5Q's w/David Mrazek "From Billions to None" Director
#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 140 characters?
A species of billions was quickly driven to extinction by us in North America. Abundant resources CAN go away if we’re not careful.
#2: What do you want the Borrego FilmFestival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?
These birds could literally fill the entire sky when they flew over. - sometimes for days at a time. It went dark and the temperature dropped. The sound of the flocks could get so loud that you might see a rifle shoot, but you wouldn’t hear the gunshot. Passenger pigeons were a force of nature like nothing that exists today. And they flew over most of the United States and into Canada.
#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.
I have a background in historical public television documentaries - while I lived in Los Angeles: historical docs about WWI, a history of commercial aviation, Woodrow Wilson, the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. I now live in Chicago and I’m continuing to make documentaries while also working as a freelance producer of videos for non-profits, commercials as well as digital videos for the web. The web is a wide world of evolving video content.
#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
It’s never easy to get funding, even when you think the topic is eminently fundable. But I should have known this lesson already! Hope springs eternal. Oh yeah, and crowdfunding can work if you can tap into a strong network. We had the birding community.
#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
The film had a good run on Public TV fall of 2014, (9/1/14 was the centennial of the extinction of the species) and "Earth Week" 2015 on PBS World. It currently has an educational distributor and is being sold to libraries, schools, universities, etc. We’ve got a cool curriculum guide that really makes the topic and its ancillary subjects very accessible to young people, which I’m very excited about. We’re still trying to sell it to foreign television networks and next year we push forward with VOD and possible sales in some retail venues. I’m developing other projects while working as a freelance producer.