I saved up for a year and then set off to make a film about travel and not being fearful of so called “dangerous” countries. We travelled from Mexico to Peru mostly by bus and filmed the entire thing; however, we never ended up doing anything with the footage. So in one way or another this project has been in the works for nearly 15 years.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Travel Candy

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

This was my first film…so we had all the rookie producer/director mistakes! As this self financed, finding sponsors and putting together the funds to fly a family and a crew of two around the world was mini Mt. Everest. Ultimately, my wife and I used all our savings and then some to make it happen.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

That was the first time we’d had that experience! The girls and I sat down on the couch and just melted in the excitement and warmth of the kind words shared by the audience. Honestly, so much goes into these things, and of course you don’t get into every film festival or are accepted by every distribution company or agency, so it’s easy to doubt what you did as something that people really can really enjoy and get something out of…the audience feedback was heartfelt reminder that it was worth it!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

From the moment when my father first started taking us to the movies I knew I wanted to make films. That moment of anticipation before the movie starts to that well up of inspiration, sorrow, fear, hope…all of it…that a movie can make us feel. I knew I wanted to give that to people one day.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Casino Royale or Blood Diamond or Lost in Translation… one of those. I’m a notorious re-watcher of films I love.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Your festival was great! I think at the end of the day filmmakers just want to know how they can sell or distribute their films after. There is a lot of good information online but sometimes its nice to have a festival vouch or recommend a certain path or streamer or VOD..

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

So good! Its literally the easiest thing in the world! I wish all industries had a FilmFreeway

10. What is your favorite meal?

In the spirit of travel…bun cha or bun bo nam bo or banh xeo or all ’em together with a cold beer street side in Hanoi.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I’ve filmed a two part pilot for a series called Finding Nowhere ( ). In the show Ryan is an avid outdoorsman, who spent part of his childhood in a Yurt in the backwoods. Joel, his cousin, has lived in big cities most of his life. When Ryan invites Joel to leave the city life for a while and join him in the pursuit of rewilding, the pair set off on an adventure that spans the wild, diverse, magnificent and remote parts of British Columbia, Canada. The series explores themes of rewilding, survival education, wilderness and animal conservation, small town life, family and our history as humans who once lived off the land!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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