Filmmaker Paul Lazarus has a new documentary Dean Kamen, a prolific, enterprising innovator and inventor. Kamen created the Segway. But, that is just one of his inventions, he has many more inventions in the medical and other field. All Kamen does day in and day out is dream of new inventions, prototype, tweak, tweak, tweak and then introduce them to the world. While this process may seem easy, it requires a lot of dedication, patience and hard work and above all laser-sharp focus. And that is the Kamen we see in this new documentary “Slingshot” by Lazarus. You can put any kind of water from any source and Slingshot will filter all the impurities and gunk and give you clean, potable water adds Lazarus.
In “Slingshot” we see how Kamen struggles with an idea to create an economical and efficient water filtering system to be used in Africa and Asia. Potable water is a distant pipe dream to millions of people in many countries around the world. And water, points out Kamen is the main source of many of the diseases in the world. By providing clean drinking water you can reduce the instances of various diseases and let people lead a healthier and normal life and that is the goal that Kamen is trying to get to through his invention – Slingshot.
Entrepreneurship is often seen through a sexy lens of doing what you want, raising money, going IPO or staying private and making boatloads of money. But is that what an entrepreneur’s life is about? Entrepreneurship is a “messy” process as Kamen points out in the film. It is interesting to see that even a successful and proven entrepreneur like Kamen has to struggle to find traction with investors for this new water filtering system. He finally succeeds by working with Coca-Cola. By partnering with Coco-Cola Kamen and his team take Slingshot, an economical and efficient water filtering system to different parts of Africa.
We caught up with Lazarus at the 2014 Cinequest Film Festival to talk about what got him interested in making this film and about Kamen’s single-minded dedication to his work. Apparently Kamen has visited a grocery store just a couple of times in his lifetime. Now, how is that for single-minded focus and dedication?
Here is our extended interview with Lazarus.