Echoes of the Invisible: Pushing the Limits of Human Experience

Echoes of the Invisible: Pushing the Limits of Human Experience

Award-winning documentary Echoes of the Invisible (2020) looks at timelessness, the origins of the universe, and what it means to be one of the almost 8 billion inhabitants of Planet Earth.

The film follows the explorers who are pushing the human body and technology beyond known limits in the most extreme environments on Earth. One of them is Paul Salopek, a journalist walking across the world in the footsteps of the earliest human migrations. Others include scientists like Joe Incandela, building machines to look back nearly to the beginning of time.

Joining us is the award-winning director, cinematographer, and editor Steve Elkins, and two other participants in this film – particle physicist Joe Incandela, and Julia Payne, who is the project manager for Paul Salopek at the Out of Eden project. 

Echoes of the Invisible took almost 7 years to make, as Steve travelled the globe interviewing scientists, monks, and athletes. We discuss the journey of making this film, and the great wealth of human experiences on this marvellous planet.

“I take a whole bunch of stories that absolutely deserve their own documentaries, but I try to see what sparks fly off when you collide these different stories together.” – Steve Elkins

Time Stamps:

00:00 – Guest introductions and the trailer for Echoes of the Invisible.
03:15 – When and where Echoes of the Invisible has been released.
05:29 – What the film is about and the common themes connecting the stories it looks at.
09:31 – What the Out of Eden Walk is, and the journey Paul Salopek has been on.
13:22 – What the God Particle is, why it’s so important, and how they study it at CERN.
18:35 – How long ago the Big Bang is considered to have happened. 
19:01 – How Steve found the different stories to put together for this documentary.
22:42 – Why Steve doesn’t pitch his films and how he’s able to still produce them.
24:45 – The logistical difficulties involved in making the film.
26:01 – How long it took to film the documentary.
27:00 – The bureaucratic hardships you face when walking around the world.
29:17 – How Paul has managed to afford walking around the world for so long.
33:59 – What Joe’s response was when Steve approached him about being in Echoes of the Invisible.
40:02 – The over-emphasis on profitability within Western culture.
42:43 – How Paul reacted to the message of the film.
46:38 – Steve’s different artistic interests and how art can help science connect to the public.
50:00 – The relationship between artists and scientists, and announcing Higgs boson.
53:58 – How long Paul estimates it will be until he finishes his journey.
56:00 – The next scientific project Joe is working on.
57:52 – What dark matter is and is it the answer to the fundamental questions of the universe.
59:31 – The next projects Steve is working on.
1:02:43 – The clock Jeff Bezos is building that will chime every 1,000 years.  


Echoes of the Invisible (2021)
Out of Eden Walk
Out of Eden Walk Nonprofit
Innersound Audio 
Alamo Pictures

Connect with Steve Elkins:

Connect with Joe Incandela:

Connect with Julia Payne:

Connect with Factual America:

Connect with Matthew Sherwood:

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Episode 70