The production of Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant has, at times, gotten far more attention than the work itself, and in this fantastic documentary from Eliot Rausch, we not only get a wonderful behind the scenes look, but we also get a much deeper conversation about the world around us, and how man and nature are constantly crashing together, at times to the detriment of the living things we need to survive:

Right out of the gate, Iñárritu talks about something we all struggle with, which is that a film is like a puzzle, and we've just got to find the right piece at the right moment to put it all together. If you try to fit the wrong piece in the wrong spot, things aren't going to work as well. Obviously this puzzle mentality can be taken to the extreme, but striking the right balance is important to actually finishing a film, as not everything is going to go as planned, and sometimes a puzzle piece must be shaved down to fit. 

Eliot Rausch Documentary The Revenant 2

There is another interesting aspect of the film and the behind the scenes doc — our need for survival versus taking care of the environment around us. As is said in the doc, the mistakes made in terms of using natural resources have been repeated for generations. It affected the shooting of the film in a very real way, as the climate shifted dramatically in a short period of time and melted the snow towards the end of the shoot, forcing the production to move from Calgary to Argentina. 

DGA Q&A with Michael Mann

Iñárritu also had a terrific Q&A with director Michael Mann at the Directors Guild:

Though the film was shot in natural light, and mostly on the regular digital ARRI ALEXA, they also utilized the new 6K ALEXA 65, which has a much larger digital sensor and more resolution. Originally both Iñárritu and the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki wanted to avoid digital, and try to shoot on a bigger film format like 65mm, but apparently there were issues with exposure in lower light scenes. They were also worried that Fotokem, the last big film lab left in LA, was so far away. This would make getting dailies difficult as they were essentially in the middle of nowhere, at times a 2 hour ride to set. 

For more terrific interviews with directors, be sure to check out the DGA YouTube channel.