It Takes a Family is a short film that explores the origins, inner workings and accomplishments of the David Suzuki Foundation. Directed by filmmaker Claudia Molina, it takes viewers into the heart of our Vancouver offices and introduces them to the people whose knowledge, ideas and drive keep us going. Much of the movie is narrated by co-founder Tara Cullis-Suzuki, a veritable encyclopedia of Foundation history.
Jenny Lee Silver, our intrepid web strategy coordinator, has a background in music production and formal training in radio and TV. That's why she was called upon to act as the film's production coordinator for four months last winter. Recently, she divulged some behind-the-scenes details of the process.
Her job entailed, among other things, finding and renting all kinds of equipment, organizing interviews, setting up mics and lighting, and being present at nearly every shoot. Silver also took on the role of boom operator and occasional second camera shooter. Though she'd never done this kind of work, she was a good fit for the position; having worked for the Foundation for five years, she could provide crucial background info on the organization and its people.
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Though she says it was a fairly smooth process, she admits that the intimidation factor of working with some high-profile interview subjects was a challenge. There were surprises too; the film was originally envisioned as a simple introduction to the organization, but it quickly blossomed into a film full of heart. As the interview subjects recall the Foundation's most meaningful moments, there are moments of profound emotion, both hopeful and sombre.
Near the end of the film, for instance, Cullis-Suzuki makes a grave statement about the future of humanity. Silver recalls discussing it with Molina and insisting she include it, since it was "the crux of the film."
The best part, she says, was seeing the pieces come together— those hours and hours of video distilled down to a simple, poignant 15 minutes.
It Takes a Family will be included in the Force of Nature DVD, to be released this fall. In the meantime, you can watch it here.