“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” Rumi
Sylvie Rokab is the director of Love Thy Nature, an amazing documentary staring Liam Neeson as the narrator. Through this film she takes us into the world of nature where we can learn to appreciate the beauty and wonderment of the natural world.
YT: Why was it important for you to make this film?
I was a nature girl, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro near the beaches and the waterfalls, rivers and lakes. I found that not very many people felt connected to nature and their lifestyles were disconnected. I had a passion to express this artistically; the beauty and power of being connected to nature. I felt nurtured and nourished by the natural world on a personal level. There are films out there about environmental destruction but I could never find a film about our connection to nature. This started as a journey eight years ago.
YT: What was your source of inspiration?
Nature itself was the inspiration. Feeling the need and desire to be connected to nature in so many ways really inspired me. I love filming in nature and filming people in nature; children in the natural world and the way their faces light up with the bugs and critters. They are such a contrast to the digital children enclosed within four walls in the cyber world. Children are really missing out by not being in nature. Playing with the camera and filming family and friends helped to develop the story line and the evolution.
YT: Why did you choose Liam Neeson to narrate the film?
Liam Neeson was my top choice. I have always been fond of him. He has a very philanthropic heart and supports a lot of causes. He is an incredible actor with a magnificent voice. When it was time to find someone to narrate the film his voice was the one I kept hearing. I told him that he is the perfect fit. Intuitively I knew it was right. I heard back really fast and the answer was a “yes.”
YT: Images from all over the world are shown in the film. Did you get to visit your Brazilian roots while filmmaking?
Yes. I am from the state of Rio. We filmed in Minas Gerais, a location in the middle of the forest. Rio and Sao Paulo were built over the forest. In the parks you can see monkeys jumping from the trees. In Maua, we filmed some of the most dramatic scenes such as people jumping from big rocks. We filmed people connecting in nature. Every time I would go visit my family I would take my camera. In some scenes we would recreate the past, for example, we would dress up an older man in a leather costume from many years ago.
YT: The photos are amazing. As a traveler they are truly inspirational. Was there a specific place that really had a bigger impact on you personally than you expected?
Alaska had a really big impact on me. The wildlife is so incredible and deserted. I also adored going diving in the British Virgin Islands. They are just gorgeous.
YT: How can we as a society help to spread awareness about the cause (Love Thy Nature)?
There are really two core messages here. The only way we can get through our environmental crisis is to reconnect with nature as a species. We have to address the root cause. Our civilization is undernourished and sustained by nature. We can’t let people blow up our mountains and dam all our rivers. Blowing up our mountains would be like having our children taken away and hurting our bodies. There are millions of species living on the planet. Many are now extinct because they are unable to adapt. We need to live in agreement with the environment is the next message. WE ARE NATURE is the essence of the film.
The rationale is we can only solve the economic crisis when we awaken and realize nature is what we are. As we connect we make ourselves better people. It makes us smarter. Children are becoming deprived of nature. Nature is healing and we heal faster with nature. For example, studies show that if we are sick in the hospital, if we have a window we heal faster. Nature gives us a sense of meaning in our lives. Our lives are more than a speck of matter in the universe. We need the sense of being connected to something grander than ourselves.
YT: Is there anything else you would like to share with your audience?
Love Thy Nature is really a double entendre. Nature is inside and outside of you. Loving ourselves is a yogic way of seeing the world. We connect with our breath and our emotions. We experience mindfulness, mindfulness of everything, to be connected to nature and by connecting with nature we connect with ourselves. We become more aware and in touch. I have drawn inspiration from the yoga mat and also from Rumi and Hafiz.
Sylvie, we wish to thank you so much for speaking with us. Congratulations on your film. This is very exciting and your film Love Thy Nature focuses on something that is very dear to the hearts of so many people. As a society we need something like this to help us see what really matters in the world.
For more information or to see the trailer please visit: lovethynature.com