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News | Updates | Reflections

Capturing Interviews for 180 Grados in Dominican Republic

By Ingrid Koss

Ernesto Pinto (host of 180 Grados) was in the Dominican Republic in May with Grant Hoeppner (technical producer), and Eli Melsness (production assistant) where they filmed 12 new interviews for our Spanish TV program, 180 Grados.

Ernesto approaches each guest with an open mind and an open heart. Sometimes, he finds that what people plan to talk about and what they really end up saying in front of the camera are two different things.

“I don’t bring the agenda. I just want them to talk about what really matters to them.”

That’s what makes each program original and authentic. One guest was a gang member who ended up in jail. Another was a woman who had an affair with a married man. One had been abused as a child, another was a drug addict, and several had experienced miraculous healing. Whatever their story, all of their lives changed dramatically after committing their lives to Christ.

Rey, our production team's in-country contact, drove them everywhere and arranged their accommodations. He also planned their schedule, chose the people to speak to, set up the interviews, and took detailed notes during filming that will help in the editing process.

Grant explains, “You need that person, in each country, on every trip: the local fixer who is smart and observant and knows a lot of people. And Ernesto always finds the right one.

A highlight of the trip for Grant and Eli was the two days they spent shooting B-roll with Rey. One day in the local community to get shots of street life, and another day in a rural hilly area. Because Rey has a drone, they were able to get great aerial shots on both days.

Grant describes Rey as "...a spontaneous preacher type who would break into a word for you from time to time. And I don’t know how many times a day he told me, ‘Grant, I love you!’ I’m not used to that language, but what could I do? I said, ‘Rey, I love you, too’.”


Now that the group is back in Winnipeg, David Pinto and Heriberto Ayala will join the post-production team. Next steps include:

  • Synchronizing the footage from the 2 cameras of each interview

  • Organizing the B-roll

  • Rough editing each interview for time and content

  • Filming the introductions with Ernesto in the studio

  • Final edits

The end result will be 13 episodes of 180 Grados—each 27 ½ minutes long—that are optimistic, full of life and spirit, and impactful in drawing people closer to Jesus. Why go to all this work?

“Because people are more likely to be inspired by testimonies than by sermons,” says Grant.


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