The film is really a prayer, which is an admission I am reluctant to make in this day and age. But the truth is, the storytelling and characters were inspired by my own questions to God, and the making of the film a meditation on finding answers to the unanswerable.
The structure of the film rests on religious rituals, which are pieced together as a mosaic. We follow the stories of several characters who are not connected by interaction with each other, but who are very connected through the circumstance of a worldwide plague and through their individual spirituality. I wanted the movie to flow like a book of short stories rather than a novel. We all know that a virus mutates with exposure to other life forms, and in these stories, I wanted to explore how people mutate as a result of their exposure to a virus.
I am grateful to the players. Many of the cast had never even seen a movie, so it required a great deal of faith and trust for them to follow me in this, to them, very strange endeavour. The cast all brought their own ideas into their roles, to breathe individuality into such a broad spectrum of characters, and many of those ideas I wrote into thescreenplay. It was a tremendously rewarding process to be allowed to share insights into the thoughts of people whose lives are so different than my own.
Ultimately, I learned a lot about what things unify all people, like our hopes for our children-- and which things serve to keep us at odds, like our desire for respect. As Sister Hilde says in the film, once a prayer ascends to heaven, it floats there forever.
- Thom Fitzgerald