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Andrés Bronnimann: “Trust humanity just a little bit more”

As a young emerging filmmaker of a multiracial background, I aim to awaken the critical thinking of my generation with each story I choose to tell. I want to provide a nuanced framework in which to analyze the topics of human migration, economic inequality, and climate change, by inspiring audiences to see and discover the […]

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As a young emerging filmmaker of a multiracial background, I aim to awaken the critical thinking of my generation with each story I choose to tell. I want to provide a nuanced framework in which to analyze the topics of human migration, economic inequality, and climate change, by inspiring audiences to see and discover the inter-connectedness that all these global issues share. My newest documentary, “The Universality of It All”, aims to do just that. And with it, I hope to spark a new type of conversation surrounding these topics, so we can move beyond our current toxic political environment.


As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrés Bronnimann.

Andrés Bronnimann (25) is an emerging Swiss-Mexican-Costa Rican independent filmmaker and media producer, creating films across North-America, Europe, and Central-America. Throughout his career, he has traveled to more than 30 countries, producing original web-series, films and documentaries; as well as music videos and commercials for different brands, artists, and organizations.


Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

I cannot remember a moment in life where I didn’t know I wanted to be a media-creator. Ever since my parents gave me my first video camera for my 7th birthday, cinema and moving images became my passion and preferred language. As an only child, I used to spend hours alone, recording everything in my surroundings, reporting on the events of my immediate reality, and learning by doing. I must confess, sometimes it still feels like I’m that little kid playing with his camera, only the equipment got bigger, the topics got deeper, and the stakes got higher.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

Where to start? From breaking my leg while shooting at a remote Costa Rican mountain, to loosing my passport, phone, and wallet while filming at a small village in India. Or maybe driving from London to Moscow while producing an interactive web-series. There are so many memories and so many vivid experiences in the path of an indie-filmmaker. Everyday it’s a new adventure, sometimes funny, sometimes not; yet I don’t recall ever feeling bored while making movies.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I always seem to deeply connected with the stories of so-called “migrants”. People who have left their home-country in the search of something new. There is always a reason why people move from one place to the other, and that reason is a story within itself. By getting to know them, I get to know other parts of this world…. Other societies, ideologies, contexts, structures, and minds. Stories which ultimately inspire and inform my work at all times.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I recently finished my first feature documentary-film called “The Universality of It All” and I’m so excited to share it with the world. The film is an introspection into the topics of human migration, inequality, and climate change, taking place in Yemen, France, Nicaragua, Germany, Costa Rica, Syria, Canada, and the United States.“The Universality of It All” will start the film festival circuit in October 2020, where I hope to find the right distributor in order to spread my message to a broader audience.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

The people behind every great leader. Those who don’t get the shine and credit in the public’s eyes. The mothers of Gandhi, Caesar, and DaVinci. The fathers of MLK, Tesla, and Shakespeare. The partners, lovers, brothers, sisters, and real friends… I see it in my own story. Every small success throughout my career was greatly in part because of the people around me who pushed me everyday to try to become better. And thus, that small army behind every single one of my heroes, are the people in history that inspire me the most.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

As a young emerging filmmaker of a multiracial background, I aim to awaken the critical thinking of my generation with each story I choose to tell. I want to provide a nuanced framework in which to analyze the topics of human migration, economic inequality, and climate change, by inspiring audiences to see and discover the inter-connectedness that all these global issues share. My newest documentary, “The Universality of It All”, aims to do just that. And with it, I hope to spark a new type of conversation surrounding these topics, so we can move beyond our current toxic political environment.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

The moment my best friend from Yemen became a refugee in Canada, was the moment I knew I had to tell his story. I realized that I wanted people to look at the topic of migration, the same way I had come to experience it… With a human face and a genuine core. That instead of taking on the issues of the whole-wide world, I was going to focus on the social phenomena that impacted my own immediate reality. And I guess that’s what art means for me: to tell the stories that surround me, but which simultaneously share those same universal issues that define all of our lives. That’s the reason I made my first documentary: “The Universality of It All”.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

One of the greatest challenges of any socially-driven filmmaker is finding a metric in which to measure their impact. How to know to which extend your film contributed to a certain cause? How to quantify the influence of your stories? How to measure the ideas and emotions evoked? Sometimes I receive messages from people who watched one of my films, telling me about how my work inspired them to act upon a certain issue or a certain opportunity. These messages are the fuel of my creativity and I’ve learned to measure my impact by them. And the beauty of it all, is that one person is enough for my work to have been worth it.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

I would encourage anyone who is interested in the topic of human migration to:

  1. Learn how to think critically and wholesomely about the topic of human migration. Rather than studying it in isolation; to take into account all the different economic, demographic, social, historical, cultural, and environmental factors that make people migrate from point A to point B.
  2. Watch, share, and support the work of diverse emerging storytellers, who are constantly in the search for new stories that can challenge, reshape, and diversify the way society thinks about our current social issues.
  3. Donate, fund, and/or contribute to more causes such as UNHCR, IOM, and other migration-related organizations in order to help those in need who are left behind by our global economic system.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Always follow your intuition.

Some of my worst experiences while making movies would have never happened, had I followed what my gut-feeling was telling me at the time. Many times in our lives, we simply don’t listen to ourselves and go forward with decisions regardless of our bad feelings regarding them, just because society keeps telling us we should. Don’t! Follow your intuition at all times; it’s there for a reason.

2. Take Murphy’s Law in consideration when planning a project.

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And that’s why I’ve learned how to always plan, budget, and strategize my productions thinking in the worst-case scenario. To always have a Plan B, C, D, and E. When I started making films, I overestimated my action plans and underestimated the chaos in this world. Projects always take longer and cost more than expected. That’s just a reality, especially for indie-filmmakers.

3. This will break your heart multiple times.

90% of the time I fail. More often than not, I get too emotionally involved with my films. There are lonely nights. There are multiple scars with every endeavor.There are constant rejections. Ideas that never see the light of day. There are personal issues and wounds that you attempt to heal with every story you choose to tell. Robert Frost once said: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”

4. Trust humanity just a little bit more.

When I started traveling alone to different places around the world to shoot my documentaries, or when I began collaborating with more artists and producers on different projects; I was always scared of getting robbed, conned, or betrayed. But I’ve learned that filmmaking is a team sport, and as a creator you will always depend on different people whether you like it or not. You have to trust humans a bit more, otherwise fear will impede you from starting new projects, meeting new people, and taking new chances. An enemy is someone whose story I don’t know yet.

5. Independent Filmmaking is entrepreneurship.

A painter in the 16th century needed to manufacture all of their paint and brushes, develop a sales strategy, meet with clients for commissioned work, build a persona and image to be recognized, etc. The process, while modernized, still remains as true this day. Today, an independent filmmaker, while having a higher number of tools at his or her disposal, is still faced with those same tasks, responsibilities and processes. Both are creative entrepreneurs by definition. Both use creativity in order to broaden the reach of their work and build a strong value proposition.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Honestly, if you are not convinced already by everything happening around us that you should be trying to make a positive impact in this world, then there is nothing I can possibly say that could change your mind.

We are very blessed that many other Social Impact Heroes read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would like to collaborate with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Kanye, if you’re reading this, please let me make a documentary about your life!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My life motto is: “Patience & Perseverance.”

Patience because great things take time. Projects take longer than expected, people never reply on time, things never go exactly as planned. You have to be patient and prepare for the long haul, while still trusting yourself above all else.

Perseverance because life is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s a game of resilience and endurance. And honestly, it’s not easy. Maybe I’m repeating myself here, but when making films independently you will constantly fail, over and over, and you have to find a way of letting that be a part of the process: to persevere.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Instagram:@andres_bronni

Or go to my website to watch some of the stuff I’ve made: www.bronnitv.com

This was great, thank you so much for sharing your story and doing this with us. We wish you continued success!

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