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George Saunders: On Story - Director's Statement

It happens when we least expect it. We’re listening to a song, watching a movie or reading a book – going along on a nice tame ride. Then suddenly a small detail – a melody, a gesture, a simple phrase even – hits us and leaves us breathless. It’s the moment when a story goes from being a simple sequence of words or pictures and elevates into something profound. That moment shakes us because it feels thrilling and true, but most of all because it’s just… beautiful. For storytellers, that moment is the holy grail. So once we pick ourselves back up and dust ourselves off, we’re left with one burning question: how did they do that?

That’s the question that we explore in our new short film George Saunders: On Story. As one of our greatest living writers, George Saunders is a master of his craft. His weirdly powerful short stories seem to condense a lifetime of human experience into mere pages and somehow actually leave readers wanting to be better people. So how does he do it? Over the course of our rare in-depth conversation with him, he pulls back the curtain on a surprising approach to writing, creativity and life that left us truly inspired.

There’s an amazing moment in the film where we watch him take a single mundane sentence and infuse it with the distinct blend of depth, compassion, and outright magic that are the trademarks of his most powerful work. It encapsulates so much of what we love about him, and embodies the idea that the best stories are more than just entertainment - they’re beacons of light that show us a path through the confusing world in which we live.

Tom and Sarah

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