Featured Filmmaker: Paul Lazarus, Director and Producer of “Slingshot”

Accomplished Producer and Director Paul Lazarus is in town for the Maui Film Festival, visiting from Los Angeles. According to his IMDB profile, most recently he directed “Pretty Little Liars” for ABC Family, “The Middle,” “Better Off Ted,” “Samantha Who?” and “Ugly Betty” for ABC, the new “90210” for the CW network and “Big Time Rush” for Nickelodeon. Past shows include: “Friends,” Psych,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Las Vegas,” “Grounded For Life,” “Mad About You,” “LA Law,” “Melrose Place,” “Dream On” and the pilot for MTV’s “2Gether.”

SLINGSHOT, his most recent documentary project, focuses on world-changer and inventor Dean Kamen (widely known for inventing the Segway) and the “Slingshot”, a portable vapor compression distiller that provides fresh drinking water to even the most remote, most desperate villages on the planet.

Tonight at 8pm, in a special FREE screening sponsored by Whole Foods at “Toes in the Sand” Cinema on Wailea Beach, Paul Lazarus introduces the Hawaii Premiere of SLINGSHOT to our Maui Audience.

Before he left Los Angeles for the festival, we were able to ask Paul a few questions for our blog to learn more about his reasons for making the film and the creative transition from working with scripted material toward an unscripted documentary.

Paul Lazarus - SlingShot 2

Lazarus on the set of Slingshot

Q: How did your film come to be? How did you get involved in making it? Where and when did you start?

A: For more than a decade, I have directed and produced numerous short documentary pieces with inventor Dean Kamen about his Ginger (Segway) transportation device and his FIRST robotics competition for students. In 2006, Dean K. told me about his work to clean the world’s water supply and his water purification technology. I thought it would be his most significant contribution and proposed that we turn a camera on the story to show how challenging it is to bring an invention from idea to reality. We started shooting this documentary in 2007.

Q: What was the most challenging thing about making this film?

A: Mostly, I have directed narrative pieces in my career. The biggest challenge was working without a script and discovering the story along the way. Breaking our main camera in rural Ghana was also a challenge. Discovering that some of the best material for the movie came from accidents or totally unplanned moments was always a nice surprise.

Q: What type of experience do you hope the film will bring to viewers?

A: We hope the film will inspire people to action and mainly do three things: 1. help spread the awareness and use of the SlingShot technology all over the world where people need clean water 2. inspire everyone and particularly young people about STEM careers and science/technology in general and 3. help adjust Western attitudes about this precious resource – water in general

Q: What do you think our Maui audiences will appreciate about your film?

A: That it is inspirational, hopeful and filled with humor

Q: What is your connection to Maui?

A: I love Hawaii but I have never been to Maui. Excited to visit for the very first time.

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The Featured Filmmaker series is coordinated and written by the Maui Film Festival’s Filmmaker Liaison and Social Media Director Sara TekulaClick here to see all of the Featured FIlmmaker posts and be sure follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get live updates from the festival.