On our upcoming 84th voyage, Peace Boat welcomes junior filmmaker Zion Rivera onboard to document the voyage. Zion is a PRO-TV Fellow, a program started by Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) in 1978 to provide positive creative outlets for youth to address issues that affect their lives and communities.
Zion is 19 years old and from Brownsville, Brooklyn. He started making films in 10th grade, and uses his filmmaking to illuminate issues that he is concerned with in his community. He enjoys gaming and sword fighting, and has always wanted to travel abroad. Zion is excited to learn about other’s world-views, and experience different cultures on his voyage on the Peace Boat.
We caught up with Zion to ask him a few questions and hear about his journey into filmmaking and his expectations about the Peace Boat journey ahead.
I became involved in film because of my girlfriend. She was the one who introduced me to DCTV. I observed what everyone was doing, attempting to learn without actually experiencing what the junior fellows were at the time.
2) What inspires you? What drives you to create?
It is only when I am at my worst when I can create. Otherwise, my approach to creating something may be a bit textbook or typical. What drives me to create is the need to do something different. My inspiration comes from anywhere. I don’t have anything specific that I draw my ideas from. I think keeping an open mind and listening to others has allowed me to film differently.
3) What is the most challenging part of being a filmmaker?
I think its a tie between writing the story and shooting the piece. Until one writes the story one cannot film and it is sometimes hard to come up with good ideas. Shooting is another issue because you cannot always predict what the weather is going to throw at you. Timing is always important and unless you have exclusive rights to a location, there may be more unknown variables that you have deal with.
4) What excites you most about your upcoming Peace Boat voyage?
The language barrier will provide the most excitement because it’ll challenge me to use what Spanish I have learned by that time. Considering that the majority of the people onboard may not speak English, I will get to understand how certain things such as friendship can transcend language and cultural barriers.
5) What do you hope to learn from your experience aboard Peace Boat?
As someone who in America is considered poor, I hope to learn about what poverty is like in other countries. More importantly, I am there to be exposed to other cultures and how other people view their own lives. Through interaction, I believe that I can learn more about their daily rituals and practices. I am aware of the fact that I am not going to a museum, but rather places where I can attempt to put myself in their shoes.