In the Field in Haiti

Publicist's Note: Kirk Wolfinger is a producer working with NOVA on a new documentary on the science behind predicting earthquakes.

Filming in Haiti was a chaotic success. This disaster is the entry point for a much bigger story that we hope to tell: can we ever predict an earthquake? The work of the researchers that we interviewed down there is just a start--scientists believe this is possible, but we aren't there yet.

 As soon as we hit the ground in Haiti, all that we planned in advance for this shoot flew out the window. We did everything on the run and made decisions as we went. It is a war zone limited--thank God--to only a few weapons. Right now, there are no rules in Haiti. Money and the black-market rule. At the airport, stacks upon stacks of food, water, tents, and other aide sit on the tarmac while people line the street with sacks three blocks away, merely hoping for some rice.


On the first day, I did a preliminary interview with earthquake scientists Paul Mann and Richard Koehler in the hub of the airport. For now, these men are scientists on the run. So we ran with them, to capture their work. We crammed six people into a five-passenger helicopter, much to the chagrin of the pilot, and flew over the Haitian countryside, searching the surface of the land for evidence of earthquake fault lines.

The second the helicopter skids hit the ground, with the blades still turning, what seemed like an uninhabited stretch of country sprung to life. We were surrounded by anywhere from 50 to 150 friendly, but hungry, people.

We followed Paul and Richard and their new Haitian entourage as they scoured the landscape for signs of eruptions in the earth.

Kirk Wolfinger

Kirk Wolfinger has worked in the film industry for 23 years. Kirk has produced and directed numerous critically acclaimed documentary programs presented nationally and internationally on all the major networks.

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