Interview With Director of the documentary “Brain Matters” Carlota Nelson
“Brain Matters” is a new documentary by director Carlota Nelson that examines the critical nature of the early years of life.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with the director Carlota Nelson. Below you can check out the trailer for the film followed by my (edited) Interview With Carlota Nelson. Next week I’ll post a full review of the movie.
Question 1: What Inspired You To Make This Film and why did you choose to shoot in locations all around the word?
Carlota Nelson: The movie was commissioned by the Genesis Foundation. Knowledge of neuroscience is limited overall so part of the goal of the movie was to spread that knowledge and make it universal and to show the research and practices that have proven to be effective from around the world. We highlighted the work of the Genesis Foundation in Colombia and holistic programs in Mexico where they have educators and nutritionists and others all working together to help children thrive. We also wanted to highlight what was going on with longitudinal studies like Abecedarian Project in the United States. Overall I am happy that we were able to get a global perspective. We filmed in India, Europe, North America, United Kingdom, Colombia and Mexico.
Question 2: How did you go about researching the brain science film ?
Carlota Nelson: We used the Harvard Center for the Developing Child as a starting off point to get important research. We also worked with with David Fitzpatrick who is CEO and Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience to help translate some of the research and science into ways that made it accessible to everyone. That being said, we really wanted to make sure everything was scientifically accurate so we had an 11 member board of experts and we ran all the information in the film and the analogies we used to describe the information by them to make sure we were always being accurate with the science.
Question 3: What is something that surprised you that you learned during the research for the film?
Carlota Nelson: Going into filming I had knowledge about early childhood development because I had family members who were preschool teachers and my aunt had written books about early childhood. That being said, there were a lot of interesting things I learned though like the number of words a child heard was tied to the number of words a child said or how your grandmother’s nutrition can impact your development. I learned a lot about the importance of play. Everything I learned even made me reflect on the way I interact with my nieces and nephews.
Question 4: What do you hope politicians and policy makers take from this film ?
Carlota Nelson: That investing in early childhood takes time and money but it is a great investment and research by economists like James Heckman and others have shown that there is no better investment.
Governments should learn that investing early saves money in long term social costs and that supporting families with things like maternity leave is also very important. If parents and families are tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed then it will have a negative impact on children’s development so policies are needed to support the whole family. In addition it’s important to note while early childhood development is very important it is not the only important part of life and other times like adolescence are also critical periods.
Question 5: Do you think your movie could be used as part of a college curriculum on child development and at what age do you think the film might be appropriate for children to watch ?
Carlota Nelson: I think the movie can be part of a bigger movement to educate people. As part of the movie we are creating a website that will have more resources for people about early childhood development. In addition, there will be question and answer guides for people who exhibit the film to facilitate discussion about the film and the research. We hope to possibly even update the film and website with more facts and research as we learn more about early childhood development and also possibly use some of our footage that did not make the film as part of future resources. I think that children might be able to watch and learn from shorter snippets from the film and that teens could definitely learn a lot too. Everyone can learn from a film like this about how your brain can be rewired from a young age
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
*Ill be posting a review of the film later in the week *This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
*Ill be posting a review of the film later in the week