Most students wait until after graduating to put mass amounts of time, effort and work into huge career building projects. For UVU senior Jonathan Martin, this is not the mold he’s going to follow.
Last summer, Martin took a small crew to Europe, Canada and across the U.S. to film a documentary short film titled I am From Nowhere: The People History Ignored, and now he’s in preproduction to start a feature-length film.
What makes his film unique is that Martin is the first person to make a documentary telling the history of the little known Lemko people. The title of the film is derived from a quote by Andy Warhol, who is of Lemko heritage. When asked where he was from, Warhol would answer, “I am from nowhere.”
Most people don’t know about the Lemko people or how the events of World Wars I and II shaped their history. During WWI, the Austrian government forced the Lemkos into concentration camps. Once they were released, the Ukrainian government claimed them as part of their own country, no longer possessing their own sovereign nation.
After WWII had ended, the Polish government sent their troops into Lemko villages, killing many and forcing the rest to relocate, scattering them all over the country. Their goal was to accomplish genocide of the Lemko people, tearing and keeping them all apart. This move by the Polish was called Action Wisla. “Nobody knows how many were killed. There are few photos from that time. It was kept very hush-hush. They did it quietly, like thieves in the night,” Martin explains.
Over half a century later, the Lemko people are finally starting to revive their culture and customs. “The film is about the reawakening of the people and the adoration of their heritage,” says Martin. “We traveled through several countries and spoke to many Lemko people, all of them very eager to speak about their difficult and ignored past.”
The ultimate goal of I Am From Nowhere is to get the European Union to recognize the Lemko as a people of their own, to obtain donation of Lemko community centers, and to encourage those responsible for the attacks on the Lemko people to apologize.
I Am From Nowhere is still in post-production, but hopes to be selected and featured in the indie film festival circuit next year.
Martin’s project, currently in preproduction, is at the other end of the spectrum from I Am From Nowhere. His new film, titled Dragon Slayers, is a comedy about a group of geeks who waste all of their time and money in the Provo comic book store Dragon’s Keep. When an unbelievable beautiful female geek moves into town and joins their fellowship, everything changes.
“Hilarity, evil Italians, grand-ma-ma, Chewbacca, a high-speed chase involving a Vespa and comedy ensue,” says Martin.
Along with several other UVU business students, Martin is currently raising money to film Dragon Slayers. They’ve already received over $10,000, and they hope to start shooting in spring.
For more info on Jonathan Martin’s current projects, visit www.bohemianindustries.net or contact him personally at [email protected]