Interview with Filmmaker Diego Errazuriz Goler

Hello! What an honour to have won Best Documentary and Best Film!! 

1.    What filmmakers have inspired you?

As far as fiction filmmakers, Milos Forman, Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Nolan have had a huge influence in my way of making films and in learning the power and reach of films.

2.    When did you first come up with the idea for your film?

It was back in 2010, I was living in New York City and enrolled in a Digital Filmmaking course in the New York Film Academy. I've been passionate about astronomy and cosmology since an early age and while studying filmmaking in NY I suddenly thought: "Why not combine what I am learning with my passion for astronomy and my longing to share what I have learned with the world? And what better way to do this than a documentary film about the history of the Universe?". So that is the genesis of my documentary film "The Big Picture".

2.    Tell us about the production process – raising money, or taking off the lens cap for the first time.

The production process was very spontaneous and on the go. Everything began when I received a reply from a world-renowned astronomer saying that he was willing to give me an interview. At this point I had to decide if I was going to pursue and embrace the project or continue with my filmmaking course in NYFA. I chose the former and then had to look for help. I hired two amateur camera man that traveled with me across USA, from New Jersey to San Francisco and the Hawaii. Once I returned to Chile with the footage of the six interviews with top scientists - two Nobel prize winners among them - I had to figure out how to tell the story. It took me eight years to organize, edit, write the script, compose the music, and everything that making a documentary film involves. Finally I was able to complete the documentary, after a lot of trial and error and a lot of learning along the way.

3.    Who was it made with, and how did production come about?

The documentary was made in a very large part by me. I also got help from the cameramen and from an editor and a scriptwriter towards the last year of production, in order to make the best out of my own edit. 

4.    Who or what do you think contributed the most to the success of your film?

The open-handedness and generosity of the six scientists were key to the success of the film. Also, all the people that helped me along the road in different ways. And also my commitment to the project, eight years in the making. That drive I think was key for the film to be compelling and honest.

5.    If you could give advice to a filmmaker hesitating on picking up a camera to tell their story, what would it be?

I would say that making a film is a titanic enterprise and maybe it's not enough for you to "want" to tell the story, but that you must feel that you "NEED" to tell the story, because this drive is what keeps you going in a road full of ups and downs, and that will put you to the test more than once. So my advice is to look for a story you NEED to tell, and the rest will take care of itself.

6.    If you had an unlimited budget, what kind of films would you make?

Probably a science fiction movie portraying the existence of distant civilizations in other regions of our galaxy, the contact with humans and it's consequences.

7.    What’s your next project going to be?

I've been thinking of doing another documentary film, this time a film that aims to give a science-informed answer to the question: Are we alone? Is there intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe? This is a question that has been traditionally answered by pseudoscience and popular culture, but today there is an entire field of astronomy dedicated to answering it using the scientific method, it's called astrobiology, and I think that as a species we all need to know which have been the advances that science has been able to make in answering this transcendental question.

8.    Your acceptance speech for this film, what would you like to let people know about the film, about you, or about those who helped you in your journey?

Thank you for these awards, for this recognition. It is a huge honor to be recognized in the DIYFilm Festival. Having been involved in every aspect of the film this really has been a "Do it Yourself" endeavor and it is great to know that there is a festival that recognizes this way of making a film, of telling a story. 

”THE BIG PICTURE" is the realization of a lifelong dream. I wanted to convey the inspiration and perspective that cosmology is able of igniting and hopefully bridge the gap between experts and laypeople on a knowledge that is fundamental for everyone. 

I have the conviction that everyone should have the opportunity of getting to know the Universe and its history, not only because it is enlightening and fascinating, but also because it has the power of making us better persons. And this is why I embarked on this endeavor. 

It took eight years to finish this film. With basic filmmaking skills and little previous experience I ventured into this journey in which, through a series of fortunate and serendipitous events, I had the privilege of meeting six remarkable men and woman, two Nobel laureates among them, and ask them not only about the history of the Universe but also about how this knowledge has affected their outlook on life.

It has been a long and winding road, and today I am happy and proud of having closed the circle and finally releasing the film for everyone to enjoy and hopefully be inspired. Thanks you, and keep looking up!

9.  What camera and editing system did you use to make this film?

I used several cameras: a Sony X1, a Nikkon D90, a Canon 5D Mark ii, a Canon 7D, a GoPro. For editing I started with Final Cut Pro 7 and then moved to Adobe Premiere Pro.

10. Have you ever tried Pinnacle products or tried online distribution?  (They are both sponsors, Pinnacle and FilmHub, so it’s helpful to hear from you about this kind of information.)

I have never tried Pinnacle products. For online distribution I used Withoutabox, Filmfreeway and Filmfest.

Diego Errázuriz Guler

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