Timothy Carr didn’t come to Kuwait to unearth a vibrant underground urban culture scene; he didn’t even come here to make films. He came armed with a skill you might regard so valuable it’s a wonder he didn’t make millions doing it. Tim arrived in Kuwait two-and-a-half years ago to be a precision driving instructor.
But as happens so often in life, things can turn out differently than we first imagined. After spending time teaching soldiers and marines the techniques of driving defensively or aggressively living on Camp AJ (Arifjan), a United States Army installation, he started noticing that the posters around the camp needed jazzing up. He took it upon himself to do so as he’d previously studied Visual Communications and so had the skills to visually send a message. At around the same time he and a friend formed the Kuwait Paintball League. Unfortunately, they were a lot more advanced at the sport than the others and kept winning easily. This is when Tim decided to step back and start filming the others. He took a job at Camp AJ to create posters and films promoting health and safety around the camp and documenting desert driving exercises.
A chance encounter with a group of guys with backpacks wearing running shoes and track pants on his way to film a paintball tournament opened up a whole new Kuwait to Tim. He knew instantly from the way they were dressed that they were traceurs, or freerunners. He pulled the car over and discovered these guys were the PK Jaguars, a Kuwaiti freerunning team. Freerunning or Parkour is the act of efficiently moving around and over obstacles. It’s a little like skateboarding without the skateboard. It involves rolling, vaulting, running, jumping, and climbing, usually in an urban environment. If you’ve seen it you’ll know it. Most people stop and stare in wonder the first time they encounter Parkour!
Tim has made four films now with the Jaguars, the most famous being Al Sawaber. The film takes its name from the run-down residential Al Sawaber complex in Kuwait City. This once gleaming place is now a perfect freerunning playground. The film, shot in black-and-white, showcases not only the extraordinary talents of the PK Jaguars, but also the beauty of this ragged urban landscape. The film has been shown on Kuwait TV and has been featured on blogs internationally.
From his first meeting with the Jaguars, Tim has been like Alice going down the rabbit-hole. One of the traceurs put him in touch with a friend who was part of the One Soul Crew – a team of hip-hop loving B-Boys. You may know B-boying by its more popular, although incorrect, name of breakdancing. It began back in the seventies in New York City as a part of hip-hop culture and has gained widespread popularity since. The name breakdancing was applied by the mass media and it stuck. So if you ever meet a true B-boy, be sure not to call him a breakdancer! Tim filmed a video of the One Soul Crew that they could use to showcase their talent on Arabs Got Talent. The crew is a mixture of guys from all over the Arab world but they grew up in Kuwait and represent the country they call home wherever they go.
From there Tim went even deeper into the rabbit-hole. Through the One Soul Crew he met the 965 Crew who are a group of Dub Step dancers. They also needed a film to use for Arabs Got Talent and Tim obliged. As he was shooting the One Soul Crew he hooked up with the Can’t Stop Us group, who are a bunch of B-boy crews in Kuwait that battle against each other in Dance-Offs similar to the Red Bull DC competition. He subsequently filmed one of their battles that he is currently in post-production with.
It seemed he was fast becoming the go-to-guy for urban culture filmmaking and a useful guy to know if you were planning to be on Arabs Got Talent. He loves the fact that he can bring these things to light in Kuwait, though. He respects what these guys do. It takes dedication and discipline to master something like Parkour or B-boying. These are not bad qualities for a youth culture to learn, especially here in Kuwait where obesity and diabetes are a serious problem. If you can get young people interested in running around all day or mastering a certain dance move then they are leading an active and healthier lifestyle.
Tim is currently putting the finishing touches to a documentary about a Filipino painter based in Kuwait called Bruha Eve. She set up a charity back home that she funds with half of all her sales from her artwork. He still films paintball and recently travelled to the UAE to film a tournament there and will be making films for www.socialpaintball.com where he will be covering Kuwait and the Middle East. The site is the largest paintball website in the world and so his films will gain some well-deserved exposure. He also filmed a documentary about an American rapper named Gran Milli. Not content with all this (don’t forget his day job producing films for the US Army); Tim also documented performances at the Blend Music Festival.
As you can tell he is a busy man!
He also told me he recently heard of a Motocross event that takes place every Friday in Kuwait that he wants to film. And then there is the skating and BMX scene that he wants to explore and document. On a more serious note, he wants to work with K’s Path to make a documentary about the recent spate of dog poisonings that took place around Kuwait. He’d like to raise awareness of these issues.
Tim hopes one day to be able to focus on filmmaking full-time. With the passion and zeal that he radiates this shouldn’t take too long to happen – his tireless quest for new things to explore in Kuwait, his films’ appearances on national television and countless blogs, and an eye for spotting talent and capturing it effortlessly with his camera should lead to this in no time.
To see Tim’s films or contact him, visit tjcfilms.com where you’ll also find links to all his social media.