Louie Schwartzberg is accustomed to looking for the good. Best known for the stunning imagery he creates using time-lapse photography, the renowned cinematographer, director and producer has shown us the beauty of nature in films like Fantastic Fungi and the 3D IMAX film Mysteries of the Unseen World with National Geographic.
With his new film, Gratitude Revealed, Louie once again shares his powerful, inspiring cinematography and reinforces it with a lasting lesson about the different ways gratitude presents itself in our lives. He also explores the role of gratitude and how it helps us through difficult time.
Louie says this film came to him naturally because he has practiced gratitude his entire life: “Part of it, I think, has to do with growing up with parents who are Holocaust survivors,” he says, adding that it taught him to consciously appreciate all life’s many gifts — such as food on the table, a roof over your head, a steady job, or a family.
“Those are all things that created like heaven on earth for [my parents]. So I’ve always been very conscious of just being grateful for the little things in life.”
Awakened by Covid
During the pandemic, as people became increasingly isolated and anxious, Louie knew he wanted to create something that would be purposeful, calming and could help create a sense of connections.
“I was moved by how society was disconnected and the small things in life — whether meeting a friend for coffee or hugging a family member — were taken away from them. I felt compelled to show my gratitude for our world during such a complex and unpredictable time. So I decided to make Gratitude Revealed.”
The film features interviews with a wide range of people who embrace and embody different attributes of gratitude. Like his previous films, Gratitude Revealed is an immersive experience that says as much with images as it does with words.
Louie says that he had already filmed many of these interviews, and during the pandemic he saw the opportunity to thread them together with the theme of gratitude. He sorted through thousands of hours of footage to create a story that he manages to tell in less than 90 minutes.
From respected thought leaders like Jack Kornfield, Michael Beckwith, and Deepak Chopra to entertainment industry names including Brian Grazer and Norman Lear, he covers a surprising range of practices and insights. But he also was intentional about telling the story of gratitude through the eyes of everyday people.
“I didn’t want it to be a bunch of like thought leaders strung together because you could certainly say, ‘Well, this is sort of an elitist movie, and people in Middle America wouldn’t maybe relate to it.’ I’ve got people in the Deep South. I got people in red states. I want us to be able to look at those folks and go, ‘What can we learn from them?’,” he says.
As part of the gratitude journey, viewers will meet a blind ice climber, an Appalachian rug weaver, a Louisiana bluesman named Little Milton, a group of cliff dancers, and go inside a program that teaches comedy skills to women who were formerly incarcerated. With each interview, listeners hear a compelling story that offers another window into the power and practice of gratitude.
“There are all these like remarkable people, as well as ordinary people, that are sharing their wisdom with you,” Louie says.
He hopes that, in a time when political divides continue to widen and the evening news delivers dire reports that can leave people feeling hopeless, watching Gratitude Revealed can provide a bit of healing.
“I think this can be the antidote to that,” he says. “It’s not the total solution, but it’s a baby step in the right direction.”
To learn more about the film, which was released September 16, visit gratituderevealed.com.