The director of The School of Film & TV, Christopher Morris has been working behind-the-scenes with the makers of an extraordinary documentary that receives its world premiere at The Sundance Film Festival later this month.
Directed by Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel, When Two Worlds Collide tells the powerful story of Alberto Pizango, a Peruvian indigenous leader, who resists the environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by government and big business.
Morris was brought in from the beginning to help shape the film.
“I had no idea this would take 8 years to complete,’ says Morris, ‘initially I helped Heidi and Mathew with story ideas, but as the unbelievable events unfolded in front of their camera on the other side of the world, my main role changed dramatically,’
“Hiking through jungle at night, being stranded on the river, almost bitten by a snake and nearly crashing a 3 seater plane’, are just some of the day-to-day hazards that the director Heidi Brandenburg says she faced, but when their main character Alberto Pizango is accused of murder and went into hiding with the filmmakers, the dangers were ramped up and she was,“threatened with deportation, our phones constantly tapped and then of course going into exile with the most wanted man in Peru.”
The filming continued for years “but my communication with Heidi was only possible through fake email accounts’ explains Morris, ‘as she was being pursued by the authorities along with Pizango. At this stage, my role became one of an advisor to these young and determined filmmakers. They were on their own, but perhaps the calm voice of their old film lecturer on the other side of the world helped alittle!”
Eventually though, news of the film began to attract attention and the intervention of The Sundance Institute gave the production, financial and intellectual traction on an international stage. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for filmmakers to create and thrive. The Institute’s grants and mentorship programs are dedicated to developing new work and new talent.
At that point the film went into the edit in America and Morris began watching numerous cuts via the internet, advising on structure and honing the story.
“During this journey Chris has been an invaluable and knowledgeable mentor to our team,’ says Heidi, ‘we admire his ability to flesh out the essence of a story and help us craft When Two Worlds Collide with such a unique sensibility”.
The world premiere of When Two Worlds Collide (Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel) at The Sundance Film Festival is on 22nd January. Previous films that have premiered with Sundance Institute assistance include Beasts of the Southern Wild, Whiplash, Blackfish, The Cove, An Education, Precious and Tangerine.
For more information about WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE, visit https://www.facebook.com/whentwoworldscollide/ or http://www.yachaywasifilms.co.uk/.