Shari O’Donnell, Irish actor and producer has been in the film industry for almost a decade now. She was recently an executive producer of the documentary ‘A brief History of the World Cinema’ after teaming up with an Indian production company. She started off as a theatre producer and even then she was making waves. “When people where putting on shows like ‘Dracula’ in theatres I wanted to make a story about the life of Bram Stoker when he wrote Dracula. I wanted to explore what his life was like, personally and as a writer. So I created a story and found a writer to develop it and ‘Stoker’ was born. That was the start of my producing career. She’s made it on her own, serving as producer from ‘The Lost World of the Crystal Skull’onwards, and in many ways, ushering interesting stories in history into the modern era.
‘A brief history of the world cinema’ is a documentary which outlines the history of film making process, from the invention of motion picture to state of the art 3d technology. It was filmed in India, Argentina and the USA. The documentary captures the evolution of film on the big screen. This particular documentary is extraordinary not only in how it uncovers the development of technology but also in how the artists and the human connection has evolved through storytelling. It features all kinds of film makers talking about their passion for telling stories and how technology effects and enhances their abilities throughout the ages.
Tell us a little about how ‘A brief History of the World Cinema’ came about?
“Well, I had previously met Indian film maker Wins Dieus in 2010 when he auditioned me for a film role in Moonman, a Dracula film series in India. He knew I had a passion for producing as well as acting and there where many evenings when we used to talk about how technology has developed over the years and we both agreed that the ability we have to tell stories now a days is incredible. He literally called me up and asked if I would produce a documentary on ‘A brief history of the World Cinema’. He sold me right there and then. I had previously learned from working with him that the Indian market is the biggest market in the world for film sales. So, I felt like it was a smart option to work with his team.
How do you think the history of cinema has evolved over the years?
“I think it’s certainly remarkable what we can do now of days with technology. I mean just look at movies like Avatar. The whole film experience is different. But in the same sense if you take the bare bones of an actor, you are dealing with human emotion and life experience. That was so vivid in silent movies when film was first invented. They explored laughter, humor and reactions so plainly and began to uncover human truth for the first time on camera. When I look at animated movies today, those cartoon characters remind me of the type of acting that we first saw in the 1900’s. They were very animated and used their eyes and wit alot. Now days we uncover such raw truths in telling the story of the human journey and creating fantasy’s that are literally beyond our wildest imagination. But what’s very rapidly evolved is our ability to connect as human beings which I think is the greatest gift on earth that we can give to ourselves.”
Can you talk a little about collaborating with Indian film makers and the Indian film market?
“I guess initially I had a good attitude towards Wins. We had a set of parameters as far as what we felt the story was about, but within those parameters. I thought to myself there’s no point in having a director like him and then tying their hands. I wanted to work with him because of his talent and his vision, and we worked together very closely on the story and set the parameters together. He wanted to make a great story, so it all turned out extremely well. As it turns out he was just like a kid in a candy store [laughs]. He loved the challenge, he lived up to it, and he exceeded all expectations. So I think there are no obvious things I could say about working with a film maker because he is from India” (She Laughs).
“In terms of making the documentary, I knew it was right to make it directly for the Indian film market because it was by Indian Film Makers who knew their audience well. I know a lot of people associate singing and dancing with the Indian Film World and I can’t speak on their behalf. But I do feel like they definitely like film just as much as a western person, but they prefer it to be told in a different way. That said, we have been nominated for so many awards around the world, not just India. So I’m excited about that.
The documentary was released in May 2013 in India and set to be released worldwide in August 2013 and will be available on TV, Livestream and DVD sale.
A Special Op-Ed Piece by Jouri Smith