June 25, 2017

For love of country

Alex Arjoon is a patriot on a mission to showcase the beauty of Guyana and promote a ‘green’ economy

Alex capturing the beauty of Guyana’s interior

Founded in March 2017, Reel Guyana, founded by Alex Arjoon, core business is primarily the acquisition of high quality raw video footage of the natural environment and rich culture throughout the length and breadth of Guyana. This footage will be available to the national, regional and international markets.

In an interview with Sunday Times Magazine, the 24-year-old talks about what he hopes to accomplish via his company.

Sunday Magazine (SM): What prompted you to start Reel Guyana?

Alex Arjoon (AA): Throughout my childhood, my mom always made sure we were aware of the environment and the consequences our actions have on the environment. This was a frequent life lesson that many Guyanese are just not exposed to. Today, with the implication of the Green State Development Strategy, there are lots of factors that focus on environmental protection. However, Guyanese don’t quite understand these implications or why it’s such an important feature.

Reel Guyana allows them to be exposed to parts of our beautiful landscapes, which not many people have traversed, and shows them what we have and why it should be protected as we continue to develop as a nation.

SM: What do you hope to accomplish via Reel Guyana?

Deep in Guyana’s jungle

AA: I hope to use the company as a platform to voice positive messages to the public; use it to shine a light on the beautiful parts of our culture, which many have taken for granted; and to use it as a means to help solidify the Guyanese identity, which I believe has not yet been fully understood or defined.

SM: How do you overcome challenges?

AA: Every day I face challenges in life, most not being work related.  I think in dealing with any type of adversity in life it’s important to understand what’s important to you. For me, it’s my family. At the end of the day, the world could be falling apart and things can seem helpless, but knowing my family is behind me let’s me know that things are going to be okay.

SM: What’s Reel Guyana’s contribution to the Green State Development Strategy?

AA: I think it definitely touches on many key concepts the Green State Development Strategy has. Obviously, environment is a big one, but we also have done work with education for sustainable development, so that ties in as well.

The company is proud to have been of service to the Ministry of Education with the development of an Education for Sustainable Development series, as its long term goal is to establish itself as a major production house that can effect real change, starting with youths.

SM: What’s your advice for youths who may want to pursue a similar path?

AA: I guess this profession is one where you have to constantly be thinking of concepts with meaningful messages. Sometimes that doesn’t always goes as planned, but it’s really important to collaborate. I believe most people have something to offer, and something that can push me and make me better. You can have all the talent or ability in the world, but without the hunger to keep improving, you’ve automatically set a limit on your potential. I think collaboration and sharing of ideas can essentially be in a number of other aspects, not just video production.

SM: What are your future plans for Reel Guyana?

AA: I just want to be able to make a living doing what I love and knowing that I’m contributing to my country. Nothing surpasses my love for Guyana and Guyanese people, even though things can become difficult here. But more than anything, I want to be an example for people like me who are just trying to find their way in the world. I want to let them know that it’s okay to think outside the box and do or be something that doesn’t conform to what’s traditionally expected. We are such an amazing group of people and need to love ourselves a little more.

Reel Guyana had its launch at the Timehri Environmental Film Festival and would like to thank Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and Iwokrama for their support.