Documentary filmmaking explained at Jihlava
by David González
- The Czech gathering is hosting a wide array of master classes conducted by talents specialising in each phase of the documentary filmmaking process
The 20th edition of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival is in full swing, dedicating its extensive programme and events to non-fiction filmmaking. Having started on 26 October, and unspooling until the 29th, the parallel events held within the industry programme boast an unmissable highlight this year: a selection of eight master classes that cover the whole process of documentary filmmaking.
The concept at the very beginning of a documentary project, the image itself, is a crucial tool for American experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison. In his case, it is the images on traditional celluloid that serve as the driving force behind all of his talent as he creates opuses using a variety of damaged film strips, such as his best-known work, Decasia, and his most recent, Dawson City: Frozen Time [+see also:
film profile], presented at Venice. Morrison gave a comprehensive overview of the importance of image sources and the image itself as the starting point for a story, as he presented his work.
British producer Rebecca O'Brien (best known for being the woman behind the films by Ken Loach) gave her insights on how to get a project working, and how to work on it, especially when the line between documentary film and fiction is very fine. She produced the most recent Palme d’Or winner, I, Daniel Blake [+see also:
film profile], and is presenting Louise Osmond’s Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach, a documentary on the British icon of social realism.
Veteran Icelandic director Friðrik Thór Friðriksson and emerging Slovak filmmaker Martin Kollar are set to explain to Jihlava audiences their different points of view on directing a documentary - that of an Oscar-nominated filmmaker (for Children of Nature, in 1991) compared to that of a director who is presenting his first solo feature film, 5 October. Meanwhile, US activist filmmaker Mike Bonanno, director of the Yes Men documentaries, will showcase his latest work and discuss what lies behind it.
Icelandic composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, who has worked on documentary and fiction films, and was also involved in Friðriksson’s Children of Nature, for which he won a European Film Award, is to tackle the differences between making music for documentary and fiction films.
Finally, editors Jacopo Quadri and Claire Atherton will present their approaches to the process of editing a documentary. Italy’s Quadri, who was also recently on the credits of the winner of one of Europe's main film awards (Berlin’s Golden Bear), Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile], will present his work on this title, and his own film as a director, The Summer School. Meanwhile, Chantal Akerman collaborator Atherton, hailing from France, is to do the same with her work, and she will illustrate this through the last title made by the acclaimed late director, No Home Movie [+see also:
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