Cassius Rayner: How near-death experience shifted my path

December 7, 2021

Cassius Rayner is a multi-award winning filmmaker, writer and lecturer. His passion is producing film content using iPhones, capturing stories globally on a variety of social issues. He embraces new technology and runs workshops in smartphone video.  He is the founder of the Go Film It, a video production company and also He is also a lecturer at ScreenSpace Ealing Studios in mobile filmmaking. 

Most recently he won the award for Best Short Film for Dead Eye at the Stockholm Film Festival.

Cassius has been working as a camera operator and director in film since 1992. He was 30 years old when his life suddenly changed, when he was stabbed by two youths in South London.  They hit a major artery and he would have bled to death had it not been for an off-duty nurse who found him and saved his life.

He shared with us how he felt during the recovery process. We talked about his epiphany and how he overcame the initial shock, trauma and anger. As he recovered he wanted to understand the motivation and behaviour of the two young men who stabbed him. Why would someone commit such an act and what drove them to reach that point?  This led him to teach, coach and mentor under-privileged young people by offering training in filmmaking.

London Falls Silent film by Cassius Rayner

Points of Discussion:

  • Introduction (00:00)
  • What passed through your mind during your near-death experience? (01:45)
  • How did you feel about life during the recovery process? (05:18)
  • Did that trauma put you into a new direction (07:24)
  • How did you emotionally cope with recovery? (08:24)
  • What did you learn about the gangs and these sorts of behaviours? (11:11)
  • Career pivot and the work with marginalized young people (19:45)
  • Mobile filmmaking and opportunities that come with new technology (29:05)
  • How has Covid affected you and your work (32:35)
  • How do you feel about change? (36:04)
  • What are you looking forward to? (37:38)
  • Key takeaways (40:45)

Additional Resources:

More about Cassius Rayner

Find the organization Go Film It

Change session interviews