Inside the Vatican:
The Making of the Movie

National Geographic Television Special
Airs in the U.S. on the National Geographic Channel

Page ten of eleven

John Bredar has produced more than 20 films for National Geographic Television, exploring often quirky topics ranging from cockroaches to sumo wrestlers to combat cameramen to the White House.

Although he has produced five wildlife films, Bredar prefers to focus his lenses on people and the details of their everyday lives. To film Inside the Vatican, Bredar and his crew spent three months in Rome, living just outside the walls of the Vatican and doing battle to get inside.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in filming Inside the Vatican?

John Bredar: Access. Every day we would go in and do battle to get permission to film. To get the access and really get the understanding of the place was incredibly difficult. It's hard to say it's xenophobia, because it's not an ethnic thing, it's more of a wariness of outsiders. We needed to win them over and constantly earn their respect.

Q: How did you end up winning them over?

JB: Having the credibility of National Geographic behind you helps a lot. And appearances count for a lot. You have to show up every day wearing a suit and tie. And for field producers, a suit and tie is not usual attire. We called it wearing the full armor. If you're a careful observer, you'll see in the film that many of the men who work in the Vatican, like Arturo Mari the photographer, wear almost a uniform of dark suits, dark ties and white shirts. It's a matter of respect for the institution.

Q: Taking a look at the Vatican, and other institutions like the White House, seems a departure from National Geographic's more traditional topics like wildlife and natural history. Where did the idea for this show originate?

JB: The Vatican is an institution that has involved a huge amount of world history, and National Geographic has always been interested in the cultural side of the planet as well as the exotic. The Vatican perhaps doesn't strike the typical National Geographic Television viewer as an exotic topic, but it is. It has all the great elements: history, art, drama, religion.

Q: You also produced the National Geographic Special Inside the White House. How was filming at the Vatican different from filming at the Executive Mansion?

Continued on Next Page >>


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