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When a filmmaker teams up with a giant corporate brand to film something for them, it can usually be called selling out, or at least an understandable example of a filmmaker trying to make some cash to fund his next "real" project. But in working with AT&T for this short documentary, called "From One Second To The Next," Werner Herzog may be literally saving lives-- along with making a piece as stirring and hard to watch as his other documentaries like Grizzly Man or Into the Abyss.
Technically it's a Public Service Announcement, made to be shown to 40,000 different high schoolers and various safety organizations, according to The Associated Press. But it's a strong documentary on its own, a look at what's becoming a terrifyingly common kind of acciden-- people injured or killed by a driver who was texting. Herzog gives us time to get to know the victims and their families before even revealing that texting was at the root of the tragedy-- and, int he second story he tells, shows how even the technology-shunning Amish community can be affected by distracted, texting drivers. As Herzog explains it, even though it's an ad for one of the largest phone companies, it's more about disconnecting from a product than buying anything:
"This has nothing to do with consumerism or being part of advertising products. This whole campaign is rather dissuading you from excessive use of a product. It's a campaign. We're not trying to sell anything to you. We're not trying to sell a mobile phone to you. We're trying to raise awareness."
Though this powerful PSA might make Herzog popular with plenty of other companies trying to get their messages out, he's still got his eye on returning to feature film. He's reportedly still working on assembling Queen of the Desert a biopic of British archaeologist Gertrude Bell which will star Naomi Watts, Jude Law and Robert Pattinson. Last fall he made plans to adapt the coming-of-age novel Vernon God Little, though there's no word on where that project stands.
For more on the campaign against texting and driving you can visit ItCanWait.com. And, come on guys-- don't text and drive. You didn't need Werner Herzog to tell you that.