Variety Streaming Room: Television FYC
After the critical and box office success of “Wonder Woman,” star Gal Gadot and her husband, Jaron Varsano, began searching for real-life stories that could ignite positivity and inspire…
After the critical and box office success of “Wonder Woman,” star Gal Gadot and her husband, Jaron Varsano, began searching for real-life stories that could ignite positivity and inspire other people. Together, the duo serve as executive producers and is produced by their company Pilot Wave Motion Pictures.
“Jaron met with Ryan [Pallota], who is one of our executive producers, and he did this amazing short about this amazing Brazilian ballerina from the favelas in Rio and we both completely fell in love with her determination and her leadership,” Gadot said.
The Brazilian dancer’s name is Tuany, a 23-year-old who started her own dance company for young girls in one of Rio De Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas. She is one of six series subjects in National Geographic’s documentary series “Impact with Gal Gadot.”
With Gadot introducing each episode, the documentary short series follows six extraordinary “wonder women” that are making a powerful impact on communities around the world.
In the Variety Streaming Room presented by National Geographic, senior artisans editor Jazz Tangcy spoke with the cast and crew of “Impact” to discuss the process of seeking out these women’s stories, filming during the COVID-19 pandemic and the power of positivity.
Series director and executive producer Vanessa Roth said her crew had locked in on six stories that would span different countries around the world. It was only a few weeks before they planned to film an episode in Sierra Leone when the pandemic began and the entire crew was quarantined at home. Despite the circumstances, Roth said they didn’t want their momentum to stop.
“With a lot of very deliberate decision-making on how to do this safely, we decided that the stories that we were going to do this season would focus on the stories of women that were impacting their communities before the pandemic, and then expanded their reach and their impact even during the pandemic,” Roth said.
One of the main ways Roth and her crew found their story subjects was by looking through social media. This is how they found Kelsey Ellis, the subject of the episode “Surf Sisters.” After losing her twin sister to COVID-19, Ellis turned her grief into impact by healing others through a surf therapy program in Half Moon Bay, Ca.
“Surf therapy isn’t about teaching our participants to become amazing surfers or even to stand up on the board,” Ellis said. “It more so provides an opportunity to come together in community.”
Kameryn Everett, a 20-year-old figure skating coach from Detroit, is the series subject in the premiere episode “Ice Breakers.” The installment highlights her life dedication to coaching and empowering young girls of color both on and off the ice.
“I just want to be a positive light and I want somebody to take from my light and pay it forward,” Everett said. “I am 100 percent behind the idea of this series and the overall objective and I believe it does truly start small.”
Watch the full conversation above.