Many, many years ago, I was on an island off the east coast of Australia with a bunch of Brits. One evening, after a beach-fire-cooked meal that came with a side of sand, we went to the ocean for a late-night walkabout. With the warm water rolling over our feet, we stopped and looked up at the stars. Then I had a thought (it happens).
Does this sky look different from the sky y’all see back home?
None of us could pick out any dippers, big or small, but we all agreed that, yeah, there was something different about the sky down under.
I hadn’t thought of this moment for a while, until I laid back in the Telus World of Science Zeidler Dome to watch One Sky, a film by Sébastien Gauthier. It’s actually a collection of seven short films, from people all over the world, including Canada. “You’ll probably recognize some of your sky, but you will also see skies from other people around the world,” Gauthier says. “And as soon as you change the place, your location on Earth, the sky is slightly different. We all see the same sky, but it changes. So the stories are about that — that even though we are slightly different on Earth, we are all the same after all.
Gauthier first heard of this project about four years ago, as part of an international collaboration (the One Sky Project) between China, India, Japan, Canada and the United States to make a giant telescope. Some of the people involved in the project thought it would be good public outreach to tell stories from the local communities. They gathered pitches over the next couple years, then put out a call to find a producer to put them altogether. Gauthier, who as a kid dreamed of being an astronomer and has made over 20 “fulldome” films, eagerly answered the call.
“All the films are different,” he says. “Some of them are with real people, some have traditional illustrations, there are computer generated images, and so on. So I proposed to have very different artistic style for every film.” He started with the initial script and spent many days with every one of the different communities to understand their stories. “So to the Innu people, in Canada, I realized that dreams are very important. So that’s why the film starts with somebody dreaming, like they’re inside a wolverine, floating in space. And that was not part of the original script.
Gauthier says there are two things he really likes: being in a city surrounded by millions of people, or isolated in a desert or the middle of an ocean, where there’s a whole lot of “nothing” until he sees a small plant, or a mouse, or a shooting star, and “it makes everything in the world because you get nothing and then suddenly you have something. I always maximize my imagination, and imagine all the possibilities. I think what I prefer is imagining what is between the stars, but always in connection with us here on Earth.
Make your galactic connection today.