Foto © Werner Kiefer
Much as I enjoy creating shots and telling stories with the resources a feature film set puts at one’s disposal and the level of control over lighting, camera movement and framing one has in that environment, I find documentary shooting brings you closer to the heart of film-making, which is not just about telling interesting stories in a visually engaging way, but creating an emotional bond between the subject and the viewer. Being close to one’s subject with a small crew and minimal equipment allows me to transfer intimate and honest moments onto the screen in a much more direct way.
I also find that regularly switching between fiction and non-fiction hones my skills, and both fields of film-making profit from experience gathered in the other. A firm grip on film grammar that comes from regularly breaking down fictional scenes informs decisions made on-the-fly when covering a real-life scene as it unfolds in front of you. Being used to reacting intuitively to a spontaneous situation helps one react quickly if a staged scene evolves in an unexpected way.