“This is cinema verite on every scale, an epic nestled in the eternal moment…With poetic, luminous images, Chances is not just about turtles…it’s a meditation on time, mortality…”
“A triumphant film… [The Chances] stands as an object lesson in the kind of inspired things that are possible within slender means.”
“One of those special films that combines masterful filmmaking with incredibly engaging subject matter…an enchanting score…exquisitely photographed…”
International Documentary Magazine
An artist abandons his life’s work to build an ark filled with hundreds of endangered animals. A marathon story creates a new breed of dramatic nature film— about time, death,
art, love… and turtles.
Is The Chances of the World Changing an epic story about strength and hope in the face
of a global crisis? Or is it an elegy about extinction and transience? This uniquely poetic
documentary is both. The film begins in a penthouse apartment high above the urban frenzy
of New York City, where writer Richard Ogust lives among 1200 turtles and tortoises. For
years, Richard has rescued these endangered turtles from the food markets in Southeast
Asia, where an unregulated and flourishing trade keeps many turtles and tortoises at the
top of the world’s endangered species lists. In fact, the situation is so dire that it is now
considered an environmental crisis.
For two years Eric Daniel Metzgar and Nell Carden Grey documented Richard’s efforts, and
became intimately involved in the journey to save the turtles. They often stopped filming
and worked alongside Richard, and even housed turtles in their own homes. Because of this
intimacy of interaction, the film’s narrative unfolds from the inside out, discovered by
experience and imparted with passion, not statistics.
Eric Daniel Metzgar’s visual style for the film, created by his lyrical choices in
cinematography, editing, and narration, also distinguishes The Chances of the World
Changing from other social issue documentaries. Each scene is lovingly composed with an
eye for beauty, echoing the bittersweet interactions between the turtles and their human
counterparts as each struggles for survival in the face of overwhelming odds.
The Chances of the World Changing is truly a new breed of nature film– a meditation
on the spirit and devotion that fuel conservationists to defy the extinction of some the
planet’s most ancient animals.