I have 100% decided to shoot a documentary going forward for my final project, upon it’s approval, I will continue the final preparations before I venture out to Morocco. Over time I have been researching different material that relates to my subject matter, looking for stylistic inspiration and further ideas to help put this thing together. I have searched online for more amateur material from practitioners who don’t have the biggest budgets but do have a camera and a creative mindset. Jetting out to places where many of us Westerner’s have never even dreamed of going, never mind having the chance to work and create something with meaning that holds real worth.
The first short documentary I stumbled across was Norma’s Colours (D. Florence Kennard, 2016) that explores the memories Tina Waterman has of her mother Norma, visually explained through her collection of jewellery and antique birds amassed over some eighty nine years. The colours are beautiful and I like the style, slow paced and thoughtful. It poetically compliments the memories, the relationship between Tina and her mother. A whole life is beautifully summarised in this small documentary that looks to represent a unique individual. My piece would not be so slow but at times I like the development here. I’m more interested in the colour, it really impacts the mood of the film.
Here is the documentary:
The reason I want to head out to Morocco is because I was moved when I met the artisans out there; unique individuals who create things in a marvellous way it would astound you. The skill and creativity is unreal. I get excited at the thought of returning and having the chance to speak with them once again. This time I can ask the questions I didn’t get chance to do before. What I love in Norma’s Colours is that the footage is not complicated, its simple, natural. The sequences are not always overlaid with parts of the interview, they are left to speak for themselves. The individual sounds of the mechanised birds, the placement of the newspaper, the culmination of sounds as more are turned. I will have b roll in my film where the interviewees talk over but I’d also like sequences where the visual, the sounds speak volumes and do not need explaining. I want to capture the artisans working, every unique movement and sound. If I do this right, it could be as beautiful as this documentary above.
Another piece that I found was Elgin Park (D. Danny Yourd, 2015), a short documentary examining the work of Michael Paul Smith. He has spent time devising a 1/24th-scale recreation of everyday scenes from mid-20th century America, ranging from the 1920s to the mid-1960s. He photographs this scenes against natural backdrops in and around his neighbourhood, creating something that is super realistic. I have always been interested in models and projects of this scale as I feel they harbour so much skill. This is a craft in itself. I really like the sequences of Michael working here, a faster pace than Norma’s Colours but it’s beautifully shot and feels natural, once again showing the life of a simple man in it’s purest form. This is what I want to achieve.
Here is the documentary below:
As you can see it has won dozens of awards and screened at multiple festivals. The technical side of this documentary is not huge, there is no crazy editing (apart from the cut of the pictures and graphics) it wouldn’t have cost a huge amount to make. The reason for it’s success is how unique the subject is, how the person is so honest and down to earth. People resonate with this and enjoy watching the amazing work of an everyday individual you’d otherwise never have known. The artisans in Sefrou are amongst some of these talented craftsmen who may never be known for their work apart from the confines of the community in Sefrou itself. I want people to know, I want people to watch and appreciate them.
Going forward I am going to consider a number of ways I can best capture the artisans at work and look for more inspiration in other short documentaries that I come across.
- Elgin Park (2015) D. Danny Yourd. [Online] Available from: https://vimeo.com/116577464 [Accessed: January 8th 2017]
- Norma’s Colours (2016) D. Florence Kennard. [Online] Available from: https://vimeo.com/129836049 [Accessed: January 8th 2017]