Werner Herzog Creates Distressing Documentary Short on Texting and Driving For AT&T’s “It Can Wait”

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

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AT&T has just launched a new anti-texting-and-driving campaign called “It Can Wait” and, to drive home the importance of the subject matter, got one of the most legendary documentarians on board to produce a short film that digs deep into the tragic consequences that can happen as a result.  German filmmaker and documentarian Werner Herzog produced a 35-minute short documentary that follows the life-changing aftermath of four texting and driving accidents which will be screened to students across the country and condensed into TV spots that will air nationally.

It’s a move that may seem a bit surprising to Werner Herzog fans.  In his 1980 documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Werzog stated: “We have to declare holy war against what we see every single day on television. I think there should be a real war against commercials.”  Apparently he felt the subject matter was important enough to put his original viewpoint aside.  In an interview with Co.Create, he mentioned that “I was approached and immediately knew that this was something I should do, and I knew I was competent to do it.”

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Each one of the individual stories that Herzog presents shows not only the tragic losses of the victims but also the impact on the person who was behind the wheel.  Trying to convey the distressing message of this much too common occurrence in a way that will get people to listen and hopefully change their habit isn’t an easy task.  However that is where Werner Herzog saw the opportunity and took off running to create something that may have a good shot at making a difference to some people.  When he develops a passion for a topic, he doesn’t stop until he gets it just right.

At times, Werner Herzog would get caught up in the emotions of the stories being captured on film and found himself dealing with the stress by resorting to an old habit he gave up years ago.  “You are directly confronted by a family that was hit by a catastrophe where nothing is as it used to be, so it was not easy to do,” he told Co.Create. “Sometimes, I would even rush out for a cigarette –- and I have given up smoking more than 10, 15 years ago. I would rush out just to hang onto a cigarette.”

Texting while driving is just one of the trivial actions people take that upsets Herzog.  “I don’t care about so-and-so many messages. There are very few, very simple ones: Don’t open fire at anyone with a firearm. Don’t even aim one at anyone, not even with a toy gun. Another message that’s very simple–don’t drink and drive, period. And now another new one: Don’t text and drive.”

When asked about whether or not Herzog believes the video will make a measurable difference in texting and driving accidents, he said “We have no idea what kind impact it will have… But if it prevents one single accident from happening, I have done my job well. Everything is good then.”

I highly recommend taking 35 minutes out of your day to watch this emotional documentary, and if you have a teen driver at home, make sure they watch this.  We’ve embedded the From One Second to the Next documentary below.


Sources: It Can Wait, Co.Create, The Verge

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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