Waiting for John
If you had never heard of an airplane or a refrigerator, would you think it was a miracle when one arrived? When the American military landed on a remote island in the South Pacific during World War II, the islanders were amazed by America's fantastic cargo - planes, trucks, refrigerators, canned food. They thought such goods could only come from the Gods. Led by the mysterious prophet John, a religion was born, the John Frum Movement, also known as a Cargo Cult. The John Frum Movement still exists in one village in the islands of Vanuatu; the leaders still go to speak with the spirit of John in sacred caves and believers sing songs about him every Friday night. While the US may have forgotten Tanna Island, the American flag flies high over the village of Lamakara and young men march in formation, imitating US soldiers. Lamakara is the last stronghold of the John Frum Movement, but today it is plagued by outside pressures and internal conflict. WAITING FOR JOHN explores this extraordinary religion from the perspective of the last village of believers, as they struggle to preserve their way of life. In the process this film asks, where do prophets come from? And what makes people believe?
Jessica has been working in the documentary industry for over ten years with networks including National Geographic, Discovery Channel, PBS, Sundance Channel and MSNBC and she has filmed in many remote corners of the world. For the Discovery Channel four-hour special, King Tut Unwrapped, Jessica helped craft the story of the first DNA testing of the King Tut royal mummy family. For PBS Nature’s What Females Want, What Males Will Do, Jessica worked with a team in Ethiopia to tell the story of baboon love and its message about evolution. Jessica is making her directorial debut with WAITING FOR JOHN. She also produces short-form digital content for many online platforms. Throughout her career, she’s interviewed DNA scientists, DEA agents and piano playing cats, hoping to glimpse into new worlds. Jessica graduated from Northwestern University with a Radio/Television/Film degree concentrating in production and creative writing.