Last year I fell in love with Landfill Dogs, a photographic series by Shannon Johnstone. She was my professor when I attended Meredith College. So in May 2013, I wrote a blog post about it to (unashamedly) share her work with anyone willing to listen.

Since then Shannon’s fan base has grown! It makes me SO ridiculously happy that her photos have been highlighted by MashableBuzzfeedHLNN&OHuffPo,  TodayYahoo!, ABC, and WNCN. It seems there are a lot of us falling in love with her work, what it stands for, and how it’s making a huge difference for these sweet animals.

Not to mention how we, as fans, can share her work with others. The simple act of sharing her photos can help Shannon continue making a difference. It directly translates to finding loving homes for the dogs. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love it so much!

The timing of Landfill Dogs, the blog post about the project, and my continued filmmaking education was pretty impeccable. At the time, I was in the midst of trying to make the process of making a documentary faster, easier, and less expensive. So I was studying and experimenting with iPhone filmmaking. (Related blog posts about that can be found here, here, and here.)


So I reached out to Shannon, asking if I could follow her on a shoot one day. She was kind enough to oblige. I brought nothing with me but a standard iPhone 5. It felt weird to travel so lightly to a shoot.

We walked up the landfill, talking, and watching Molly (the sweet dog hugging Shannon in the picture below) bounce around. Shannon shared some of the reasons why she stared working on Landfill Dogs. It was a great day.

Shannon Johnstone, the photographer behind Landfill Dogs. Photo by Camden Watts.

Shannon Johnstone, the photographer behind Landfill Dogs. Photo by Camden Watts.

Afterwards I edited the footage together on my iPhone to continue the experiment. How much could I do with JUST an iPhone? Turns out, you can do quite a bit.

What I’d like to share with you now is the final result of the iPhone filmmaking experiment, Landfill Dogs: Behind The Scenes. It is a short documentary about Shannon’s work — shot and edited completely on an iPhone 5. Take a look, share your comments, and pass it on to friends if you wish. Here’s hoping it’ll find more sweet animals a loving home.

Without further ado, here’s Landfill Dogs: Behind The Scenes.

Landfill Dogs: Behind the Scenes from Camden Watts on Vimeo.

New here? Welcome! It’s great to meet you. I’m an indie filmmaker who makes documentaries and comedies. I especially love sharing stories about inspiring people like Shannon.

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Right now I’m in the midst of making my next documentary titled Brewconomy. It’s about the people behind the craft beer movement in North Carolina — specifically how they’re positively impacting the state’s agriculture, community, and economy. Learn more about it here.

Learn about my next film, Brewconomy, which is about the N.C. craft beer movement.

Learn about my next film, Brewconomy, which is about the N.C. craft beer movement.

Special thanks to Shannon, Lynn, and Molly. Lynn was Molly’s foster mom until she got adopted almost immediately after being photographed by Shannon. I’m so grateful to all three of them for allowing me to make this short, experimental documentary film.