VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Mike Gunton & Oliver Jeffers On Their Apple TV+ Earth Day Films
Producers Mike Gunton and Oliver Jeffers discussed their new Apple TV+ films, The Year Earth Changed and Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, in their new uInterview.
Gunton’s film, The Year Earth Changed, narrated by David Attenborough, follows stories of how nature reacted when humans went were ordered to stay home around the world. The film has become Apple TV+’s most-viewed unscripted show since its release on April 16.
Gunton said the documentary “really is about what happened, how would nature respond to this historic moment … when humanity was was forced for all sorts of reasons to take the weight off, you know, tread more lightly on the planet.”
“We had no idea, of course, what would happen,” he explained, “but we suspected animals would respond in interesting ways, and so it proved to be. And we cast our web as widely as we could around the world and tried to record natures response.” The crew visits places like Alaska, where whales have been making more appearances as less whale watching boats set sail, and a town in Asia, where for the first time residents can see the Himalayan mountains because the air is clearer.
Gunton said he hopes his film reminds people of the joy they felt when they saw nature “coming out of the woodwork” at the beginning of the pandemic, when they “rediscovered nature.”
“What we’re really trying to do is make people think about how we do impact the natural world,” he said. “Every action we take, no matter how little we may think we’re impacting nature, is significant.”
Jeffer’s film, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth based on his best-selling children’s book, shows the vast diversity of living as a human on Earth from the perspective of a 7-year-old child who discovers a run-down museum exhibit that magically comes to life to show him parts of the world outside of his own experiences.
“Even though, every single one of us, we play the starring role in the film of our lives,” he said, “it’s very important to remember that there are many, many other people on this planet, over seven and a half billion. And that is a lot, but there is technically enough for everyone if we all share a little bit, so the most important thing is to be kind.”
Jeffer explained that the movie “began life as a book when he was first born, just about really the very simple, basic principles of what it is to be a human being alive on the planet in the 21st century because it occurred to me, whenever we brought him back from the hospital, when he was two days old that he knew absolutely nothing and it was going to be up to us to teach him every single thing, and how overwhelming that felt.”
“It was very reassuring in just how simple the most important core basic values of being alive today are,” he said.