Production Designer John Dondertman Pays Tribute To Filmmaker & Adventurer Iohan Gueorguiev

A tribute to the late filmmaker and adventurer Iohan Gueorguiev, by DGC Ontario Production Designer John Dondertman.

(Content warning for discussion of depression and suicide)

Iohan Gueorguiev (1988-2021)
Filmmaker – Adventurer – Explorer – Generous Spirit

“I want to see the world. Follow a map to its edges and keep going. Forgo the plans. Trust my instincts. Let curiosity be my guide. I want to change hemispheres. Sleep with unfamiliar stars. And let the journey unfold before me.”

-Maptia Manifesto

All Members of the Director’s Guild of Canada are united in our passion for filmmaking. So for that reason, I want to introduce Iohan Gueorguiev to our Members and honour him as a local filmmaker. Although Iohan was not a Member of the DGC, he was part of our larger filmmaking community. Iohan moved to Mississauga from Bulgaria at the age of 15 and his life is a reminder to all of us that there is a beautiful world out there. 

Iohan was a Writer, Producer, Cinematographer, and co-star to the open road, cycling from Alaska to Argentina with plans to ride around the planet. When you watch one of the 72 videos he produced between 2014 and 2021, you will be struck by his kind, gentle, and generous spirit. Iohan’s videos have been viewed over 4.5 million times and he was a talented and resourceful filmmaker, creating these videos single-handed while riding his bike through extremely harsh conditions, and camping anywhere from the ice roads of the Northwest Territories to the relentless winds of Patagonia. 

Iohan’s light burned very brightly, but sadly he struggled with depression and took his own life last fall. You can read more about him in this link written by his friend Matt Bardeen, as well as on BikePacking.com.

There is a memorial in Iohan’s name at  HeadsUpGuys.org, an online resource affiliated with UBC that supports men in their fight against depression.  

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

-Albert Camus

If you are a DGC Ontario Member in need of mental health support, please feel free to make use of one of the many mental health resources available for those who are struggling during this difficult time.

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