Exploring science

Marion Cotillard and Luc Jacquet on how film can promote understanding.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Marion Cotillard on how she met Luc Jacquet:
Marion Cotillard on how she met Luc Jacquet: "I wanted to make a movie on the forest. Luc heard about it. It's called Il Était Une Forêt, Once Upon A Forest…" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

In my conversation with Luc Jacquet on Wild-Touch and his documentary Ice And The Sky about the work of glaciologist Claude Lorius, which had its World Premiere as the closing film of the Cannes Film Festival, he mentioned a director who first encouraged him to make films. His name is Hans-Ulrich Schlumpf, the director of Der Kongress der Pinguine.

It was good advice for Luc, who became the director of March Of The Penguins (La Marche De L'Empereur), The Fox And The Child (Le Renard Et L'Enfant), narrated by Kate Winslet, and Il Était Une Forêt (Once Upon A Forest) on botanist and ecologist Francis Hallé.

Marion Cotillard at the launch of Ice & Sky:
Marion Cotillard at the launch of Ice & Sky: "I've been a huge fan of Luc's work since the beginning." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

On a beautiful spring morning in New York, he was joined by Marion Cotillard in Le Skyroom at the French Institute Alliance Française to present Ice & Sky, Wild-Touch's educational program about climate change. Cotillard lends her voice for the English language version.

Here are some of the Ice & Sky highlights.

Luc Jacquet: What is important to me now, in this issue about global warming, is to find ways to send a very clear message. It's important to break down the walls between science and art, between children and teachers. The reason why I'm so grateful that Marion gave us all her time. It is very important now to set an example.

Marion Cotillard: I've been a huge fan of Luc's work since the beginning. He is very smart and creative and has put together an amazing team. His commitment to art, to science, to education is for me an example. I really wanted to be a part of this educational project. When science meets art, that creates an energy that creates the desire to learn.

Glaciologist Claude Lorius in Antarctica - Luc Jacquet's 3D documentary Ice And The Sky
Glaciologist Claude Lorius in Antarctica - Luc Jacquet's 3D documentary Ice And The Sky

LJ: If everybody with their skill, was going to do something, we would be going very fast in advancing society. Of course, I'm like an utopist, but I think it's not so bad to be a utopist. We are releasing the educational platform today… We need this universal symbol, and the penguin can symbolise what happens with nature. I really want to give the opportunity to our children to be able to film these penguins. That's something very important to me. After that, next year, we are going to launch a big program on biodiversity.

Biodiversity needs explanation. We are probably going to launch the first film on the coral reefs. All of the living creatures on earth are connected and we are one of these… I am doing now work with children and teachers to help them tell stories by themselves. Because we have a lot of skills around us, screenwriters etc. We are going to work with children to help them to know how to film, how to write a story, how to edit a story.

After that, we are going with them to the Arctic and they are going to be there for ten days and their only obligation is to transmit by themselves what they learned. This is something very important to me. We are working as well on an innovation lab.

Luc Jacquet on Marion Cotillard lending her voice in support:
Luc Jacquet on Marion Cotillard lending her voice in support: "The reason why I'm so grateful that Marion gave us all her time." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

MC: I had a project. I wanted to make a movie on the forest. Luc heard about it. It's called Il Était Une Forêt, Once Upon A Forest, and we started to exchange thoughts. And then I had my baby. But that is how we met…. [The importance of Ice & Sky is] to give people the opportunity to learn and to learn scientific facts that are validated by scientists in a very creative form. Today, ignorance can be a very serious crime.

LJ: We have to commit more and more and more people to this very obvious question. Do you really want to leave that world or do you want to create a better world? It's really a question of commitment for each of us.

MC: Yes, if you create the desire to educate yourself. That's what happened to me. I had this education from my parents which was based on respect. They didn't really teach me environmental rules, but by educating me the way they did, I started to notice things that were not logical. I wanted to understand why we did such illogical things. I think it's very important to have your own responsibility. I would say awareness is still super low.

Investigating the depths of time in Wild-Touch's Ice & Sky
Investigating the depths of time in Wild-Touch's Ice & Sky

We need to all together raise it. We are very smart animals. Honestly, if we looked at each other, we are an amazing fascinating animal. We can destroy, and we're very good at it. And we can create, and we are also very good at it. So we just need to find the right balance. Balance is everything. By being inspired by people like Luc, I think, is already the beginning of a solution.

The goal of Ice & Sky, under the supervision of Luc Jacquet and in cooperation with climate and environmental researchers, is to offer "videos shot in various regions of the world, exclusive animated films, storyboard diagrams and interviews of world leading researchers" to be supported by "teaching material drafted in collaboration with prominent climate experts, under the guidance of teachers sharing their expertise with Wild-Touch teams."

Read what Connect4Climate's Francis James Dobbs had to say on Film4Climate and how the film industry can go green.

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