Exclusive interview with the Saint behind the Chile travel film

U.S. videographer Dana Saint talks about Chile, the journey, and the film that captured the imaginations of viewers around the world.  

“A story for tomorrow” captures both the stunning natural beauty and the contrasting extremes of the Chilean landscape, in a short video lasting just 5:30 minutes. Instantly popular around the web, the film evokes a version of the answer to the old question of why we travel.
In an exclusive interview with This is Chile, U.S. filmmaker Dana Saint talks about the film and the journey that ricocheted through social media sites last week, with nearly 5,000 “likes” in seven days on Vimeo alone.
“One of the most pristine, beautiful places on the planet”
Saint, of the U.S.-based Gnarly Bay Production company, traveled for five weeks in Chile with his girlfriend Nina, capturing the beauty of the landscape and the people that have bewitched more than one traveler to this long, diverse country. What brought Saint and his camera to Chile?
“My girlfriend and I make an effort to travel as much as possible, and Chile has always been on our list of places to see – especially Patagonia. It just seemed like one of the most pristine, beautiful places on the planet, so I had to experience it for myself.”
“I think the most challenging part about traveling through Chile is choosing where to go. We spent five weeks trying to see it all, and I felt like I could have spent five months and still not see it all… Chile just has a lot to offer.”
“Insanely beautiful”
The film opens with a shot of the inimitable Atacama Desert, then jumps to the other extreme of Chile – the water-rich Patagonia and the iconic granite peaks in the Torres del Paine national park. As the film picks up speed, however, ever-quickening flashes of images leave the viewer wanting to know – where exactly did they go?
“We basically traveled and filmed the entire length of the country,” Saint said. “We started in the north, exploring the Atacama desert – which was insanely beautiful – and then we made our way south and connected with the coast, where I got to do a lot of surfing.”
How was the surf? “I literally can’t say enough good things about the surfing in Chile – pretty much one perfect set up after the other. So much fun.”
From the waves on the central coast, the travelers kept advancing south, through the central wine valley and into the Lakes district, where they visited the natural beauty surrounding Lake Villarrica and Pucón. “We spent some time hiking in Huerquehue National Park and staying with a man named Patricio Lanfranco at Refugio Tinquilco…who was absolutely awesome. He let us camp on his land, and ended up cooking us dinner.”
“The people were extremely friendly”
Between the footage of Saint and his girlfriend exploring the epic scenery of Chile from north to south, the camera captures a handful of evocative, unguarded human moments. “The people were extremely friendly, and very helpful,” Saint said, “which made exploring and getting lost very enjoyable.”
After the Lakes district, the pair visited the Chiloé archipelago off the coast of Patagonia, and then headed down to Puerto Natales, the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park.
Speaking about the famous “W” backpacking trail, Saint called it “one of the coolest places I have ever seen…we got really lucky and had perfect weather the entire time…a very magical experience.”
“I think the thing that stands out most about Chile is the diversity of landscapes. Giant snow-capped volcanoes, endless deserts, and warm remote beaches are all extremely close to one another…so as you are traveling around, your scenery changes drastically hour to hour. It’s awesome, never a dull moment.”
“A story for tomorrow”
The film’s popularity can be traced to more than just Saint’s skilled use of natural light and the stunning scenery; for travelers, “A story for tomorrow” approaches the ineffable reasons why we find ourselves on the road. What was Saint’s idea for the film?
“The overall message was really intended for myself, as a bit of a reminder of how to keep life in perspective, to keep doing whatever it is that I love to do… so someday, way in the future, when I look back on my life, I’ll have a good story to tell.”
By Jacqueline Seitz