Spotlighting Charles Post's Banff Finalist Film: 'Sky Migrations'

In the world of filmmaking, music can be key for setting apart amateur productions from  professional ones.  As we discovered in our Sound Lesson series with Kevin Matley, original scores play a bigger part than most audiences realize, ultimately establishing an immersive environment. 

While our Original Music Team is constantly crafting music to guide such creative projects, Marmoset also equips filmmakers with cinematic, licensable music that's readily available from the searchable catalog. And when the right song matches to picture, a film's story is powerfully punctuated.

In the case of renowned ecologist and filmmaker, Charles Post, storytelling became a useful tool crafted from his journey as a field scientist. Growing up in Northern California, Post was regularly surrounded by nature, fascinated and intrigued by  the changes natural environments undergo — his attention specifically piqued when a group of fish faced rapid and sudden decline.

"This kind of pushed me down this path of realizing our ecosystems were existing because we let them exist, or are in peril and decline because we let them." 

After returning to UC Berkeley for graduate school, Post wrestled with his intentions in the science community, seeking out a different path where he could apply his knowledge and expertise.  "My first day of graduate school, for better or for worse, I knew I didn't want to be a field scientist," says Post. "And the reason why is because I was noticing my peers who spent so much of their life working on these scientific questions and trying to find ways to inform policy — and how the public engages with science and the outdoors — I noticed there was this huge gap."

When Post dug deeper, he began identifying the trouble area his fellow researchers frequently faced: there was a disconnect in how their work was being communicated. 

"I also realized I probably wasn’t the most passionate empirical scientist," says Post. "I was more excited about telling the story of science to people. And that kind of sparked the conversation."

Woodward, Lowe, and Post stand atop the brow of New Mexico’s Manzano Mountains in the last rays of light on the last day of filming for  Sky Migrations .

Woodward, Lowe, and Post stand atop the brow of New Mexico’s Manzano Mountains in the last rays of light on the last day of filming for Sky Migrations.

Post explains how in his field, currency is essentially how well one understands a place — leveraging visuals, like photographs and video to convey observations best. Seeing this as an opportunity to lean in, the researcher began sharpening his storytelling knife.

"In order to be a good scientist, you have to communicate what you’re finding. So for me, it quickly became visually dominated, thinking about how can I tell these stories?"

Navigating down this creative path with academia in the background, Post began exploring more opportunities to help other scientists share their findings through effective mediums like documentary filmmaking and social channels. In a way, the endeavor opened up a platform where exciting yet often overlooked discoveries could be easily accessible to all walks of life.

In Sky Migrations, a documentary directed by Charles Post, Max Lowe and Forest Woodward — the film follows an epic journey of migrating raptors. While there's plenty of gorgeous footage showing up-close rare visuals of the soaring subjects themselves, the heart of the movie is the narrative and how it unfolds; the story invites the audience in, delivering information that prompts a lengthier discussion on conservation. 

As the film unfolds, so does its emotional stirring soundtrack — including "Looking Back" by Philadelphia based The Earth & Arrow. The title card's personable graphics and guiding music set up the documentary's mood, everything feels lighthearted, approachable. It's a journey that prompts curiousness and hopefully even proactiveness. 

Sky Migrations is currently in the Banff circuit and is being showcased in the "Adventure Without Limits" program throughout the United States. Check out the festival's full rundown here. Catch a viewing at Revolution Hall April 13 - 15, 2018 or Cinema 21 on April 20-22, 2018. Snag some tickets and more viewing information here

Posted on April 5, 2018 and filed under Spotlight: Artists, Filmmaking.