Editor J.P. Damboragian of LVLY, the creative post production and content studio, recently edited a short film that was named a Vimeo Staff Pick. Titled “Wolakota,” the film juxtaposes our current envi-ronmental problems against the Lakota people’s way of life and their regard for nature. It’s racked up over a hundred thousand views since being uploaded to the video sharing site less than a month ago.

Damboragian has worked with the film’s co-director, Tim Sessler, before. This project began four years ago, when Sessler travelled to the Pine Ridge Reservation and shot extensive footage of Native Amer-ican rituals, as well as lengthy interviews with tribal elders. 

Last fall, Sessler teamed up with Brooklyn Aerials to shoot aerial footage of New York City, giving it an infrared, Ektachrome look. He had the idea of merging the footage together, using the content from the Pine Ridge shoots as a counterbalance to the dramatic, red-hued city scenes. He then turned eve-rything over to Damboragian to see what he could come up with; “Wolakota” is the result. 

“Tim gave me the general idea of what he was looking for – a visual statement that the earth is bleed-ing, and we can look to indigenous cultures to see how we can change,” the editor explains. The pair collaborated closely on the edit, he adds, with Sessler sourcing the music track that helps set an au-thentic tone for the film. It’s title sums up the theme of the film: “wolakota” is the word the Lakota people use to describe their sacred way of life. “It’s a strong metaphor for what we need to do today to address climate change,” says Damboragian. 

To view the film, go to https://vimeo.com/channels/staffpicks/315586873.

Wolakota” Credits
Director and Cinematographer: Tim Sessler
Edit: J.P. Damboragian, LVLY
Music: Bethan Kellough
Color: Kath Raisch at CO3
SFX: Defacto Sound
Gear Support: Brooklyn Aerials & Already Alive
Pine Ridge Unit:
Drone Camera Operator and Assistant: Ike ‘Wanbli Omani’ Miller
Additional Assistant: Vic Shoulders
NYC Portraits:
1st AC: Drew English
2nd AC: Stephan Hawk
NYC Aerials:
Helicopter and Shotover Support: Gotham Film Works
Aerial DP and Operator: Tim Sessler
Pilot: Steve Masi
Shotover Tech: Mike Isler and Jose Montanez