Save It, A Global Warming Message by a 10 Year Old
As 10-year-old Nikos Spiridakis watched his mom pumping gasoline, he listened to the methodical beeps that kept tempo with the gallons of fuel funneling into their sedan. To him, the beeps resembled the sounds of a hospital EKG and he knew that every gallon burned was contributing to the death of our planet. He shared an idea for a story, incorporating those sounds and images with his mom, and he insisted she couldn’t tell the idea to anyone unless they could help him get it shot. She agreed, and immediately called producer Marshall Herskovitz.
Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) thought it was a great story for anyone, let alone a child, to have conceived, and he offered to executive produce. Nikos himself mentioned the idea to his godfather actor/director Tony Goldwyn (The Last Kiss, Dexter) who was so impressed, he offered to act in the spot and be his directing mentor.
Film director Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, The Express) thought it was the kind of visual storytelling that showed Nikos was capable of directing even at age 10 and took on the role of Nikos’ directing consultant. Nikos’ mother Nicole Hansen helped to put the entire project together and his brother Dimitri played the little boy.
Everyone from the cinematographer to the editor gave their time in the effort to help Nikos make his first “home movie,” since Nikos financed it all with a gift from his grandmother.
Nikos’ idea can have a real impact on the way people view the reality of global warming — a vision especially poignant coming from the mind of a dyslexic child, who tells his story with pictures more effectively than almost anyone could using words.
Nikos knew his future was in the hands of the older generations and believed that if the world could see his vision of our future, he could inspire us all to do our part and “Save It” for future generations. The video message Nikos envisioned soon became a 1Sky campaign and debuted as TakePart TV’s inaugural release for YouTube at #2 for non-profit videos. It ran on CNN and MSNBC during the 2008 Presidential Debates, and appears on the Weinstein Company’s 2009 DVD releases such as The Reader.
“In a long career as a producer, I’ve hired over forty first-time directors, and have seen first-hand that the essence of film directing cannot be taught – a person either gets it or doesn’t, a person either understands how to think through a camera lens and understand how images will go together or doesn’t. It was astonishing to me, though, to see that ability so fully established in someone as young as Nikos. His ability to visualize carried him through every aspect of this process, from pre-production, to the day of filming, to the many long hours in the editing room. He’s simply a born filmmaker.” Marshall Herskovitz, Executive Producer, Save It (credits include: Defiance, Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, My So Called Life and Thirtysomething)
“The word prodigy is overused and, it seems to me, often misunderstood. If you want a terrific example of a prodigy – a person with exceptional talents, particularly at such a young age – then take a look at Nikos. He is a natural born filmmaker, and it’s our responsibility, I believe, to encourage him and nurture those talents. “ Gary Fleder, mentor (credits include: The Express, Runaway Jury, Life Unexpected,Kiss the Girls)