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THE BEGINNING In an emotional Instagram post that included a host of images of the team members that enabled Project Africa to happen, Cook’s caption read: ‘And just like that it’s over. Couldn’t of done it without you [sic].’ One of those tagged is South African director, cinematographer and photographer Jarred Karp. Karp was enrolled as director of the documentary, as well as being brought on to help Karp’s talent in the area can be seen in the many captivating images he took of Cook, the team and of course Nelly the van, throughout the experience. That early passion then developed into filmmaking, having graduated in 2022 in film, television and sound design. While in the midst of recovering from a with the YouTube and social content. Photography being his early passion, major spinal operation, Karp happened across a Facebook advert by none other than Russ Cook himself. The advert said that they were seeking a filmmaker who additionally had first aid and overlanding experience.

“I sent him an email at about 7.30,” says Karp. “Then at about 10.30 that night, he gave me a call. By the Sunday, after a few more calls, he said ‘we want you on the team, can you join me in three days in Cape Town?’” Being brought in last minute meant a quick turnaround, leaving Karp little time to get his affairs in order and a production plan in place. “The first thing I had to figure out was getting rid of my apartment that I was renting. In between all of that I was having phone calls with the producer, Josh, where we started speaking about the creative language of the film and where the style was currently sitting – what he’d pre-shot and what his vision for the documentary was. Then I bought a sleeping bag and got on a plane.” A key requisite to being on the Project Africa team was to be able to pack light. Though Nelly had been craftily built to stow as many humans, cameras and energy drinks as possible – there was only so much she could fit. That meant the limited camera gear had to be chosen wisely. “We had two Panasonic GH5s and two adapters for the Micro Four Thirds mount, which was great as I shoot everything with a Canon EF, so that meant I could integrate my lenses into everything.” UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL As well as a lot of ground to cover, there was also a lot of content to capture – for a range of mediums. “At the beginning,” Karp continues, “it was a lot easier because I was balancing photography, videography for the documentary and interviews for the daily vlogs. So from the get-go, we knew there was going to be quite an overlap of content, but one thing we were sure of is that we wanted both the YouTube and the documentary to stand on their own. When we were shooting, Stan would direct the YouTube side and I directed the documentary side.” “We had to tick off a list in our minds every day of what we needed to get. In terms of photography, I knew I needed some of Russ, some of each of the crew, some of Nelly, some location stuff to show where we are – and so on.”

KEEP SMILING Despite the challenges faced throughout the nearly year-long mission, the team built up a strong resilience


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