With the award season underway, National Geographic invited four celebrated directors of documentary films to the Academy shortlist.
The panelist attendees included director Alex Pritz of The Territory, director Sara Dosa of Fire of Love, director Matthew Heineman of Retrograde, and director Cynthia Wade of The Flagmakers.
Matthew Heineman started off the success as a documentary director is building trust with his subjects.
“Trust is at the center of everything I do. Trust is not given. It’s earned,” said director and producer Heineman of Retrograde. “It allows me to get these intimate moments in my films.”
He explained to humanize audiences to connect with the rest of the world that seems so distant.
Pritz also had to develop trust with the tribe in his story in The Territory. Neidinha Bandeira, an activist and central figure of the film, urged the director to present the perspectives of the indigenous tribes.
“Neidinha said you must include the indigenous community defending the forest from these attacks. The conflict doesn’t start with them. I really appreciate for pushing us to talk to the defenders of the forest.
For Sara Dosa, she shared how she constructed a documentary based on the couple who died decades ago. The volcanic scientists, Katia and Maurice Krafft, died in a volcanic explosion. Yet, they left some of the most memorable images.
“We learned that they have a phenomenal amount of footage. We want to tell this intimate love story and put the volcano in the center of the story,” explained director and producer Sara Dosa of Fire of Love. “There will be things that we will never know since they passed away.”
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Pritz explained that the murder of his subject was devastating. Ari Uru-eu-awu-wau is a 32-year-old teacher and a leader in his community. Ari was found murdered on the roadside, with his death unsolved at the film’s conclusion.
“We were living alongside them. We question whether it was worth it,” said Pritz on whether they considered quitting after the murder. “The answer is yes. We need to tell his story. Silence is where violence thrives.”
All four films are currently streaming today.
Source: National Geographic