Grey Power

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Lara van Raay

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

David Attenborough

What motivated you to make your impact video?

We are hearing a lot of negativity about “boomer” generation. When I would go to protests I would see so many grey haired people I really wanted to show that it’s not just the students or young people taking a stand. Many of our retired and older generation are really making a difference as they have the time, the passion and often nothing to lose.

Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it: 

Arri and Sony A7sii and A7siii

Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story. 

I used a transition technique of going into a colour of the scene like the white of a sky to transition to a new location. I wanted the film to have a small technical difference to drive it along and make it more fun to watch.

How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be? 

I had interviewed 6 activists and was going to shoot with 5, but ended up only shooting with 4 due to health issues of one of the subjects. The interviews were long and so it was important that they got to say what they were about, but keep the political points to a minimum. This way the audience wouldn’t get to alienated. I wanted older people who were not political to not be put off too much. So it is a soft approach.

Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this impact video: 

I loved spending time in the forest at camp amongst the big trees and seeing how a professional blockade is set up. The work they do is so important.

What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Communicating the issues of the world is activism. It’s needed and a big part of the process. People need to see and know what is going on. So keep going!

What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

Screening and sharing films and talking about it. People’s eyes light up and if this film influences people to get active and protect our planet then I feel it is my life’s purpose.

What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

Gumboots. They handle every situation.

Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:

Bob Brown Foundation are working to protect precious habitat from logging. Extinction rebellion are raising awareness to climate crisis. Neighbours of fish farms are raising awareness to the damage industrial fish farms have on our shared waters and precious ecosystems. They all work to protect our planet from harm.

Please share a personal story about your experience making this impact video:

There are so many good people out there trying to raise awareness and doing what they can to protect our planet. Meeting some of these people has been an absolute joy. Elevating their voices has meant a lot to them and has meant a lot to me.

What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

To get active. Everyone can do something to help protect our planet. As simple as getting our money out of banks that invest it in fossil fuel projects, to standing in front of bulldozers. Putting solar on – using whatever power you have to do what you can. We can all do something. So I hope this video inspires people to take that first step into a life of action. Many people feel helpless, and I want this film to motivate them into a better state of mind through doing something/action. 

Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion: 

What can we all do to help our planet? How can being active help with mental health? You are never too old.

Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the video. How have things changed or not changed?

Not sure yet.

What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

It’s a personal thing so people can activate by themselves and not part of a film’s campaign. Though I could aim to get a website up and change that and help people find a cause.

Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video:

I can’t on my phone.



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