The award-winning documentary The Greater Good has been slowly opening in theaters across the country creating a viral support group of parents and fans. Following the opening in New York on November 18, the film will be available to purchase online. Looking behind the fear, hype, and politics that have polarized the vaccine debate in America today, the filmmakers have created an opportunity for a rational and scientific discussion to develop a safer and more effective vaccine program.
I sat down for an exclusive interview with the filmmakers Chris Pilaro and Leslie Manookian.
What made you decide to get into filmmaking?
Chris: Telling stories is a great way to share information and documentary filmmaking is a great way to tell stories that may not otherwise be told and shared with others.
Leslie: Film is such a rich media where the viewer experiences a story through sight, sound and emotion in the shortest time possible. Film allows a sense of an issue to be conveyed in a way that no other media allows.
Where did the idea for The Greater Good come from?
Leslie: I was living in London working in finance when I met a guy who told me that vaccines could cause harm. I had always been confident that vaccines were one of humankind's greatest achievements and thought the guy was a bit nuts. But he told me about a book on vaccines to read so I did. The book had over 900 references to mainstream medical literature detailing a variety of adverse reactions and problems after vaccination. I was very taken aback but not knowing the author of the book, I did not trust that what he had written was true. I determined that one day I was going to make a film on vaccines; to seek out experts from all sides who had given their lives to this issue, to look them in the eye myself and provide them the opportunity to give their perspective, so that I could find out first hand what we did and did not know about vaccines. Shortly after I moved home to the U.S., I was fortunate to meet Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro, two talented and experienced filmmakers and asked them if they wanted to help me make a film on vaccines. Chris was very busy with other projects but we decided to come together to explore this complex issue and to create a safe and sane place for viewers to discuss this very important and timely topic.