In 2022, I finally had the opportunity to attend AfrikaBurn and put together this short film. After attending my first Burn back in 2011, I became fascinated with Burner culture. I had no idea that there were other regional Burning Man events all around the world. I had heard that AfrikaBurn is what Burning Man was 10 years ago: smaller and more intimate, but with the same wacky people, creativity, and randomness.
For many years it simply did not make sense for me to travel all the way to South Africa. It is a pretty expensive destination to get to, and I was busy backpacking cheaper destinations, and then focusing on my career. Finally in 2020, it was time. I had the AfrikaBurn ticket and flight all ready to go. But then just a mere month before, the whole world shut down due to COVID and the event was cancelled.
Two years later the world reopened. This trip was my top priority. I had ideas for this film brewing in my head since long before, but it was time to start seriously thinking about how I would make it happen. I spent months preparing the soundtrack and a rough storyboard. I planned to take my smaller mirrorless camera (Sony a6000) on the trip because I would be traveling for quite some time afterwards, and I had never shot video with this camera before. A week before departure I decided I needed a gimbal, ordered one, and tried to learn how to use it within a few days. I went into the festival feeling a bit unprepared creatively, but time was running out and I did the best I could.
Filming at the festival itself was difficult. I always find it extremely difficult to balance being present and experiencing the event behind a lens. As a photographer as well, it is also difficult balancing photography and videography. Although the event is a week long, time goes by so quick. Before you know it, it's almost done and you are doubting that you've captured enough to work with.
I made many mistakes... batteries running out during golden hour, bringing a camera that is absolute shit in low light, not filming enough of the types of shots I really wanted, etc. And these all really made me nervous to begin editing this project afterwards. I'd experienced failure before. There have been many other events in which I planned to create a short film and left unable too. I really did not want that to happen here but upon reviewing my footage I feared that I had dropped the ball.
I traveled for a few month afterwards and finally begun editing once I returned home. Although I was nervous to start, editing this project turned out to be simply delightful. I had not worked on a personal project for years. I had not felt the reason I wanted to become a video editor in the first place, in a long time. It brought me back to when I was just a teenager, staying up all night and spending hours on end editing random videos of me and my friends.
I love video editing and I was reminded that it still is my passion. I've worked as a video editor professionally for many years now, and although I love my job, work is still work. But, "Our best work is the work we find ourselves doing when there is no obligation to do so." I truly feel this AfrikaBurn film is one of my best pieces of work to date. It's very rewarding to watch my Burning Man video from my first Burn to see how far I've come.
I hope this film gives a glimpse of what AfrikaBurn is all about and the emotions that go along with it. It is a truly an amazing experience.