Walking 2.0

Filmmaker Q&A with Director Dan Hayes

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

ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) to stand upright, walk, turn, and climb and descend stairs*. ReWalk is the first exoskeleton to receive FDA clearance for personal and rehabilitation use in the United States. *Stair function not currently available in US.


What motivated you to make this film?

My motivation to make this video was because I felt it was a really representative story about where we are as a species in terms of our relationship to technology. The idea that someone who is paraplegic or quadriplegic could potentially regain some function of their limbs through a rehabilitative device is mind-blowing and awesome.


What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

I won’t answer this question. 🙂 For audience to decide.


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

What’s the point of this video?
What did you learn?
Did it make you think about the topic in a new way? How?


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

Robert continues to work with ReWalk to improve their product and is regularly working out and walking using the ReWalk. He does demos for groups and others who are interested in learning more.


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

To discover more stories like this, sign up at www.freethinkmedia.com. To learn more about ReWalk, visit: http://rewalk.com/.


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.):

www.freethinkmedia.com, http://rewalk.com/, www.youtube.com/freethink


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

The Maysles Brothers and their pioneering cinema verite work had a profound impact on my approach to filmmaking. The foundation of a good piece starts with respecting your subject for who they are.


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

We use the Sony PXW-FS7 and do a lot of pre-production for our stories.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this film.

I was testing out one of Robert’s chairs and totally fell off it backwards in his apartment, right after he warned me not to do it. Embarrassing but also pretty funny.


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

We use extensive pre-interviews and put together a Script and Storyboard before we arrive to help our production team understand the vision for a piece. This allows us to help our subjects speak in an authentic voice but also helps us focus before we start editing.


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

Pretty close! We changed the structure a bit to make the reveal of Robert walking more dramatic when he visits the school. We also decided to include his wife Vivian, which wasn’t in our original plan.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Watching the kids see him walk in the school was incredibly powerful. All the teachers were taking pictures with their cell phones as well.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Give yourself a deadline and make stuff! When I started, I did a lot of slide shows with music, short wedding videos and entered contests. All these things helped me build my skills.


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

Interacting with the people we are profiling. Everyone has an interesting story and being a filmmaker allows me to meet new and interesting people with different passions. Basically it’s a dream job.


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

I always bring my iPhone which has a meditation app called Headspace on it. Every evening before a shoot, I iron my clothes and lay them out, I print all my questions and release forms and the next morning, I wake up early and meditate to get myself in the right mindset. I feel like this helps me stay calm and present with the people I’m interacting with.


What have you learned about the value and impact of the project?

Human beings have an incredible ability to find new solutions and drive progress. It’s made so crystal clear by the people in these stories. It is a privilege for us to be able to capture that.



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