On a recent trip down under we met an extraordinary gentleman.
At age 19, Dave Jacka took a bad turn on his motorcycle and went flying through the air. What happened to him was tragic and his life afterward was completely different and infinitely more challenging.
So we reached out to him to learn more, to find out what life is really like for a quadriplegic. What we learned through our emails, phone calls, and Skype chats—before we even arrived in Australia —shaped how we would tell his story.
Dave is a very down-to-earth guy who lives in a modest home. This is why during pre-production we decided to go in with a small crew and a simple-yet-honest approach, to give the viewer a genuine feel for who he is.
The opening scene sets up his background and challenge. To explain the extent of his injury we could have gotten shots of the hospital, or shown archival photos of Dave after his accident. Instead, we take the viewer to the unexpected: to Dave's bedroom where we witness him struggle as he strives for something we generally take for granted: the ability to get ourselves into bed.
Choosing to show this scene makes what he goes through daily painfully real, and the vulnerable moment brings the viewer deeper into his world, and his struggle.
From a cinematography standpoint we wanted a grittier feel to represent this struggle. We shot with a handheld, rather than a smooth dolly, to emphasize his challenge. This sequence was also held on screen considerably longer than what’s comfortable. You feel his daily struggle and how real it is. The length of the shots makes you want to reach out and help him, only you can’t—he’s on his own.
And although he is on his own, you won’t believe what he’s been able to accomplish. This is Dave Jacka's inspirational story of struggle and triumph.
Stillmotion discovered the story, developed the creative, produced, directed, shot, and edited this film. And what an incredible one it was.