Multi-Award Winner - August 2021 Edition
. Best Health Film
. Best Director Documentary Feature
. Best Producer
. Best First Time Filmmaker Feature (Nominee)
KARL ANDRÉ TALBOT
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
KARL ANDRÉ TALBOT
Karl André Talbot is a Canadian businessman, an international marketing advisor and a film producer. After producing 30-minute documercials for two decades, Karl jumped in a new format for story telling, documentaries and movies.
"Silenced, as mercury rises" was his first full documentary. Karl also just finished filming a new documentary coming out in 2022 called "Inactivity Pandemic". He is presently working on writing two more environmental documentaries and two new movies.
Thank you for this interview, Karl Talbot. Would you like to tell your viewers about your professional journey?
Except for the fact I’ve always been passionate about movies and story telling, I began being interested in filming in 1998. I had launched a business in Quebec which was having a nice success, but I wanted to expand in the United States and was looking for the proper media to expand. I was impressed by the power of infomercials, mostly the 30-minute infomercial format. I kept telling myself, you “own” 30 minutes of television nation wide every day to show how your product is better than others.
I remember watching Ross Perrot, the former candidate at the United States Presidency against Bill Clinton and George Bush, on television in 1992. He aired a 30-minute infomercial on how he would change America if he became the next President. It took him to number one in the polls in a few weeks. To me, that was so powerful.
In 1998 while launching my business, I did some research on longform infomercials and found the world expert in the field was Kevin Harrington. Kevin is the inventor of the infomercial, a major successful businessman and marketing genius. Kevin has generated over 5 billion in sales in his career, that’s without counting all the people he has coached like me and who have had success.
After getting a meeting booked with Kevin, I flew to Florida for what was supposed to be a short 30-minute meeting with him. It turned into a 3-hour meeting with his entire team joining us, followed by a dinner. I came out of that trip with a business partnership, and mostly a mentor that would change my life and career. In fact, I’m thinking, maybe I should get the rights to his life story and do a Hollywood movie about it, lol.
That experience changed my life, and I knew I wanted to be an “on-screen” story teller, a producer. Kevin got me to see the power of a video, the power of “story telling,” long before all the influencers, youtube podcasters and Tik Tok of these days. Since then, I produced many videos, commercials and infomercials and got that connection with the camera. Now, I take that knowledge, and bring it to documentary films and other Hollywood movies we are working on.
When and how did the need to investigate mercury, and inform the people about this issue, become compelling?
The need to investigate mercury began at a medical conference I was attending in 2016. I was asked to film some speakers who were doctors. Not even 15 minutes into the filming, some people came to me asking why I was filming. They seemed nervous. They explained to me that every time a media filmed them, it was to “cancel” them for their views and medical observations on mercury toxicity with some patients. I decided to go around the crowd and talk with other doctors attending the conference.
To my surprise, most of them where initially very nervous at the idea to speak with me. I had to build a relation of trust. So, from filming one conference, me and my team started filming as many experts we could, who accepted to be interviewed. I had a feeling this could lead to a larger story. From the 90-minute conference initially planned, we ended up filming for two days. That was the beginning of "Silenced, as mercury rises".
How long did it take you to complete the documentary, how did you proceed?
If we count in the conference we filmed in 2016, it has taken us 5 years to complete the documentary. In the end we lost a lot of time mostly due to Covid. The other thing that happened is, we changed the angle of the story three times. We began by making a list of people we wanted in the film to tell the story. Then it’s all about building a trust relation with them.
My partner Chad Murdock, who filmed some of the testimonials we have, was an expert at creating that bond during shoots. The objective is to create a conversation, not just getting a camera in their face that makes them nervous. Once you’ve started that conversation, there is a natural flow that can be filmed without the feeling that there is a camera “on you.”
Do you believe that it is "on" the citizens of the world to find and implement the solutions to all the dire environmental issues we are currently facing?
Although citizens need to be part of the process to implement solutions for environmental issues, I do not think it is on citizens alone to find and implement them. Citizens don’t manufacture the goods they need. They simply use them and dispose of the rest. We need a lead from the top deciders like Governments, but also from those who manufacture and sell us goods. “You want me to buy your jeans? Your coffee? Your car? No problem. But implement solutions so I can recycle it. Take mercury. Why do we still find it in casual products like tooth filings, cosmetics, or other products when we know it’s toxic? We need to choose products that do not use mercury. By doing so, we stop the demand for products containing it. This is where the solutions lie. In educating people to buy and use products that have been developed thinking of the environment from the beginning to the end.
To achieve that, we need Governments to give their citizens the proper tools and conditions. I think it is on manufacturers and Governments to lead, and this is an issue for all the reasons we know. Government never changes things unless they can tax it or profit from it. Let’s be honest, we are all slaves to a bunch of others. The majority of us spend 95% of our life going to school athen working for someone else, barely making ends meet until retirement.
Do you plan to make more investigative documentaries on other topics of global concern?
Yes. We just finished filming a movie titled "Inactivity Pandemic", which is now in editing phase. The issue we treat is killing more people than Covid is, every single year. Yet the solutions are so easy to implement. But Governments who hold the solution aren’t doing a thing about it. We hope to bring that story out in February 2022. We are also in the work of producing an environmental film called "Follow the trash". Like I previously said, we will be going up the chain of pollution all the way to the manufacturers. We hope to begin filming that one end of 2022.
What is your take on the ongoing debates around the new anti-Covid vaccines? How do you feel about "the speed factor" in their development?
My feel in the field is that anti-Covid vaccines is a big media propaganda. I’m not saying they don’t exist. They do. And the media using words like “anti-vax” worked like a charm. It sells news and clicks using division. Sad old marketing strategy that still works. Talk to anyone around you, finding an anti-vax is very rare. But… you will find people that fear the new vaccines. That is different. In this crisis, media and politicians should have used unity, empathy and listened to those in fear instead of dividing.
Real anti-vax is probably less than 2% of the population. Most people fear the new vaccines because they don’t have a history of those vaccines. It’s new to all of us. That fear is slowly going down now, because we have given billions of doses worldwide and vaccines have proven they worked and make a positive difference. We now know the vaccines have lower efficacy after a few months, so it’s a learn in progress thing. The fact we pay attention to anti-vax is giving them too much importance, we shouldn’t even talk about them anymore. Vaccines have saved millions of lives. But, that does not mean vaccines are all 100% safe. There is a big difference.
Do you have any advice you'd like to share with the younger generations?
I guess the most important advice I can give to younger generations is to never give up and live “your” life. Never stop. Whatever happens, look forward. Your past is just a lesson to move forward. Live life, love life, love people, whatever differences you feel they may have, remember we all have “love” as a common point and goal. Stick to your dreams. Your generation has access to amazing technology making it easier for you to jump into filmmaking. Have fun, use it, find your story you feel can make a difference, film it and share it to the world, you never know whose life your story may help some day.