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Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes



Presenting the website


Cynthia Biret

I am a freelance journalist covering fiction and documentary films and T.V. with print and/or video interviews, from Academy Awards winners and nominees to Indie filmmakers. 

An expert storyteller, I also have experience as a producer, writer, director, editor and videographer and have worked with the majority of networks and cable channels.  

I mentored a young student in a campaign against human trafficking, and produced and directed the first documentary to been shown at TEDx; produced and wrote a documentary about the Sovereign rights of a First Nation indigenous tribe. Passionate about the protection of the environment, I also traveled to the Amazon to witness the impact of deforestation, and directed a documentary to raise awareness about the urgency to protect wildlife. 

Originally from France, I currently live in Los Angeles.  


From award winning fiction to the reality of climate change with Guillermo Navarro


He won the Oscar, Ariel and Goya awards for cinematography for Pan's Labyrinth, and his collaboration with acclaimed filmmakers Guillermo Del Toro is legendary.  He is also a prolific director and an executive producer for the Emmy nominated docu-series Hostile Planet (Nat Geo), where his creative storytelling pulls us into a world far too real:  The impact of the rising temperatures on the survival of wildlife.  

I met with Navarro to get a glimpse inside his creative mind and to find out why he thinks it’s important to care about climate change.


Biret:   You were a photographer first before becoming a filmmaker.  Please talk to me about your creative influences.


Navarro:  I started as a still photographer.  I think that growing up in Mexico gave me the ingredients to build from.  The smells, the color, the textures, the life that is very fluid, and you go to a market and it's a full experience, and you go to someone's house to eat, and that's another special experience; then you go to the jungles or the beaches, and see that it's a country that's very alive, it's a vibrant culture, so you naturally take from it.  Then if you have the ability to use that clay to create, it creates sparks for your imagination.  I was able to translate that into light and formats and colors and textures.  


Biret:  You once said that integrity and truth are paramount for you.   How do you apply these qualities to fiction? 


Navarro:  I have been always interested in films that would address the human condition because it is a permanent search of the reality of what this condition represents, as well as finding out the philosophy behind it, which in turn reflects the truth of ourselves.  All the movies that I have done, or that I have ever been interested in pursuing, have always dealt with that.


Biret:  Does this apply to fiction and non fiction films?


Navarro:  For fiction, you are re-creating a story.  For documentaries, you are actually facing what the reality is about, and it’s more about how you put the story together, what shots you decide to use, and how they are going to help the viewer feel the drama of the sequence.


Biret:  How do you prepare your work?  Do you have a notebook, do you draw figures? 


Navarro:  I use my imagination.  If I read the script and I see the movie that I want to do, then I generate the images in my head.


Biret:  What was your biggest challenge on Hostile planet?


Navarro:  Keeping focus on what the real project was.  There is always this dynamic of not so much of this, not too much of that. For me it was very important to bring change inside the narrative, and to stay away from the format of another host explaining what’s going on.  My goal was for the power of the images to be strong enough to grasp the story.  That was my main contribution. 


Biret:  The opening scene with the snow leopard leaping across multiple crevasses of a precipice while holding tight on his prey is breathtaking.  How long did the crew have to wait to get these astounding visuals?


Navarro:  It was the last week for the crew to be up in the Himalayas, and they were getting ready to come back empty handed.  They were tired; they were running out of food, and requested to come back.  We asked them to stay one more week.  And in the last days of that last week, they shot the leopard dropping 200 feet with his prey.


Biret:  How did climate change affect the snow leopard’s hunting abilities?


Navarro:  Temperatures are getting hotter and hotter in the Himalayas, raising the stakes for the amount of energy he has to use to attack his prey.  


Biret:  The challenges are exacerbated by the difficulties of the terrain and the shift in seasons.


Navarro:   There is no time for animals to adapt to change.  Seasons come in at different times, and animals are learning at a very high cost to adapt to these changes and search for food in more distant and challenging places.  


Biret:  From the chicks falling off their nest from vertiginous heights to the the tiny baby turtle trying to reach the sea, the cameras are catching the action which is then edited in a cinematic storytelling style. 


Navarro: We built the show as an immersive experience, so the cameras were very close to the animals.  I like to think of it as a scene from Dunkirk.  


Biret:  A heroic scene


Navarro:  Yes. 


Biret:  What is the ultimate goal of these series? 


Navarro:  We are at the edge of climate change, and every year will be worse.  Animals are really at the front line of surviving and this is showing us how climate change is going to affect us.  They act as a mirror for what will happen to us. 


Biret:  You are showing the extraordinary resilience of the animals fighting for their lives.  What can we learn from them? 


Navarro:  We have to re-explore our collective truth to find solutions to survive and create a common ground to all these challenges.



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