Q&A With Sebastian Junger

Article: Q&A With Sebastian Junger

DreamStates: Sebastian Junger Animation by Cole Gerst

Sebastian Junger is busy on a book tour promoting his book WAR, now in paperback. The author and filmmaker took time from his busy schedule to chat with me about his Dreamstates episode, seen above.

How were you first approached to take part in DreamStates?

I was told about it by National Geographic. I thought it was a cool idea.

Did you collaborate at all with the illustrator? If so, in what ways?

No I did not. And I think he did a fantastic job! I absolutely loved what he created. It was such a cool experience watching my own dream portrayed visually. It was very cool.

Was there anything that he got 100% right, spot on?

Well I think the characterization of the expanding cartoon monsters was perfect. He really nailed it. It was really spot on.

You said this dream marked a time where you grew up. Have you had other dreams, like or unlike this one, that have repeated or have impacted you?

I mean every once in a while we all have dreams that are devastating. Nothing ever like that though. Nothing with a complete sense of doom and helplessness. It was really a classic midlife issue.

How old were you?

I was 46.

Dreaming with Sebastian Junger: Evil Bubble Monsters

Article: Dreaming with Sebastian Junger: Evil Bubble Monsters

DreamStates: Sebastian Junger Animation by Cole Gerst

Sebastian Junger is an American author, journalist, and documentarian, most famous for the best-selling book The Perfect Storm, his award-winning chronicle of the war in Afghanistan in the 2010 movie RESTREPO, and his 2010 book War. Restrepo won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Sebastian co-directed RESTREPO with photo journalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed while on assignment in Misrata, Libya in April 2010.

Sebastian’s dream story for our new web series DreamStates was quite intense. In his dream, he recalls how, while embedded with troops in Afghanistan, his “dream state and reality would often get blended together”. In this very profound dream – Sebastian and his “older brother” are being attacked by incredibly evil and violent “bubble monsters” that just keep coming and won’t stop – with no end in sight. Very scary stuff.

Sundance Channel teamed up with creative agency, Option-G, for the new collaborative animated video series, DreamStates. The series includes interviews with musicians Questlove (The Roots) and Mike Gordon (Phish), actor/comedian Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), actress Malin Akerman (WATCHMEN, COUPLES RETREAT) and writer/documentarian Sebastian Junger (THE PERFECT STORM/RESTREPO).

RESTREPO Director Dead in Libya

Article: RESTREPO Director Dead in Libya

Tim Hetherington (left) at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Photo credit: Getty Images. It was reported today that Oscar-nominated film director and acclaimed photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed while covering the front lines of the Libyan struggle. Hetherington was an inspiration to all of us at Sundance Channel and will be greatly missed. Read more at…

Sundance Film Festival follow up: RESTREPO

Article: Sundance Film Festival follow up: RESTREPO

The Korengal Valley is one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan, so dangerous, in fact, that it’s known amongst soldiers as “the deadliest place on Earth.” It’s also the setting of RESTREPO, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary on the Second US Platoon that was stationed there for 14-months between May…

Never meet your idol (unless his name is Elton John)

Article: Never meet your idol (unless his name is Elton John)

From left to right: Josh Sapan (Rainbow Media), Martin Katz (Prospero Pictures), Lynne Kirby (Sundance Channel), Sir Elton John, Evan Shapiro (IFC/SUN), Mala Chapple (Sundance Channel) Sarah Barnett (Sundance Channel) and David Furnish.

I usually have a rule: If you love someone’s work NEVER meet them. Seriously – I’ve suffered too many disappointments over the years. And really – if you know someone’s a walking septic tank – how can you enjoy their work afterwards? It’s like Pearl Cleage wrote in Mad At Miles, “How can you celebrate a genius in the face of a monster?” But this week has proven the rule wrong. Twice. First Danny, now Elton John.

Last night, Rainbow Media and the Sundance Channel held a big dinner at the Stein Erickson Lodge and my Tiny Dancer was there (he executive produced SPECTACLE ELVIS COSTELLO WITH… along with David Furnish) with hubby David Furnish – who once came to my 30th birthday party with Cornelia Guest at the Sunset Tower. He didn’t remember, but who cares? I got the pics to prove it!

No good happens after 1 a.m.

Article: No good happens after 1 a.m.

Repeat after me: no good happens after 1 a.m. WHEN WILL I LEARN??? I pinched a nerve so badly I can’t turn my neck. At all. I look like one of those freaky wooden dolls where you push a lever and their bodies and necks turn with their heads while the lips move. I am creeping myself out. That and I have a zit. Which pisses me off as my mother told me when I was 14 that I’d stop getting zits when I turned 18. But then again she also told me I could get pregnant by sitting on an unprotected toilet seat, so there you go.

RESTREPO, how’s this for an opening salvo?

Article: RESTREPO, how’s this for an opening salvo?

Still from RESTREPO.

How’s this for an opening salvo? RESTREPO, the first documentary to screen at Sundance 2010, kicks off with a grunt’s-eye view of being caught in a roadside-bomb explosion, and only gets more intense from there. In 2007 and 2008, journalist Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington made 10 trips to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, a six-mile corridor near the Pakistan border, at the time the focal point of the fighting between U.S. forces and the Taliban. A raw, often harrowing piece of frontline reportage, the film uses post-facto interviews with the soldiers to orient the viewers, but mostly, it opts for disorientation — for the surreal ground-level experience of combat, alternating between restless downtime and confusing firefights.