Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Foster Approach to making Wildlife Films [PODCAST]

Note: This interview was originally intended for a particular magazine, but due to space limitations it was completely left out, which, as I'm sure you'll agree is a shame. At one point in the interview there's a lack of clarity about a camera mounted on a lion or a cheetah. I probably saw a similar technique, though not made by the Fosters, in a Nat Geo doc, featuring a very tight POV shot with a lion, but it amounts to the same technique. I'm still looking to place this - one magazine is interested by not committing upfront, so am sort've still shopping for a more definite sign of interest. I found this fascinating, as I'm sure many photographers, and folks interested in the great outdoors - particularly Africa - would be.

At the latter end of the interview I posed a personal question: I have a passion for a story centred on the Bushmen; which I would love to write and have folks like the Foster Brothers shoot. I call it The Quintessential South African Film, a powerful, existential flick, showing the human condition in all its majesty, tragedy and stark beauty - the beauty of the Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi, the Baobabs, the incredible sky and the power of the African sun. Then of course, the unique human connection we share with each other, the creatures that flock through the dust, and those that fly, and beyond that - the ancient roads this continent knows we've walked. Remembering our connection to this continent, and to ourselves, and each other. Where "primitive man" is both way smarter, and way fitter in his knowledge of the environment, in spite of his simple tools, lack of technology and obvious poverty. By contrast, we have incredible poverty of our spirits. As Jake says in Avatar, "We've killed our mother."

In the world today we as a species have become distracted and disconnected, lost and misled, unhappy and unhealthy. We have broken our own hearts, and we need a new compass to set ourselves straight.  This is a story that sets about to fix the broken spirit of humanity, where we are once again all in it together - survivors, sharing (rather than owning) the land, in the brief but epic episodes that are individual lifetimes. What could be a deeper, more meaningful, and more inspirational story to come out of South Africa than that? I've already written it; it just needs to see the light of day, and then its name in lights. perhaps from that spark, we could see a new existential fire burn that makes more sense of the world we find ourselves in, together, right now.

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