The 100 year journey to fusion energy
Interview with Writer/Director Mila Aung-Thwin
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I really love science stories where they are pushing the boundaries of what's possible, but also where there is attempt to help humanity. So when I heard about the attempts being made with fusion, I couldn't believe this story hadn't been told yet.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It's a story about very human characters trying to do the impossible, and it's potentially civilization-changing.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
It's rare to find people who work on projects that are designed to last decades. And these scientists are content to work on a project that they would be happy if it worked in a century from now. So on a personal level, this is a deep sacrifice - but they are doing it for the chance that it helps all of humanity.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
When I first started researching this, I didn't even know about fusion. I was just looking at alternate, 'pie-in-the-sky' sources of energy. Then I learned about ITER, and General Fusion. And I started visiting the worksites, and I found it fascinating. So I had to start the development process all over again. I would say the film was a constant evolution. Every time I would meet a new scientists I would learn something new.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The best feedback I have received is that a general audience seems to understand the film. It seems to be not under - or over - explained, and that people leave the screening feeling inspired. That's what I hoped for.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I did early screenings for small audiences at rough-cut stage and I was surprised then. I hadn't done enough to explain the science and had made it character-based. So I had to find a balance, and I spent more time editing.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want more people to hear about the film and take a chance to see it. Lots of people pigeonhole science films in a certain way, and I want people to know that this is a very human film that happens to be about science.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I want the film to take off internationally. Fusion is an international endeavour, 37 countries are collaborating to make ITER - so it needs to be seen around the world. We will be showing the film as part of Perspectives Canada at the Cannes Film Festival market and hope that it can find an international audience.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want the audience to find renew their appreciation for what scientists do. They are having a hard time these days, and yet they have such a positive impact on human progress.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What would it take to build an artificial star on Earth? What would unlimited cheap clean energy mean for the future of mankind?
Would you like to add anything else?
Go see the film on the big screen! These images are larger than life!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Right now I'm just trying to get the film out there. Van Royko (co-director) is a cinematographer as well so he's constantly traveling the world, making pretty images.
Interview: April 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The 100 year journey to fusion energy
Length: 80 minutes
Director: Mila Aung-Thwin & Van Royko
Producer: Mila Aung-Thwin & Bob Moore
Writer: Mila Aung-Thwin
About the writer, director and producer:
Mila Aung -thwin (writer and director) is co-founder of Emmy-winning Montreal production company EyeSteelFilm. Van Royko (co-director) is one of Canada's top documentary cinematographers.
Key cast: Mark Henderson is leading plasma Physicist at ITER in France. Michel Laberge is the founder of a Canadian fusion start-up, General Fusion.
Looking for Festivals, Sales Agents
Social media handles: www.fusion.film
Funders: Documentary Channel, Telefilm Canada
Where can I see it in the next month? Hot Docs (Toronto), Doxa (Vancouver), Against Gravity (Poland), Docs Barcelona