Michael Pitiot’s documentary Terra deals with the human species and its relationship with other living beings
French screenwriter and filmmaker Michael Pitiot has been making documentaries for the past 25 years. However, he believes it was only 10 years back that he reached a turning point in his career.
“In the last 10 years, I made a shift from filmmaking to exploration and scientific expedition in the South and the North Poles alongwith a climate research team. For the first time in my life, I realised that my planet was changing and that the change was fast and unpredictable. Until then, I was thinking that all of this was forever — all the lives and everything around us — but I was wrong. Once I realised that we were speeding up the change, I wanted to do something about it. It was after then that I started to make environmentally conscious documentaries,” says Michael.
The 48-year-old filmmaker co-produced Planet Earth (2012), a feature-length documentary about man and the ocean with French ecologist and photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand. In 2015, the same team collaborated for another documentary, Terra, on human species and its relationship with other living beings. “Whatever we are doing to the planet is coming back against us. The realisation makes you think what you can do to stop that. That thought is the beginning of Terra,” says Michael.
“I was making hardcore scientific documentaries. After a point, I realised that I was talking to the experts — people who are already aware of that. My goal is to touch others, people who are less aware and are leading normal lives, which is how most people live on the planet. In order to touch them, we need stories, emotional content and share it in a different way and the movie can be really powerful,” he adds.
The 90-minute documentary, narrated by French musician and actress Vanessa Paradis was shot across 24 countries. “Be it the wildlife reserve in Botswana, food processing plant in China or the farms in Europe, each location was shot to make it look like every place is a universal and not specific to one country,” signs off Michael.
Terra will premiere on March 22 at 8 pm on Discovery and Animal Planet.
— Fathima Ashraf