When not traveling to far-flung places to shoot the documentaries he's reknowned for, film maker Dustin Lynn calls NYC home. He's acclaimed for his cinematography and art direction work with musician Jack Johnson, as well as for his beautiful short films, such as "Tranquil Music," about the summery musical vibe in a pre 9/11 NYC, "The Half Way Tree," a tale of Jamaican surfing made with Dan Malloy, "Oxfam Make Trade Fair," documenting Minnie Driver's trip to Cambodia to raise awareness on sweat shop labor. Ever the observant adventurer, Dustin is now involved in the Adventure Ecology expedition series. (Cool Hunting has featured several artists that have shown at The Gallery run by Adventure Ecology in London here and here.) Dustin was invited by AE founder David de Rothschild to join the creative field mission team, whose members also include photographers Ollie Chanarin and Adam Broomberg of Chopped Liver and artist Gabriel Orozco. The Adventure Ecology Mission series, ARTiculate, aims to raise awareness of environmental issues around the world through creative media.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Dustin in Quito, Ecuador when the Adventure Ecology team visited last month for the Toxico Mission. We discussed how he got into film, his inspirations and the collaborative experience of the Adventure Ecology mission. You can find out more about Dustinâs work at Blachrome and see his reel here.
Dustin, how did you get into film making?
I bought a 16mm camera when I was 19 or so off eBay and I decided I wanted to start making films. I went to New York and made a short film, "Tranquil Music," about my brother who's a DJ in the city. It was the first film I ever made, it was about 10 minutes long. I looked on the internet for film festivals, I thought maybe I'd try and send it in, I really had no clue what I was doing. I found out later that I was loading the camera wrong the whole time! But, I got the film back and I couldn't believe it, it just looked great. It felt like I didn't even shoot it.
A natural, as they say!
Well, so I found the Tribeca film festival on the internet. It was the first one they were doing. I shot the movie a couple of weeks before 9/11âit was a really nice summer before that happened, beautiful things going on. We went to a lot of outdoor parties, with my brother deejaying, lots of really good vibes in the city, people dancing. There was a unity there that got destroyed after 9/11âit's different city now. The Tribeca film festival started up to rejuvenate that area, I sent the film in and before I knew it I was sitting across the table at lunch with De Niro and Scorcese.
Are you serious?
Yeah! My film opened the festival.
And Scorcese just called you up?
That must have been an interesting meeting?
It was! De Niro didn't say much. He would just smile and nod a lot, and I would smile and nod back.
And what was the next project after that? Did you work with Scorcese?
No, not yet!