By: Niki Shadrow Snyder
- NS: Tell us about yourself and what you do? DH: I’m an Aussie film director best known for The Secret (2006) and The Power of the Heart (2015).
- NS: How did you personally move the needle in 2020? DH: I like to think I helped move the needle in 2020 by sucking air through folded fabric, resisting the urge to hug the people I love and lathering my hands in sanitizer like the rest of the population here in Victoria, Australia. It’s now been 32 days without a single case of coronavirus. Needle. Officially. Moved.
- NS: How did you deal with the stress in the world in 2020? DH: Well, I believe in perfect polarity, meaning that everything has its opposite in perfect balance. So whenever things appear out of kilter, I hunt for the balance. As psychopathic as coronavirus appears to be, it’s equally been humanity’s savior, guiding us to slow down, live simply, love more fully and reduce our emissions. My favorite meme of the year is, “If 2020 was a drink, it’d be bong water”, but it’s also true that many of us will look back on 2020 as one of the best years of our lives.
- NS: Do you have any advice for your younger self? DH: So much! But I’m not sure it’d do any good because we learn through experience. So I’d probably just say, “Have fun and let’s share stories when you’re my age.”
- NS: What did you do in 2020 that you’re most passionate about? DH: I put the finishing touches on the pilot and show,“Bible”, for my next project and, out of the blue, I had a torrential two-week download of a new invention. It took me by surprise because it’s nothing to do with filmmaking, but if an idea hounds you all day and night, it’s worth listening to. So I’m really looking forward to launching that next year too.
- NS: What was the worst part of 2020 for you? DH: Probably watching some of my friends and relatives get sucked into conspiracy theories. The interesting thing about people of faith is that they don’t want or need evidence to validate their beliefs. This year I feel like we witnessed the dark side of faith with so many people now believing things that, perhaps, don’t ultimately serve them. But again, I’m hunting for the balance.
- NS: What was the best part of 2020 for you? DH: Project development aside, I’ve started beekeeping as a hobby. In my last movie, Mark Nepo, an extraordinary poet, said, “Touching life directly restores whole-heartedness”. So beekeeping is one of the ways I’m endeavoring to touch life directly. Last week, my wife and I were trying to find the queen bee amongst 30,000 other bees, which is like playing an animated version of “Where’s Waldo”. After a while, we both naturally fell silent, the sun was sparkling on the honey in the cells, the bees were whirring around and my heart opened a little.
- NS: What does success mean to you? DH: Fully giving your gifts, whatever they may be.
- NS: What causes are important to you? DH: Eating plant-based. It’s not really a “cause”, as such, but it addresses the “cause” of this pandemic. All year, we’ve heard about potential solutions. Masks. Vaccines. Social distancing. But as Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Many people don’t realize that Covid and past pandemics have been caused by microbes jumping from animals to humans, mostly through food. Mad Cow Disease, Swine Flu, Bird Flu. They’re zoo-notic diseases. So humanity eating plant-based greatly reduces the odds of that occurring AND helps solve climate change AND deforestation AND extends our lives in the process. Hallelujah!
- NS: Do you think the world right now needs to be influenced by what they can get or what they can give in the middle of this pandemic? DH: Neither. Giving and getting are always in perfect balance. If you want to give money, someone will have to get it, or “receive” it from you. And you earned that money by someone giving it to you. So you can’t have one without the other. That said, we often feel more connected and abundant when we’re giving consciously because we realize how much we already have, whereas “getting” tends to remind us of all the things we don’t have yet.
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