We reached out to our Jackson Wild Media Awards filmmakers to ask them five questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
Supervising Producer Jonnie Hughes: The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) produces a health check of the planet every two years called the Living Planet Report – this was inspirational in summing up the totality of the challenge facing us in the coming decades.
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film/program.
JH: Delivering such a grand narrative in just 8 minutes required a lot of discipline in the laying out of the argument. The order and timing of our various revelations was critical, and we switched the structure of the film a number of times before it felt like it was landing as we wanted.
Our challenge was to build a series of 8 films, available to all online, that would compliment the "biome" structure of the 8 episodes of the Our Planet series on Netflix, but that would also work systematically through the key problems and solutions that our species must engage with to reset its relationship with the planet. The issue was that the problems and solutions don't in fact fit neatly into 8 biome stories!
What impact do you hope this film/program will have?
JH: We hope that the audience would feel inspired to hope for a better future – there is a path to sustainability, and the outcome of taking that path is not only a more sustainable existence, but a happier, healthier existence too. There is no reason not to take it!
The story contained in this series of short films examines the most important question of our times - how do we design a life for ourselves on this planet that enables both ourselves and the rest of life on Earth to thrive? We hope that, told within such high pace, short-form films, and freely available on the web, as many people as possible would be able to consider this question, and, like us, come to see that there is an inspiring answer.
How do you approach storytelling?
JH: Our tactic for squaring that circle was to define a key characteristic for each biome without which it couldn’t function – it’s “heart”. For grasslands the heart was “space”, for fresh water it was “flow”, etc. We then lined up the problems and solutions we needed to cover against these hearts and found a way of telling the stories in a cohesive manner. For example, wild grasslands are threatened because we eat into the space they need as a result of our increasing demand to grow food. So to save the grasslands, we need to take up less space to grow food. And the way to do that is for humankind to eat less meat and to improve the efficiency of its farming.