While sifting through over 200 hours of archival footage shot by late French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft to make the National Geographic documentary Fire of Love, director-producer Sara Dosa and producer-co-writer Shane Boris were hoping to find evidence of the married couple’s love story. But upon discovering that the couple rarely, if ever, expressed affection on-camera, Dosa and Boris realized that they could illustrate the Kraffts’ explosive love story in a different way: through the imagery of dazzling volcanic eruptions they captured during their 20-plus years of chasing volcanos together.
“From the very beginning, we were very hopeful that there would be footage of Katia and Maurice together in a way that communicated the imagery of a love story. For example: holding hands, kissing, on dates,” Dosa said during a Q&A she and Boris did together following a screening of Fire of Love on Monday at the 25th annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival.
“We didn’t have any of that, but that ended up being a gift to us that at first was frustrating, but it really opened up creativity,” she added. “We thought, we know we want to tell a love story that feels the most true to them, to Katia and Maurice. That actually came from a sentence in a book that Maurice wrote, where he says, for me Katia and volcanoes is a love story. We felt like he was giving us the thesis for the film… we realized that the imagery of volcanoes could best illustrate their love.”
Fire of Love follows Katia and Maurice Krafft over the course of their lives together, from when they met in the late 1960s to when they tragically died in a volcanic explosion at Japan’s Mount Unzen in 1991. The Kraffts loved two things: volcanoes and each other. For over 20 years, the French volcanologist couple traveled the world chasing and documenting volcanic eruptions. They never had children, but the legacy they left behind, which is captured in Fire of Love, offers so much valuable knowledge about volcanos.
Dosa’s past credits include the 2014 documentary The Last Season, her directorial debut which was nominated for the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award, as well as the 2019 documentary The Seer and Unseen. Dosa also co-directed an episode of the Netﬂix music series Re-Mastered and produced Netflix’s Peabody Award-winning 2016 documentary Audrie & Daisy.
Main Image: Fire of Love — Katia Krafft wearing aluminized suit standing near a lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland. (Credit: Image’Est)