Jonathan Sawyer

For over 36 years, Jonathan Sawyer has been providing people with creative solutions through his work as a producer, director, editing, cinematographer, and screenwriter. Jonathan is the dynamic CEO and Owner of Vox Visuals - a leading nonprofit media production company in Central Florida. With his exceptional skills and passion for storytelling, Jonathan has successfully produced award-winning projects that have been recognized in film festivals worldwide.

As he continues to pave his way as a prominent producer and director in the industry, there are countless exciting projects on the horizon that will showcase his talents and further establish him as a masterful filmmaker. With Vox Visuals, Jonathan is changing the landscape of media production in Central Florida and beyond. With a diverse skill-set encompassing directing, editing, cinematography and producing, Jonathan has established himself as a versatile force in the film industry. His passion for storytelling is evident in his exceptional work that captures authentic narratives and leaves a lasting impact on audiences worldwide. Specializing in documentary film-making, he constantly pushes boundaries and challenges perspectives with innovative techniques and precision. With an innovative approach and unwavering drive, Jonathan constantly pushes boundaries and challenges perspectives in the world of visual storytelling.
Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
I have submitted two 
films, a Concept Trailer for upcoming movie, Remember, and the second film is a documentary, I Am This Dark World’s Light. The documentary is about suicide prevention and awareness.

I Am This Dark World's Light is a powerful documentary that will bring people out of the 
darkness and into the light. Through this film, we will explore the struggles of those who suffer from suicidal thoughts every day and provide them with ways to cope and help them deal with their thoughts. We hope this documentary will be a beacon of hope for those who feel like they are alone and don’t know how to move forward. We want to show people that they can come out of the darkness and into the light.

The upcoming movie, Remember, is about a pastor who has faced the end of his rope and faces to commit suicide. This movie is an inspiring story about Pastor Bruce who, like many of us, faces feelings of abandonment and hopelessness. With the world's misery weighing heavily on his shoulders, he finds himself at the end of his rope. But then Isaiah Owens arrives with a message of hope in his darkest hour. By reminding us that we're never truly alone and there's always hope, this movie offers a powerful reminder to never give up even when times seem tough. Remember!
What are your ambitions with your project?
My goal with I Am This Dark World's Light is 
to shed light on the heavy topic of suicide and bring hope to those who may feel trapped in its darkness. Through intimate stories and powerful interviews, this documentary aims to bring awareness to the struggles individuals face daily with suicidal thoughts and attempts. By sharing these stories, I hope to inspire others to seek help and see the light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. We can spread a message of hope and support for those battling with their mental health.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
This documentary, I 
Am This Dark World’s Light, took me a year for producing, from development, script writing, pre-production, production, post-production. Once we got into the shooting, it took 3 months for bringing all of the people interviews and “B” roll. Took a long time because everyone had their own schedules and everyone couldn’t be hired to be at one location as actors for interviews. What pleasantly surprised me was the shooting. I had a great crew. This film is very serious subject matter and during all of the interviews, you hear about their stories about suicide attempts and they would be in tears. The crew was great for working with this subject matter. Very professional on the set.
For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
Anyone who have struggled with suicidal thoughts every day. Loved ones who struggle with the pain from spouse, son, daughter, family member, that have taken their life. This documentary would help them to understand, find the hope, talk about, for this issue.

Why should distributors buy your film?
To spread this documentary to public view and talk about this topic, suicide prevention. All across the United States, many people, young and adult, contemplate of suicide during this current world.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
Imagine a world where suicide is no longer a taboo topic, and those struggling with thoughts of ending their own lives have newfound hope. Our documentary, I Am This Dark World's Light, shines a light on the social issue of suicide and brings awareness to the millions who suffer in silence. Through powerful storytelling and real-life accounts, we strive to spark conversation and inspire change. There is hope. You are not alone.

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
I am now 54 years old. When I was 8 years old, my parents picked me up from elementary school and wanted to take us all (our whole family) to watch a brand new movie. This was in 1977. The movie, Star Wars: A New Hope. It was at the end of the movie when the “Death Star” exploded, the audience stood up cheering and clapping. I was in shock from seeing all of the people in the movie auditorium cheering about this. Amazed that this could generate powerful emotions from a story on the screen.

Who is your role model?
Throughout my life I’ve watched many movies of directors, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Stanley Kramer, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, and many more directors. I guess there would be two directors that’s my role model, Stanley Kramer and Ridley Scott. Stanley Kramer for his artistic vision in his movies and impacting the entire conscience world by bringing attention to topical social issues. His movies really impacted me as a young teenager about nuclear war, effects of fascism, creationism and evolution, and racism. Ridley Scott for his vision, from science fiction, crime, and historical drama. I’ve studied many of his films, both personally and when I was in film school. Using his television designer style and using advertising to direct television commercials he understands how to make a great film throughout the world. My father worked over 45 years in advertising world, I learned about advertising as well. I too worked with my father in his advertising agency. For me, I feel a very strong connection with Ridley Scott because of my advertising background and movies.

Which movies are your favorites?
Alien, 1979. This is my favorite movie and the best science fiction horror movie of all time. It’s for the production design of this film and for the directing. We hardly see the whole thing of the alien creature until the ending. We see parts of the creature, the mouth, or a little of the head, or the creature’s hands, or shadows. This is how to create suspense and horror. Alien is designed as a surrealistic world (planet) with a surrealistic creature, but also a beautiful piece of art, by H.R. Giger. This definitely draws the attention to viewers. For me, Alien is darn near a perfect movie.
Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
For my film, I Am This Dark World’s 
Light, gives inspiration from my personal experiences and from my family. My middle brother, killed himself. I am the youngest in my immediate family and I have two other brothers, oldest (Rick), middle (David), and youngest (me, Jonathan). David took his life on Thanksgiving Day 2022. This is my inspiration for this documentary, I Am This Dark World’s Light, about suicide prevention.

Which topics interest you the most?
I delve into themes that deeply resonate with me, such as 
human connections and personal growth, or drawing inspiration from current social issues and historical events. I love science fiction stories, crime stories, topical social issue stories, and historical stories. These topics strongly interest me for directing a movie.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
Oh. That’s hard. I started 
professionally in the entertainment industry as production assistant on feature films in central Florida in 1990. I moved up from a set PA to grip and electrician (working with movie lights) on Hollywood feature films. I would say, right now, the greatest achievement is my strong documentary. I’ve directed many documentaries, television commercials, music videos, concerts, short films, etc. But producing, directing, and editing this documentary took me a little more over a year, from concept, develop script, pre-production, production, post-production, and now on film festivals circuit, to complete. This is a moving and impactful portrayal of the important issue of suicide prevention. Through the eyes of those who have faced or are currently facing suicidal thoughts, as the director, I had the privilege of working closely with individuals who bravely shared their stories through tears and raw emotion on our set. Producing this documentary film is my greatest achievement in my career, currently.

What do you consider most important about filming?
All aspects of making a film is 
essential. All of them, writing, actors, sound, cinematography, production design, music, editing, costume design, etc. But if I consider the most important about filming would have to be directing. The director oversees all of these aspects during pre-production, production, and post-production. Directing is the most important, since the film is essentially his or her vision as they oversees all.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
A sideways tracking shot is a 
strong technique for following movement of the characters in scenes. I love this technique. It definitely is a classic technique and has used all over the history of cinema. But for me, the scene that is happening around the main subjects is the key. As the camera follows the subjects sideways tracking, what is all going on with extras between camera and subjects and behind the subjects. All of the manner of objects in the frame will enhance the frame for the audience.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Current filmmaking is 
a thriving industry, and for me, it represents a powerful opportunity to create meaningful and impactful stories. As a passionate filmmaker with a strong vision, I am driven to push boundaries and showcase the diverse perspectives of our world. With my technical skills and creative flair, I am ready to bring dynamic and compelling narratives to life on screen.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
For me, some films will be revised for questionable 
scenes just based on contemporary sensitivities. As a film director and producer, I believe that certain films should not be altered to cater to current sensitivities. These films hold historical significance and are part of our heritage. It is important to respect the context in which they were created and understand the societal norms of that time period. By revising these films, we risk erasing an important aspect of our history. Let's preserve these works of art as they are, while also acknowledging their place in our evolving cultural landscape..

Who supports you in your film career?
I have been creating thought-provoking films that 
address topical social issues, science fiction and historical drama. Through my work, I hope to spark important conversations and shed light on important topics that impact our society. My immediate family has been my biggest support system throughout my journey in filmmaking, and I am grateful for their unwavering encouragement. My friends have also played a significant role in shaping my perspective and inspiring me to create meaningful stories. But it is not just those close to me who have been impacted by my films – I have also had the opportunity to connect with a wider audience through my career. From film festivals to online platforms, I have seen how these stories have resonated with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and ages. Through my films, I strive to make a positive impact and encourage change in our society.