Shooting Babies taught Thomas a few lessons in parenting, he says. "I'm trying to be less materialistic with my kids, not bring them so many toys. To be really just there, me alone with no phone or computer between us," he says. "Like the Japanese father [who is on the phone] when he's taking care of the little girl? We're all doing that."

Oprah says the film changed her perspective of which nations provide the ideal lifestyle early in life. "When I first watched it I thought, 'Gosh, I want to be Hattie, in that little jumping-up-and-down thing and going to yoga class,'" she says. "And by the end, I thought the African baby out in the wilderness being free had a lot of advantages."

In one scene, Bayarjargal from Mongolia is alone, surrounded by cows. Oprah says she couldn't believe that no one intervened. "I'm thinking, 'Well, is somebody going to stop the cow?' I couldn't believe it!"

Thomas says he made very clear to the parents that he was a filmmaker not a babysitter. "I was enjoying the moment knowing I had a great piece of cinema. I was not [worried] because the mother was not very far away. She was fine. If she was cool, I was cool," he says. "I almost never interfered. If something crazy would ever happen, I would have." Thomas says there were no safety problems during the filming because the babies surrounded by animals grew up living with them.


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