We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christopher, how does your business help the community?
Filmic storytelling is what I relate to most and has been the focus of my career. The stories we tell and the films we create as a society seem to be both a reflection and projection of our collective, mirroring the themes, joys, and tensions of the day, and have a great impact on the way we move through our lives.

In terms of the ‘social impact’ my most recent story, the documentary/narrative feature film hybrid Journey to Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission, may have on the community or the world isn’t something I could or would be presumptuous enough to posit outright. It’s a film that tells the story of my great uncle, Royal Stratton, a WWII rescue pilot with the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron, who leads a mission to save the lives of nine downed airmen adrift in perilous waters of a war-torn South Pacific. The film revolves around themes of self-sacrifice in the service of saving lives and intersects with pivotal turning points of the war. The veterans in the story have only their wits, skill, and fortitude upon which to rely in order to survive.

In a micro vs. macro sense I can say that: In the micro and the making of the picture, there seemed to be a healing quality in the veterans sharing stories of their service. Perhaps even an unburdening, in some sense, as their extended family heard, for the first time, details from the pinnacle of the Greatest Generation’s endeavor to right the world during WWII and how their family member participated in that virtuous effort. In the macro, the veterans imbue the film with a courageous kind of vitality and mettle that demonstrate what it takes to face overwhelming challenges and survive. Given the crisis we’re facing across the globe now, perhaps their example and ability to overcome through unity and common purpose could be viewed as an example for us as we strive to overcome our modern, collective global challenge manifest in the pandemic. In that sense, as with all stories that aspire to have some kind of social impact through examination of the universal themes present in life immemorial, my hope is that Journey to Royal serves to inspire and inculcate a sense of hope and possibility for better days ahead.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m very excited to see how audiences receive the film. It’s the culmination of a life spent aspiring to better tell stories and communicate more effectively. The film itself is a microcosm of that endeavor reflected in the collaborative efforts of many. Even though that is obvious intellectually, the wrangling of vast and varied disciplines in harsh and demanding environments to cohesively bring a story to life is never something to be taken for granted. It requires constant growth, vigilance, and calibration.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them flying. There’s so much to see and do here in Southern California that it can be a bit overwhelming, so I would start with an early snack at the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant (when the pandemic is safely behind us), charter a small plane and spend a few hours enjoying the sights from the sky. A nice dinner at Something Vegan in Toluca Lake and a drive up through Malibu on the PCH as the sun heads toward the horizon, windows down, catching up on old times… that sounds ideal to me. On an entirely different note, a boat trip to Catalina, a little zip lining and golf, either regular or miniature, with an ocean view also sound like lovely ways to adventure together! And finally, an afternoon/evening of dinner and California wine aboard the Queen Mary to round out the week and get a little of that 1940s vibe. California is like a force of nature and it deserves to be experienced… in the air, on the sea, and in your glass. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This story and shout-out is dedicated to a few groups: The first – members of the Greatest Generation, veterans, and the women and men who continue to serve today. The openness, grace, and humility we’ve encountered making Journey to Royal: A WWII Rescue Mission by those who have, in some cases, experienced hell on earth and come out the other side still able to smile, carry on, and make the world a better place, is among the most life-affirming qualities I’ve experienced. The heart of this story is comprised of the veterans – and all that it has to offer rests on their capable shoulders.

The second – my exceptional production partner, producer Mariana Tosca, p.g.a. (www.mtosca.com), without whom the depth and breadth of this picture would not exist. Journey to Royal has required an almost incalculable amount of heavy lifting to bring to fruition, and Mariana has shared immeasurably in that effort dedicating herself, her spirit, and powerful talent to the decade-plus effort to preserve the legacy of these veterans.

Lastly, to the entire cast and crew that came together to make this film a reality and preserve the stories and legacy of these veterans with us. Both Mariana and I remain ever grateful to all those whose paths we have crossed culminating in a film that spotlights the remarkable stories of veterans who spent their entire military career in the service of saving lives.

Website: www.chrisjohnsonfilms.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/chrisjohnsonfilms/

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/christopherjohnsoniv/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Cjohnsonfilms

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrisjohnsonfilms

Youtube: www.youtube.com/MistyFallsTV

Other: www.journeytoroyal.com www.instagram.com/chrisjohnsonfilms/ www.linkedin.com/company/the-misty-falls-motion-picture-company https://twitter.com/JourneyToRoyal

Image Credits
Mariana Tosca – Tosca Photography The Misty Falls Motion Picture Company

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