Director Sébastien Paquet Talks "Wounded Warriors"
Mon, 25 Feb 2013 06:48:14
With Wounded Warriors starring Jonathan Davis of Korn aka "J Devil", filmmaker Sébastien Paquet takes audiences into the heart of the Ramstein Air Base in Germany guided by the legendary singer. The director captures true emotion in this intimate documentary. Not only that, he tells an unforgettable story. It's an potent piece, and it paves the way for more incredible work from Paquet.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, director Sébastien Paquet talks Wounded Warriors and so much more.
When did the initial idea for Wounded Warriors come about? It seems like it was very natural for you guys.
It all happened very naturally. Jonathan has always been interested in the military and their personnel since both of his grandfathers were in the military themselves. Over the past few years, he had developed a friendship with one of Korn's dedicated fans, MSgt Jocelin Borisow, the Installation Emergency Manager at Ramstein, AB in Germany. She initiated a visit of the base for Jonathan on Korn's European Tour in March of last year. As Korn's videographer and photographer, I tagged along and briefly documented the daylong visit. Jonathan got deeply touched by the heroism of the wounded soldiers that he met at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center that day, so touched that back in the US a few weeks later he started introducing the song "Got The Life" on stage every night with a lengthy speech about his visit to Ramstein (and other bases) and the US troops. It was clearly apparent that there was a story there. When Jonathan got invited back to Ramstein in August during Korn's summer European tour, I decided to go all out and let the cameras roll all day with the precious help of MSgt Borisow as the film's producer. There was no script. I wanted to capture everything documentary style.
Watch the Film Below
The soldiers don't get enough props. You really give them the spotlight here and shine a positive light on them. Was that part of the thought process?
There was no specific agenda per say behind the documentary, but I sincerely hope that this film helps people understand the many sacrifices that the military personnel have to make while serving their country.
What's your favorite moment of the film?
The lengthy conversation between Jonathan and Jeff Lodinsky at the end of the film is the highlight of the film for me. It was a very emotional moment for all of us in the room that day. I remember it like it was yesterday. The connection between these two individuals who had never met before was striking and Jeff's story was powerful and heartbreaking. After shooting that scene in the hospital, some of us were in tears. I remember laying against the wall in hallway trying to catch my breath. I was overwhelmed. We have kept in touch with Mr. Lodinsky and hope that our paths cross again, under better circumstances.
Was it difficult to balance the levity and fun of certain moments with the more emotional and really heart-wrenching fare?
As a filmmaker, I want to show and convey emotion through cinematography. It is every filmmaker's goal to express both emotions throughout one film. You have found the way to an audience's heart if you can make them laugh and cry within the same film. The day we spent on the base was a true emotional roller coaster and the film shows exactly that. In the editing room, we chose to structure the film exactly how it chronologically happened.
What was the most eye-opening part of the trip for you?
I am a strong believer in pacifism. Violence is foreign to me. Before working on this project, my brain would automatically associate the military with wars and violence, but since spending some time on the base, getting to know these true heroes who have put everything on the line to serve their country, I realized I could not be further from the truth. The nation's men and women in uniform are doing their job and doing what they're told. Today, I am proud to be a pacifist AND strong supporter of the troops.
Will you guys be going back?
We are in talks about potentially visiting Ramstein for the third time this summer during Korn's summer European Tour. Jonathan is very dedicated to supporting the troops in every way he can, so he often visits soldiers and bases around the world whenever his busy schedule permits.
What did you think of Wounded Warriors?
See Jonathan Davis talk Wounded Warriors here!
See Korn in our "Albums We Hope Change the Game" feature!
Jonathan Davis and Sebastien Photo Credit: Luke Schlink
Award Acceptance Photo Los Angeles Film School