Frans Lanting: The Evolution of Life

Filmmaker: Steven Kochones
Runtime: 23 min

This documentary brings National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting’s epic “LIFE” project to the big screen, taking viewers on a fascinating journey through time via dazzling images depicting life on Earth— from the Big Bang to the present. The film also recounts Lanting’s own evolution from natural history photographer to visual chronicler of life on the planet.

The film features stunning images from Lanting’s vast photographic archive as well as new images shot specifically for the film. Supported by interviews with Lanting and long-time collaborator Christine Eckstrom, the film promotes an understanding of Earth’s natural history while instilling a sense of wonder about our living world.

Also appearing in the film are experts in the fields of biology, geology, and planetary science, including pioneering sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, evolutionary biologist Andrew Knoll, NASA/JPL astrobiologist Abigail Allwood, and primatologist Russell Mittermeier, among others.

Earth’s most compelling locations serve as the backdrop, including the shores of Delaware Bay where Lanting’s inspiration for LIFE began. The film also takes viewers to Hawaii’s volcanic Mount Kilauea, New Zealand, the coastal dunes of Namibia, and Santa Cruz, California, allowing viewers to experience Lanting and Eckstrom’s approach to working in diverse natural environments.

About the Filmmaker

Steven Kochones is a director, producer and principal of Arclight Productions, a production company specializing in award-winning non-fiction projects. Since 2009, Kochones has directed 16 documentaries commissioned by the Annenberg Foundation, including the critically acclaimed “Who Shot Rock & Roll,” which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and screened at 25 other festivals around the world, earning four awards. His music documentary “Country: Portraits of an American Sound” debuted in 2017 on Netflix and other major streaming platforms. Kochones has also tackled gritty and global subjects, such as “The War Photographers” and “Water: Our Thirsty World,” produced with National Geographic. The director’s latest film travels through American history, propelled by newly discovered treasures, unearthed from the vaults of the Library of Congress.