STUNTFILE: John Volmink

Here is a quick biography on one of the STUNTMEN I had the chance to interview. Learn more about his "STUNTWORDS To Live By" in the book!

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John Volmink was born in upstate New York. The balance struck by his family upbringing would ultimately be the inspiration that would drive him toward film production; his mother was a teacher (stimulating his creativity through reading and encouraging arts and crafts) and his father was a mathematician (helping develop his analytical mind). During his childhood he was completely transfixed with films from the ‘80s like The Never Ending Story and The Goonies. From New York he moved to Botswana for a short period of time, and then to South Africa, growing up in Cape Town and Durban. Spending much of his youth in different countries immersed in various cultures, he observed life as if from a third-person perspective, as he learned the nuances of each culture, which he deemed useful now as a storyteller.

Film was always a pipe dream for John. He studied economics at university. His favorite subject, however, was philosophy. For him, economics was the easiest option for a respectable occupation.

Economics did open some doors for John as he began his professional career at JPMorgan’s Investment Banking Division in Johannesburg. The money and the prestige of investment banking were immediately attractive to John, but not for long.

He could not ignore the voices roaring in his head telling him to pursue a film career. John decided to combine the best of both worlds—business and storytelling. Still in South Africa, he leveraged his business relationships, salesmanship skills learned in banking, and his passion for film into an entrepreneurial film distribution business. When that business failed to launch, due to the proliferation of piracy in the country, John saw that there was a lack of films that appealed to certain market segments. He also saw an opportunity to further pursue his passion as a filmmaker. In a competitive and difficult-to-navigate film business in South Africa, John’s company Diprente Films is now seen as a beacon of hope for the South African film market (as well as television). Diprente has successfully broadened the media landscape, focusing on digital distribution alternatives as well as producing premium content through international partnerships. Through his efforts he hopes to open the door for other filmmakers and move the film industry in South Africa forward.