THE ALLIANCE, 60min,. USA, DOC
Directed by Amanda Jean Kowalski
During the Arctic winter an intrepid oceanographer attempts to collect rare climate data, but his greatest combatant isn’t the weather - it’s the Italian Navy.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was initially hired by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to go on the ship to make a short doc about what it takes to get science done in extreme weather conditions, but it quickly became clear that the more significant story actually revolved around the relationship between the scientists and the Navy captain. So in the end this project morphed into a feature documentary that became a passion project for both myself and for the chief scientist featured in the film, Dr. Robert Pickart. Additionally I'm motivated to tell stories like this because I think it's important for people to see all of the challenges that come with trying to advance our understanding of the planet and our future.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this film?
So long! It took me five years.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
While I was on the ship I didn't know how the story was going to unfold, so I was essentially filming non-stop because I didn't want to miss a crucial moment. That meant I had so much footage to organize and so many branches of the story that had to be condensed into a coherent narrative thread. So editing was definitely the most challenging aspect of the process.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?
I loved getting the feedback! It was really validating to hear that, for the most part, people were picking up on the things I intended the audience to pick up on. For example, I really wanted to show the audience the camaraderie among the scientists and several people commented on that. Additionally it was important for me to send the message that getting this important data is a really complicated process on many levels, and a couple people made comments along those lines as well.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I started out as a documentary photographer and I feel like it's been a steady and predictable path towards documentary filmmaking.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I love the documentary American Movie, directed by Chris Smith. I watch it at least a couple times a year!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking
I'm new to the festival experience. This is my first feature film, so this has been really valuable.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Easy! FilmFreeway takes away the logistical struggle of submitting films to festivals.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I can eat pizza every day all day.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'm currently editing my next feature documentary about an evangelical Elvis impersonator who uses his star power to hold fundraising concerts for his wife who has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.