BECOMING is a short film about the miraculous genesis of animal life. In great microscopic detail, we see the ‘making of’ a salamander in its transparant egg from fertilization to hatching.
The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process which normally is invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life. A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream.
The salamander embryo (an Ichthyosaura Alpestris) was followed very closely in a combination of timelapse and film. All stages of embryogenesis can be seen in this film: cleavage, gastrulation, neurulation and organogenesis. Time was condensed from about 3 weeks to 6 minutes.
2018, HD video, color, 06:15
Becoming has been screened at more than 25 international film festivals and received the Award for best short documentary at the Innsbruck nature film festival 2018 and the Vision Science Award at Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2019.
In 2019 the film went ‘viral’ on internet and has been watched by a few million people. It was published on the website of National Geographic, Aeon, Colossal, Live Science, IFLScience and numerous others. A Vimeo Staff Pick of the month was awarded to the film and the Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door screened the film, including an interview.
Acknowledgements; Many thanks to:
Ben Geutskens for sharing his knowledge about the biology and life cycles of salamanders: http://www.semperinmotus.nl/
My friends at the Dutch microscopy club NGVM: http://www.ngvm.nl
Alex Kenter salamander breeder with endless patience in providing eggs.
Huibert Boon for the audimix and foley http://www.boonbooy.nl/