It’s 10 a.m. and I’m hanging outside a car window, camera in hand trying to get the shot as we make our way through dense traffic. Again. This time I’m in Bali, it’s hot and sticky outside, and for the first time in a while, I’m not getting paid to be here.
As a documentary filmmaker, I’ve been lucky to travel to some pretty exotic places while working on a diverse array of projects. I‘ve shot a street-racing film in Japan (lots of hanging out of car windows on that one), a travelogue through Turkey and the Middle East, a surf project in Nicaragua, and an artist profile in Guatemala. But this was the first time I traveled halfway around the world on my own dime because I believed in the cause.
I first met Krista Donaldson and D-Rev while working for my day job making inspirational documentaries for lynda.com. During our shoot, my partner Mia and I were so impressed and inspired by our time with her that, over dinner, I realized I wanted to get involved more. Over the years, I’ve learned from other great creatives that getting involved and donating your time to nonprofits or other causes is a great way to expose yourself to new things and get the reward of giving back. Yet I’d never taken that chance myself and I realized this was my time.
I reached out to Krista and D-Rev’s Operations Manager Nicole Rappin and offered my photography and video services. They were thrilled and connected me with PUSPADI-Bali, a partner doing clinical trials for D-Rev’s ReMotion knee joint. I was already travelling to Bali for a personal trip but extended my stay to take on this project as well.
ReMotion is technologically a really cool product with its own interesting story, but the real impact of any great product is determined by its users. When I arrived at PUSPADI and toured the facilities, I knew we needed to find someone to focus our story on, a lens to tell ReMotion’s story through. Thankfully we found the perfect person in Agung Putra. Agung had lost his left leg in a motorbike accident many years before (a common occurrence in developing economies) and was living as most amputees outside the Western world do: with a bulky, single-axle prosthetic knee. The polycentric design of ReMotion more closely resembles the natural knee and allows for a much greater range of motion and greater quality of life.
This is where hanging out the window comes in. I chose to tell Agung’s story through the small details of his daily life: making an offering at his home temple, riding his motorbike to work, walking around construction sites. All of these tasks highlight the importance of a polycentric knee like ReMotion, so I wedged myself through the window of the car, told Agung to do his thing, and we got the shots.
More than anything else, I love to make well-crafted things that are enjoyed by others. Krista and D-Rev made me realized that well-crafted things can create real change in the world and have large impact in people’s lives. I’m glad I could play a small role in helping to support their mission.
Scott Erickson is a filmmaker & photographer based in Southern California. A portfolio of his work can be found at www.scotterickson.is and we, at D-Rev, were very lucky to work with Scott.