Northern Lights doc released

A local filmmaker has released his documentary about the northern lights so people can at least get a virtual glimpse of a spectacular night sky during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cristiano Saturno is originally from Portugal and now lives in Prince George. He spends a few months a year as a northern lights guide up north.

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"I made the documentary two years ago," Saturno said. "I've always been very passionate about the northern lights since I first I saw the northern lights in Finland like 10 years ago or something like that."

When he moved to North America two years ago, it was with a do-it-yourself attitude, spending his first winter in Alaska, Saturno said. 

"I was alone filming most of the time with my camera, my microphone so it's not a very professional movie," he added. "I spent almost two months there sleeping in a cabin in central Alaska and the idea was to shoot the northern lights at night and during the day I was doing interviews with local people about the northern lights. My idea was to do a documentary not about science. I don't explain them and solar winds, I was more looking for emotions of people who have seen the northern lights."

Saturno spent a lot of time interviewing the local residents and then combined those with many images of the Aurora Borealis crossing the night sky. Once he completed the documentary, Saturno submitted the movie to some independent film festivals including Russia, Australia and Portugal.

He put aside the documentary as he took on the duties of a northern lights guide in Yellowknife.

During the time between when he completed his documentary and today, Saturno continued to film the northern lights and he said he's learned a few things by way of technique during that time. 

"Just last week I thought to myself, well, now with all these stories about the coronavirus everyone is inside in their houses people need things to see," Saturno. "People need new things to see at home so I opened it up."

There are certain aspects to the movie he is not proud of, he admitted.

"But now what's done is done," Saturno said. He won't change it, he added. He's moving on to other projects.

He's contemplating doing short films moving forward.

These will be better showcases for his favourite subject, the Aurora Borealis, he said.

Saturno returns to Prince George every summer because the best viewing of the northern lights in Yellowknife ends in mid-April. He took to selling his photographs at local markets during the summer, which were very well received.

"People love to talk with me about their experience with the northern lights and their memories," Saturno said. "It's beautiful to see how some lights in the sky can have an emotional impact in people."

To check out his documentary click here.

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