Illuminating Disease takes a unique look at the history of bacteria and the scientists who discovered them. Shot entirely in stop motion, the film follows Terrance as he bounces through time, learning how we came to know that germs and not bad air cause disease.
Interview with Director/Producer/Editor Alain Douchinsky
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I made my film as part of my MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking. I am very interested in Biology and one of my favorite college courses covered parasites and germs. I thought it would be fun to incorporate this passion into a film about the history of disease.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Everyone knows that germs cause disease, and we often take this fact for granted. This film offers an educational tour through history, as it examines the amazing scientific contributions that shaped our understanding of illnesses. There aren’t many films that present the history of disease in a such a unique way. Anyone who has ever wondered how we discovered that germs cause disease or how we adopted the sterile techniques we use today, are sure to be intrigued by this fascinating glimpse into the past.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My film encompasses the themes of curiosity and perseverance. The world around us is full of beauty and mystery and we are often pulled to discover more, delve deeper into the unknown. It is this drive that led to some of the greatest scientific discoveries. When discussing the courageous scientists who were trailblazers in their fields, it is hard not to convey a passion for curiosity – something I hope we don’t lose as a society. The other theme is perseverance. This theme resonates with the scientists in the film – since they are the ones that created and repeated the experiments which led to such monumental discoveries. Perseverance also applies to the way in which the film was created with stop motion. The ability to persevere in the face of changes, challenges, and obstacles is to grow stronger and more confident. I certainly persevered in the pursuit of my MFA, which I think made an impact on the film itself.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?\
The original film was going to be traditional animation, since that seemed like an excellent way to enter into the world of bacteria and viruses. That eventually changed. I had toyed with doing a stop-motion film for several years, and as time went on, I decided that that would be a unique and challenging route to pursue instead. There are scientists I created that did not make the final cut into the film, and there were sections on where bacteria live that didn’t end up having a home either. I hope that they will someday make it into a short film. The script evolved over time as well. An early version had a live action beginning before we delved into the stop motion world.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
My film has so far only screened at my Thesis Defense. The response was very positive overall. Throughout the creative process I received feedback from my professors and peers. They helped shape everything from the filming to the script and of course the editing.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The filmmaking process can be challenging at times, especially if you really love a part of your film that others just do not think fits. I was most surprised to lose the plant pathologists from the film, since their research led to the discovery of viruses – a really important piece in the germ puzzle. But for now it just didn’t work.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am hoping that by having my film on www.wearemovingstories.com it will inspire people to learn more about science. I hope that the stories of the scientist’s peak someone’s interest and that that person goes on learn more about them. They are very fascinating individuals and you don’t always learn about them in school. I also hope that having the film more visible will show that there is a place for stop motion films in the documentary world. You do not often see this form of storytelling and it can be a really profound way to capture an audience.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I would love to have my film more visible through film festivals and I would also love to see this film in schools. Film festival directors and distributors would definitely help to amplify my films message.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would love for this film to inspire people to become passionate about science and to learn more about the world around them. I felt really inspired by the stories I found as I did my research. These men accomplished incredible things early on in history that continue to stand the test of time. I find that incredibly motivational. I would also really love for this film to motivate others to pursue their dreams, whether they are scientists or filmmakers. Inspiring others to learn more about the world around them and to teach people what they find is the ultimate goal of filmmakers I think.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Are we making as many courageous advances today as the early scientific pioneers did with their outside the box thinking?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
The key creatives on the film are in the research phase of a film on literacy in prisons and how books can influence positive change. They are also researching drug addiction and its impact on mothers.
Interview: March 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. 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
Director/Producer/Editor: Alain Douchinsky
Alain is a recent graduate of Montana State University with an MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking. She loves science and history and gravitates toward socially powerful films.
Cast: Leandra Hill – Narrator
The film is currently public on my youtube page – Alain Douchinsky
I have a personal facebook page but none for my film yet.