A force so powerful it was revered as a deity by ancient civilizations. “Hurricane” is the journey of one such storm named Lucy, which explores these weather systems’ true meaning to our daily lives.
Drifting across the planet, Lucy’s winds encounter intimate stories of nature and mankind. Throughout the film these are given resonance by the reflections of hurricane survivors, whose personal experiences are at times deeply moving, at times inspiring and at times breathtaking in the scope of their vision.
To follow the formation of the storm earth is viewed from space. Three-dimensional imagery accentuates the unique perspective of astronauts following Lucy’s evolution into greatness. The epic begins in Africa. Lucy’s capricious nature is revealed as a sudden howling sand storm engulfs a town with fear but is also herald to the coming of the monsoon: rains that gift new life to the plains of Senegal.
From bubbling clouds embarking on a three thousand mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean, Lucy is transformed into a raging monster five hundred miles across. Revolving slowly through the Caribbean and gathering strength – she destroys the forests of El Yunque in Puerto Rico, shatters coral reefs fringing the south coast of Cuba and forces an immense surge of storm tides deep into the Gulf State of Louisiana in the United States.
Meteorologists and emergency crews battle valiantly to predict the storm’s path, strength and threat to the public but, unheeding Lucy shatters communities in Cuba where she strikes as a full category 4 hurricane with winds of over 130 miles per hour. Entire neighbourhoods destroyed: both young and old coming to terms with loss and grief in their new dawn. Nature suffers her fair share too, with deaths, injuries and habitats lost.
While we explore the intimate chaos of houses and lives laid waste, the human witnesses of hurricanes speak to us one final time. Their message is not one of depression and hopelessness. Far from it: for them the hurricane imparts strength of new purpose; visions of an exuberant nature revitalized by the storm; hopes to rise up anew and create a better future.
Andy Byatt’s lifelong fascination with nature founded an award-winning film career, including 19 years working for the BBC Natural History Unit. Specialising in the underwater realm, he was a key player in the BBC’s landmarks, the feature film Deep Blue (2003 – grossing $34 million in the box office), “The Blue Planet” (2001) and “Planet Earth” (2006).
He left the BBC in 2007 to take his young family sailing so that they could have new experiences of wildlife and cultures for themselves, in the Caribbean and USA. They developed a healthy respect for hurricanes during long summers of waiting for the season of risk to pass.
Cyril Barbançon was born in 1971 in the Haute Savoie in the French Alps, he spent his early years with his family in the mountains, experiencing the joys and hardships of rural isolation.
In 1998, he made his first documentary film « The Red Dwarf » about the life of red squirrels. The film was broadcast internationally and won numerous prizes in festivals.
On the heels of this experience, he went on to direct films for Arte, France 5, France 3 and Canal Plus. At ease with camera technology and the information systems which have revolutionized digital photography, he traveled widely, as a DOP and director, filming a multitude of species from killer whales in Antarctica, to penguins, humpback whales, lynx, bats, marmots and wolves. He built up a solid experience both technical and in the field.
A meeting with Alain Derobe (the 3D pioneer in France) in 2009 offered Cyril a new challenge in the technicality of stereo images. In order to shoot his first films in 3D, he built his own 3D rig.
In 2010 a discussion in the middle of the desert on a shoot with Jacqueline Farmer marked the beginnings of making a film for cinema about the wind. « Hurricane : a Wind Odyssey » 4 years of shooting 3D imagery across the world, in the heart of hurricanes, were to follow.
A childhood close to the land and nature founded Jacqueline Farmer’s lifelong interest in attempting to understand the natural world and our place in it.
Following post graduate studies in biology and broadcast journalism, she went on to work for the BBC World Service, Radio France International, and various press outlets before joining Saint Tho- mas in 2002, where she has helmed award winning science and natural history projects as a director and producer for the past 13 years, working with National Geographic, Discovery, France 2, Arte, Channel Four, NHK, TVE, SVT etc. on numerous films and series. « Hurricane » is her first feature film.