Kilauea: Mountain of Fire
Ask the Producer, Kevin Bachar

Kevin Bachar

Send in your questions for Kevin Bachar, the producer and director of Kilauea: Mountain of Fire. After the premiere of the film on March 29, Kevin answers some of your questions here, on the NATURE Web site.

Kevin has produced several films for NATURE, including Sled Dogs: An Alaskan Epic, Tall Blondes, and What Females Want and Males Will Do. In addition to two Emmy nominations, his projects have won three Cindy Awards, three CINE Golden Eagles, a Film & Video Festival Gold Camera Award, Best Environmental Film at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, and a Gold Jury Award from Worldfest Houston. To see Kevin and his team in action, check out the behind-the-scenes video for Kilauea: Mountain of Fire.

Submit your questions in the comments box below.

Here are some of your questions answered.

Quinton asks:

Mr. Bachar, I can’t wait to see the entire film. Volcanoes have always intrigued me. When I was watching the short preview clip, I noticed that this film has a very fresh perspective. How did you achieve this? Was that the greatest challenge you had in making this film?

Kevin Bachar says:

Dear Quinton,

Thank you for your comment. I hope you were able to watch the whole film on air. We did try to bring a fresh perspective by looking at the newest science used to monitor the volcano. We also tried to really put the viewer within the action with our film. The greatest challenge was trying to put ourselves in the best position to capture the volcano at its most active moments. Thanks for the question Quinton.

Kevin

Beth asks:

Awesome! When was this filmed?

Kevin says:

Dear Beth,

We filmed over a seven-month period from March 2008 through September 2008. Thank you for watching.

Kevin

Judy Brow asks:

Unbelievably awesome! I was glued to my chair, scared & fidgeting sure that you’d be boiled alive.How,if the water was so hot, could you dive in without protecting your head which was exposed!?? Judy.

Kevin says:

Dear Judy,

Thanks for the kind words. Paul Atkins the cinematographer who dove on the volcano was able to brave the hot water by beginning his dive far enough away and then approaching from deep enough under to avoid the scalding water. It also meant that he had to come up out of the water at the right spot to avoid being burnt. It was extremely dangerous. There are really only a handful of people who could do this dive and Paul is one of them.

Kevin

Lisa asks:

What month was the underwater filming done? That was amazing footage. Thank you for the efforts to share such a fascinating part of nature with us.

Kevin says:

Dear Lisa,

Thanks for watching. The underwater filming was done over a three-day period in March 2008. After that three-day period the ability to dive on the lava safely was lost. Luckily we were able to coordinate our shoot in time to bring back our amazing images.

Kevin

Jim asks:

You mentioned that the water was “scalding” hot. How hot is that? And, how far out does that super-heated water extend? When there are large differences in temperature, often an extreme current will form to exchange the heat for cooler waters. Was this the case here?

Kevin says:

Dear Jim,

From what I understand from Paul Atkins the cinematographer, the water was at least 100 degrees. I will find out from Paul how far the heated water extended. Thanks for watching and thanks for the question.

Kevin

Joanita Barnes asks:

What was the last name of “David” with the yellow jacket portion of the film. I worked on the Big Island years ago with him, but could not remember his last name. The film was great, kept me on the edge of my seat.

Kevin says:

Dear Joanita,

The wasp biologist’s last name was Foote, David Foote. Thanks for watching.

Kevin

Sharon Piscopo asks:

The VOG we have been experiencing on the island for the past year or so has become quite severe and is even a health hazard. Can you explain what has caused it.

Kevin says:

Dear Sharon,

The VOG or volcanic smog has been on the increase since the eruption of Halemaumau last year. This latest eruption on the summit of Kilauea has increased the dangerous output of VOG. It is best to consult with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Web site to see what the status of VOG level is. Thanks.

Kevin

Patricia Graziano asks:

Fabulous job! My question is about the man who lives alone in the lone house standing from the ‘83 flow. Does he even have running water? I am assuming he has a generator for power. Does he really live with no other humans around and rely on two hour hikes to get supplies in a backpack? Are there officials that check on him periodically? Thanks again. We love the Big Island and found your documentary fascinating!

Kevin says:

Dear Patricia,

Thanks for the compliment. Jack does live alone in the house in Royal Gardens. He does have running water that he collects in cisterns on his property. He does have power through a generator and solar panels. And yes, he does do the two-hour hike for supplies when needed. People do look out for Jack, but as you can see he is more than able to look out for himself.

Kevin

Dante asks:

Our son is developing a love for volcanos – and earth science. We were in Hilo in 2008 with him, and visited the National Park, did hikes, and it is etched in his little 4 yr old memory. When did you start taking an interest in such things – and what can we do, to encourage and support his curiosity? This week at preschool- is “volcano art”.

Kevin says:

Dear Dante,

My only advice would be to keep on doing what you are doing. Your visit to Volcano National Park, the hikes and you watching this program are all great encouragements to your son. Thanks for watching.

Kevin

Tags:
  • lisa bachar-kaufman

    awesome bro! you standing on the edge of that cliff with the wind and those wasps freaked me out! just another day at the office. still interested in coming to FI to Bailey’s school? let me know. xoxo

  • bailey

    uncle kevin, i think you should use the jonas brothers song “burning up” for your film. peace

  • Redd

    Bachar – take off the shades and let’s see who you really are. You look like you’re with the Agency.

  • zach/aidan/ma

    from zach…dad, that was an awesome film..
    from aidan…dad, that was so cool that you were standing on the cliff..love,aidan
    from mary ann…Great film, as always…shows your heart and soul into this project…love you

  • Breanne/Kyle

    Hey Uncle Kevin!
    That was an amazing film. We wouldn’t have had the guts to explore a volcano the way you and your crew did. Better to learn this way than from books. Hope to see you this summer!

  • brian swierczynski

    Oh dude! You couldn’t post this a week earlier! I needed an interview with a Documantary Film Maker for a 400 point school paper! Oh well, is to late now!

  • Quinton

    Mr. Bachar, I can’t wait to see the entire film. Volcanoes have always intrigued me. When I was watching the short preview clip, I noticed that this film has a very fresh perspective. How did you achieve this? Was that the greatest challenge you had in making this film?

  • Peter Rivers

    Sick. Rad. Wicked. And hot, too.

  • vito sabbatino

    Fantastic work. This is the type of stuff I watched with my sons on my lap when they were kids.I only wish I could have been there.

  • Beth

    Awesome! When was this filmed?

  • cathy

    I would like to know what dates you made this film. I was there in October of 2008 and took a boat ride to the lava flow. It was amazing. I did it with my husband on our honeymoon. Unfortunately a few days later he drowned while snorkeling at Punalu’u Bay.
    I am still very fascinated with the Big Island and especially Kilauea.

  • Lisa

    When did you film these eruptions? I was on Hawaii in July 2008 and there were new eruptions at that time. I’m curious during what period you filmed. Great footage – makes me want to go back to the fascinating volcano SOON!

  • Nicole Legnard

    I am curious when the film was made. I was there with my husband in early January 2008, but there wasn’t a lot of lava flowing at that time.

  • Lori

    Kevin, this is fantastic work. We visited Kilauea in November of 2008 and took a boat trip quite near the lava flow into the ocean. it was phenomental to see it underwater. I’m also curious when the filming took place. Great job!

  • Judy Brow

    Unbelievably awesome!I was glued to my chair, scared & fidgeting sure that you’d be boiled alive.How,if the water was so hot, could you dive in without protecting your head which was exposed!?? Judy.

  • Lisa

    What month was the underwater filming done? That was amazing footage. Thank you for the efforts to share such a fascinating part of nature with us.

  • Jim

    You mentioned that the water was “scalding” hot. How hot is that? And, how far out does that super-heated water extend? When there are large differences in temperature, often an extreme current will form to exchange the heat for cooler waters. Was this the case here?

  • Joanita Barnes

    What was the last name of “David” with the yellow jacket portion of the film. I worked on the Big Island years ago with him, but could not remember his last name. The film was great, kept me on the edge of my seat.

  • Kevin Bachar

    Dear Nicole,

    We filmed over a 7 month period from March 2008 until September 2008. This was a particularily active time for the volcano. But even within those ‘active” months there were times of less activity. I hope that helps and thanks for watching.
    Kevin

  • Kevin Bachar

    Dear Jim,

    From what I understand from Paul Atkins the cinematographer, the water was at least 100 degrees. I will find out from Paul how far the heated water extended. Thanks for watching and thanks for the question.
    Kevin

  • Kevin Bachar

    Dear Joanita,

    The wasp biologist’s last name was Foote, David Foote. Thanks for watching.
    Kevin

  • Rod

    I was there at the end of July, 2008 and stood closer to the ocean entry point in the middle of a pitch black night then the place you were filming. Truly incredible! Your video brought it all aback to life and I’m sure I’ll watch it many more times. Thank you so much for the great work! Maybe I’ll see you out there some day. :-)

  • Dana Bleitz

    Dear Kevin Bachar,
    I would like to contact the biologists that were dealing with the yellowjacket problem that was presented. I conducted an effective and very-successful non-poison abatement program for yellowjackets, at the LA Zoo, over a ten- year period. It was a preventative program designed for wildlands. I would like to share my research and techniques with those researchers in the hope that they could successfully apply them where they are working.

  • Sharon piscopo

    The VOG we have been experiencing on the island for the past year or so has become quite severe and is even a health hazard. Can you explain what has caused it.

  • Kevin Bachar

    Dear Sharon,

    The VOG or volcanic smog has been on the increase since the eruption of Halemaumau last year. This latest eruption on the summit of Kilauea has increased the dangerous output of VOG. It is best to consult with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s website to see what the status of VOG level is. Thanks.
    Kevin

  • Patricia Graziano

    Fabulous job! My question is about the man who lives alone in the lone house standing from the ‘83 flow. Does he even have running water? I am assuming he has a generator for power. Does he really live with no other humans around and rely on two hour hikes to get supplies in a backpack? Are there officials that check on him periodically? Thanks again. We love the Big Island and found your documentary fascinating!

  • kevin bachar

    Dear Patricia,

    Thanks for the compliment. Jack does live alone in the house in Royal Gardens. He does have running water that he collects in cisterns on his property. He does have power through generator and solar panels. And yes, he does do the 2 hour hike for supplies when needed. People do look out for Jack, but as you can see he is more than able to look out for himself.
    Kevin

  • Dante

    Our son is developing a love for volcanos – and earth science. We were in Hilo in 2008 with him, and visited the National Park, did hikes, and it is etched in his little 4 yr old memory. When did you start taking an interest in such things – and what can we do, to encourage and support his curiosity? This week at preschool- is “volcano art”.

  • kevin bachar

    Dear Dante,

    My only advice would be to keep on doing what you are doing. Your visit to Volcano National Park, the hikes and you watching this program are all great encouragements to your son. Thanks for watching.

    Kevin

  • brian

    One of the guys on the boat was talking about the underwater thing, and he said he had to wait 25 years for this moment to happend again! So does this mean it only happends every 25 years? And also you said you filmed from March to September, if it was filmed in March, then why was it at the very end?

  • Kevin Bachar

    Dear Brian,

    Paul Atkins the filmmaker had filmed the lava entering the water some 25 years earlier. The reason it was 25 years before he could film it again was that an almost perfect set of circumstances needed to exist to be able to film the lava with such water clarity. The currents have to be right, the lava has to be flowing into the water in a new spot, the weather needs to perfect, the amount of “bench’ build-up minimal, and other factors all conspire to usually make the dive un-safe or not up to Nature’s high standards of shooting. What happened in March of 2008 was that everything was alligned and as you can see the results attest to the wait paying off. The scene was placed at the end because we were not following the lava chronologically but from summit to sea. I hope this explains it. Thanks for watching.
    Kevin

  • Chris Scroggins

    Fantastic film! I loved so many parts of it. I have a question about the shape of the pillow lava. Initially it looked like it was spreading out and moving like a caterpillar, then you showed some shots where the pillow lava was pushing upwards, where upon it stared to branch a bit, reminding me of a piece of ginger root. Did you have enough time before the landslide happened to observe whether this was a typical transformation?

  • Mike May

    Hi Kevin,
    Great program! Congrats to your whole team. Watched it twice, lots of my science teacher friends want to use in the classroom. Looking forward to the study guides to come.
    Mahalo,
    Mike May

    Mahalo,
    MikeM

  • woodhull school, Fire Island

    Hi Uncle Kevin,
    We loved watching your “Behind the Scenes” video.
    Maybe you can come to our school someday!
    Love, Bailey and her class

  • Jaime Fischer

    Mr. Bachar
    The program “Kilauea: Mountain of Fire” was very interesting!
    One instrument featured in the film caught my interest.
    It is the VLF device that was used by one researcher to help map the lava flows.
    Using the instrument, he would look through what appeared to be an optical sight while adjusting graduated knobs to make measurements. for mapping of the lava flows.
    Is there any possibility you could give me the contact information or put me in touch with that particular individual for the purpose of learning about the instrument and its application?
    The very best regards
    Jaime from Oklahoma

  • Sandra

    Thank You for airing such an amazing documentary!
    Kileua is Amazing, Awesome Beauty and Power!
    Loved the underwater filming segment too, unbelievable!

  • Gerda

    You did an amazing job with this. We’ve been visiting the Big Island for many years and you provided a spectacular insight otherwise unattainable. We loved every minute and would like to know if it will air again soon. THANK YOU for sharing your fascinating discovery!

  • NATURE Online

    To find out if “Kilauea: Mountain of Fire” will be airing in your area soon, please click the “schedule” link at the top of the site.

  • Carol Yonts

    Will this be released on DVD anytime in the future. I am looking forward to seeing it on tv, but after being to Hawaii at least six times and going to Kilauea each time, I would love to own a copy of this. It is wonderful.

  • Gabe

    Did you make any other films?

  • Cecilia

    Dear Kevin,

    I´m Geologist and one of my dreams is to visit the kilawea. My question is if these kind of places with very high magmatic activity are availables to common people as a tourist atraction.
    Thanks in advance for your answer

    Cecilia (from Argentina)

  • rod

    why did the narrator chose to pronounce the name of the volcano goddess like the name of the soccer player?
    It is not Pay-lay. It is Pele, rhymes with deli- the kind of restaurant.

  • a online banking

    Oops, I forgot to mention another PRO: It’s made out of recyclable plastic + it’s recyclable, but you’d only change it when it gets worn out.

  • Brenda

    Love this film. I am going to purchase it to show for Cub Scout Day Camp in Weatherford, Texas (June, 2012). Our theme is dinosaur safari, but our science classes will include making a volcano and starting a rock collection.
    How can I get some small lava pieces from this volcano so each boy (about 75) can have one for his collection?

    The danger involved in the making of this film is very inspiring. Hopefully it will help ingnite excitement in the boys and encourage them to stay in school so they can learn what their passion is and pursue their dream jobs.
    thank you for all you do
    brenda

  • Crystal Lindstrom

    What caused this volcano to appear in this location?

  • Richard

    Hi Kevin,

    I wanted to suggested better way for the scientists in Hawaii (that are combatting the yellow jacket wasp invasion) to deal with the waspon a larger scale. Is there a way I may contact one of them with this solution? We use this very inexpensive and safe way to exterminate fire ant colonies here in South Carolina!

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