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Remembering a Great Man - Bret Johnston

Remembering a Great Man - Bret Johnston
Remembering a Great Man - Bret Johnston
April 16, 2012 -  Bret    

My great friend Justin Amorratanasuchad (yes it’s a very long complicated Tai name) and I made this little climbing short a couple of years ago and I will forever cherish it as some of my best memories. Justin was no climber, but a filmmaker. Throughout high school he made a number of award winning shorts, and later got accepted to Emerson College in Boston for film school. We grew up together, like brothers from the age of seven. I was so excited to show his talent in the world of rock climbing. When we started he had no concept of tying knots, using belay devices, or even a basic anchor setup. I bought him a static line and we went to the gym a couple weeks before the shoot and learned the dos and don’ts, and then we were off. It brings a smile to my face when I think of him struggling up the wall, trying to manage a $3,000 camera and a Gri Gri all in one go. He spent ours in that harness trying to make everything right and in the end he would say, “Man I’m sorry, I messed up a lot of shots. This isn’t going to be good at all.” He was a constant perfectionist. I’ll let you be the judge of the film but I think he did a wonderful job. Especially considering his lack of experience with exposure and rope systems.

On 4/17/2011 we lost Justin to a tragic accident while he was away at school. His death shocked every fiber in my body. My brother died. So you can imagine the nostalgia behind this film. Every time I hear DJ Shadows, “Building Steam With a Grain of Salt”, it takes me back to those days. Sometimes I cry, but sometimes I smile. Remembering him curse the wall as he struggled to get into position for the next shot. Thank you Justin for giving me these memories and giving me something so great to remember them by.  I miss you, always.

Justins parents started a scholarship fund in Justins memory. If you would like to make a donation here is the info.

R.I.P Justin

Thanks for reading,

-Bret Johnston


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