Born in Munich, Germany, Sylvestre Campe first contact with an adventurous lifestyle was when he was eleven years old. His dad, Joachin Campe, was a private teacher who always dreamed of an audacious life. With this in mind Joachin together with his wife, Sylvestre and his other three children, set sail on board the St Michel, a sailboat on which they would spend seven years travelling around the world. At the time Sylvestre’s dad signed a contract with a German TV channel, to produce a documentary about their journey. This documentary would become one of the first TV reality shows, showing the life of all people aboard the sailboat. By assisting his dad with the making of this documentary, Sylvestre came in contact with cinema production for the first time.
Sylvestre finished his adventure at eighteen years old and due to the fact that he didn’t have ordinary school years, he didn’t know which college degree he ought to do. Having graduated in cinema in Berkley, California, Sylvestre says: “It wasn’t a creative choice, I followed my dad’s path. However I realized that due to my childhood inside of a sailboat, I had an ability to deal with different cultures, challenges in extreme conditions, which was essential for my career.”
Always looking for a career as an atypical cinematographer, Sylvestre claims that the first years as a professional were extremely hard, since he always chose to prioritize his own projects, instead of choosing industry-standard ones which would have provided him with a stable income. “It was a very lonely path”, Sylvestre mentions when talking about the beginning of his career as an independent producer, “since usually, in this industry, you become part of a team”. This feeling led him to question himself if he made the right choice. However today he is convinced that he did, as the extraordinary adventures that his career led him to have, made all the rest worth it. “I had to make a choice between living an extraordinary, but not stable life or a stable and less challenging career. And I believe that everything good in life has a price and I am willing to pay for the life that I have”.