Roaming Wild Discussion with Director Sylvia Johnson

Roaming Wild Discussion with Director Sylvia Johnson reviewed by Sara Grab


The director Sylvia Johnson from the new documentary Roaming Wild came to speak to our class. I was really looking forward to this presentation because I myself am working on my own documentary and was very fascinated to hear what her process was in making the film. The film-roaming wild is a modern day western concerning the Federal Government’s debated wild horse captures. A cowboy, an activist, and a mountain man are in search for a solution to defend the horses and their land.

This was Johnson’s second full-length features documentary. She has a huge love for horses and came across this issue awhile back. After discovering the horrible treatment of the wild horses Johnson felt compelled to bring awaness of this issue in hopes of helping the horses. Before this film I had no idea that there was over 50,000 wild horses in America. Sylvia primarily worked on the film by herself; she was the director, writer, cinematographer and one of the producers. It is very inspirational to hear that she was able to accomplish such an amazing film basically all on her own will.

Sylvia talked about interviewing people; she stressed the importance of creating a relationship between the people you and your interviews. She said you must gain their trust because you are the one filming them. She said its crucial to get to know your subjects before you actually start to film them. I thought this was interesting. Sylvia actually flew out and spent time with each person before she started filming him or her. Sylvia also reiterates the fact of time and how much time it takes to make a movie. She said however long you think it will take double that. Her film took over five years to make. 

Sylvia Johnson went to the University Of America in Washington D.C for film. She told us that going to film school helped her meet a lot of people and was a great introduction to the film world. Johnsons film truly inspires me and gives me hope in my own personal endeavors. I don’t feel as bad after hearing how long her film took about my own film because I realize this whole process takes awhile. This was a great opportunity to meet an up and coming filmmaker! I recommend her film to anyone who is interested in horses and America.

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