In the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody could have predicted what was to come. Before huge social upheavals and an accelerating rate of tragedy, people essentially closed the doors on busy lives and tried to figure out how to navigate each day, one at a time. The short documentary NAVIGATING THE CURVE examines the early days of the 2020 pandemic through voices from around the country sharing stories of resilience, creativity, and resolve. It showcases fresh perspectives on the emerging crisis with intimate first-person accounts of life suddenly and unexpectedly transformed.

  • Michael Starobin
    Water for Tea, Footprints, Largest, Loop, Waterfalls
  • Michael Starobin
    Water for Tea, Footprints, Largest, Loop, Waterfalls
  • Project Type:
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  • Runtime:
    43 minutes 58 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 11, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    150 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Michael Starobin

Michael Starobin is the president and creative director of 1AU Global Media, a media production and communications consulting company. He is also the the senior producer at The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the 1st Place winner for NASA Video Producer of the year in 2020. His work has played at the Smithsonian, Rockefeller Center, congressional and other federal presentations, and on network and cable television. On multiple occasions it's been selected for special juried SIGGRAPH exhibitions. He and his team have won awards and accolades, and many of their works are showing today in museums around the world. His Science On a Sphere movie LOOP was named a 2013 finalists at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

At NASA, Michael led an effort to develop technology and techniques for delivering the world’s first movie projected on a fully spherical screen. Time Magazine named the resulting film "FOOTPRINTS" one of the best inventions of the year. Michael and his team have produced for 3D systems, ultra-high resolution, wide aspect video walls, and live events.
Prior to working at NASA Michael worked in the Washington news corps, overseeing news and video services for Conus Communications, a national media company. Earlier at Conus he helmed the science and technology desk, reporting and producing for the network. Prior to Conus he worked in public radio as a producer.

Michael has an extensive background in the performing arts in addition to his life in electronic media. For a number of years before and after his radio days, he devoted himself to the arts, working in independent film, writing, and live performance. Michael graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota with a degree in anthropology and honors work in biomedical ethics. His regular blog on creativity appears on the first Monday of each month at

For those wondering, 1AU refers to "One Astronomical Unit", a unit of distance referring to the average space between the Earth and The Sun.

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Director Statement

Considering that traditional filmmaking techniques--namely working face to face with interview subjects and creative colleagues--could not happen with social distancing guidelines, this film was produced by helping distant interview subjects try and capture their own stories. It had a budget of sweat and blood; it was made for almost nothing except technology at arms reach and a profound desire to share this story.

While as individuals we may not be able to develop vaccines, nor feed the millions who are going hungry, nor directly alter the political forces affecting our world, we are empowered to share stories. If that strikes you as small potatoes, as something trivial and irrelevant, I’ll gently suggest that the act of sharing stories is the most vital bonding agent in cultures that endure. Isolated people tend to succumb to the elements. People who lean in and listen to each other have a chance at something that survives beyond daily travail. That’s the motivational intention behind this film. It’s one verse in a much larger epic, but it’s also our verse to share.