John grew up in a small town in Ohio. After graduating from Swarthmore College with a BA in English, he worked as a web developer and designer in San Francisco. Intrigued by the Latino culture surrounding him in that city's Mission district, John began studying Spanish and eventually moved to Mexico City, where he spent two years working, traveling, and absorbing local slang. This experience deepened his interest in the complex relationships between Latin America and the United States. Back in San Francisco, John made his first documentary, Josue, Sin Cara (Josue, Without a Face), which portrayed the day-to-day life of a child undocumented immigrant from Honduras.
Grant from The Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West, 2008
Frontier Youth follows three young people growing up in Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Mexico -- neighboring towns divided by a steel border fence. As physical security along the border continues to tighten, they enter adulthood with inseparable ties to both sides.
16mm color film
Five-year-old Vashaun is an emerging b-boy (breakdancer). Encouraged by his father and a commmunity of dancers, he strives to progress in this challenging, magnetic art form.
After being discharged from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a happy-go-lucky American soldier returns with his wife and daughter to their home in Kentucky. Left in Baghdad is an alternately tragic and comic portrait of a family man on the first day of the rest of his life, which he must live without his left arm.
16mm black and white film
An observation of ritual and faith in the Santeria religious tradition.