Alan Honick began making films in his senior year of high school in Arlington, Virginia, using a 16mm Bolex. No shot could be longer than 30 seconds, because that was a full wind of the spring-powered camera. That was a good thing, because 16mm film was expensive to buy, process, and print. He doesn’t miss the the old days, and is quite happy to work with the easy-to-use tools for digital filmmaking and distribution today.
While attending the University of Virginia he received a grant to make his first documentary, about the antiwar protest movement in Washington D.C. in the late 60s. He moved to the Seattle area in the 70s, and worked for the premier television network in the Northwest at that time, King Broadcasting. While at KING-TV his work won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for photography and editing.
After leaving KING he worked as a freelance writer, photographer, editor, animator, and began to produce environmental documentaries. Environmental issues had long been his central interest, and became the focus of his documentary work.
His earliest major environmental documentary was Critical Habitat, a feature length film broadcast on PBS stations nationwide. It won several national and international awards, including best documentary in the Northwest from the Society of Professional Journalists. Another of his documentaries from that period, Torrents of Change, played a role in the protection of 55 million acres of public land.
In 2010, he became interested in the subject that he perceives as the underlying cause of environmental conflicts—differing human perceptions of fairness. He created multimedia stories about different aspects of the human sense of fairness, that were published in Pacific Standard magazine. The documentary Seeing the Forest, a sequel to Torrents of Change, incorporates his work on the evolution of fairness as well.
This work led to a collaborative relationship with evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson. Today their collaboration has grown into the co-development of a multi-part documentary series about the Major Evolutionary Transitions. That series will be an exploration of how humanity can create an effective and lasting form of democratic governance that will enable us to achieve a major transition to a fair, peaceful and sustainable human society on a planet with a diversity of life.
I’ve been doing this for awhile, as you can see from the photo above. Another little known fact: I directed the very first infomercial for George Foreman’s Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.