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Sean Clauson

Extraordinary Filmmaking

Filmmaking services, from conception to completion and everything in between.

 

©2014 Clauson Films


Ronald funded my first film



Onward

My work brings me in contact with substantial amounts of suffering, death, and injustice. On my screen, I view footage of a dehydrated man writhing in pain upon a dirty mattress. Hanging from a nail above his bed, I spy a culprit in his impending death, an IV-bag that will remain empty and unattended for too long, a mistake with lethal ramifications. It's a moral dilemma to film such misery, troubling ethical and cultural issues percolate, especially in developing world setting, but how else are such stories to be told?


And more pressing issues persist: the man dying on my screen was too poor to purchase Rwanda's $2/year national health insurance coverage and so the clinic staff dawdles on transferring him to the regional hospital until it is too late - a decision and cause of death entirely unremarkable in Rwanda, and yet to those of us peering at our computer screens half a world away it is deeply troubling.


My work has led, as well, to many profound moments of joyful recovery, to innumerable celebrations of life’s intrinsic pleasures, and to perpetual awe at the irrepressible beautify of Mother Nature. Ours is a planet interwoven with too much magnificence and misery and it is at the crossroads of these conditions that I find myself focused upon stories that need to be told.

 

            Beginning


Third of six kids, I set off upon my filmmaking path early in life by documenting the silliness of my siblings. Whenever an old chicken coop or garage needed tearing down or a new fort needed erecting or fireworks needed firing, I would be there to film the inevitable mayhem.


Later in life, urged by a professor to “follow my passion” and “do as an adult what I loved doing as a child”, I veered from a focus on literature and liberal arts and pursued a degree in Film and Television Production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.


After University, upon entering the film world, I sought any job that would keep me on a film set, rotating regularly between working as an assistant director, soundman, cinematographer, editor, and producer, happily jumping from one production to the next for many years.


Then, one day, McDonalds hired me for 5-months of sound and editing work on a national ‘Road Trip Live’ advertising campaign (these were pre-Fast Food Nation days!) and thereafter I applied my earnings toward my first ever major solo project, flying off for two non-stop years of documentary filmmaking in Central Africa to capture the story of my sister’s efforts to rebuild a pair of health clinics in a war-torn corner of Rwanda.

Eating with Rwandan friends

            Evolution


Since Rwanda, my focus has lingered upon broken things that need fixing. Whether these be impoverished health clinics in Rwanda or regions of Sudan devoid of medical facilities or the overwhelming horrors of Haiti, my eyes and camera are increasingly drawn toward efforts to mend broken places and broken people.


The resurrection of a dilapidated church into a vibrant community center, the supplying of clean water to a population suffering from waterborne parasites, the struggle to save a child dying from cerebral malaria, these are the stories that make me want to tell stories.


My sound mixing work, as well, follows similar veins with recent projects focusing on female war vets battling PTSD, Bronx teens pursuing educations while fighting cycles of poverty and violence, and impoverished patients in India and South Africa struggling to save themselves from multi-drug-resistant Tuberculosis. These are stories that must be told.

Tuberculosis shoot in India