LEARNING THE ART OF DOCUMENTARY MAKING

“I found myself repeatedly with an empty fridge. A child inclusive this is not a good combination. I thought it might help if I felt good about food and maybe even started enjoying it. There are many sides to eating problems. This is my attempt to take a look at them in my life.”

This is how I summed up the new documentary I was going to make. I was studying with Riitta Granath, an excellent documentary teacher at Keuda, a Finnish training provider. I finally learned the ups and downs of a documentary storyline. How to bridge it together with events, characters, emotions, obstacles and to come to a final point of solution and then the end!

I think that my earlier documentaries were more free flowing….I was filming everything I felt was important and caught my attention. But when I got into the editing stage, I realized I had not had a proper plan to be able to edit a continuous story. So I kind of had to reinvent the documentary in the editing timeline. Find bits and pieces to add…

CHOOSING MYSELF AS A SUBJECT

I think every documentarist needs to step in front of the camera once. To feel how it is to be filmed, to understand the needs of the subjects and to learn about the art of honesty.

have always been quite a traumatized person due to my hostile childhood but I did not want to handle the very heavy subject of actual traumatization. So I chose one symptom of it, my eating problems. I wanted this to be a creative documentary so that I include actors, effects and fast transitions from one place to another. And good music.

My lovely daughter Petra agreed to be in it, to help to reflect me as a mother with eating problems. I went through all my life situations in which eating could be observed differently; from one pizza slice a day in New York to fasting retreats in Asia. It was an interesting journey to my life. I also included therapeutic methods I use for observing my inner state, especially body-wise. 

POINTS OF REFLECTION

When making a documentary about yourself (=myself), one cannot help but think who is going to be interested in watching this? To make this not an educational and not a diary type of film, I decided to build it so that no questions are actually answered. I just provide points of reflection and leave it to the reader to find their own answers!

I guess it worked well as my teacher was very hyped about it. It was also chosen to be shown at the Viscult Anthropological Film Festival in Finland. I should have gone there as a director and maker but I felt too much shame to do that. So instead I watched the live stream from Helsinki. I heard the presenter say: I think Seija is watching this and I wonder why she never came here…Such is level of difficulty when being truly visible is an issue. Well, here I am almost visible, via my projection.

I recommend everyone interested in documentary making to study how storylines are built to provide an audience with a satisfying experience of being delivered a continuous, rich, emotionally fulfilling and professional film. Once you learn that you can turn everything upside down if you want to! You may ask me to teach you about documentary making. I have coached a couple of script writing processes and it was a good learning experience for all.

FOOD – Too Much To Digest
Script, camera, editing, sound, acting: Seija Hirstiö / Heartwaves Design
Production: Heartwaves Design and Keuda, Helsinki
Language: Finnish, English subtitles
2015

Seija Hirstiö
Documentarist
Designer
Artist
Contact
seija(at)heartwavesdesign.com
I have expressed myself visually since early youth, with film, photography, online videos, graphic design, web design and performance art. I am open to collaboration! Please, contact.

 

Contact
seija@heartwavesdesign.com
I have expressed myself visually since early youth, with film, photography, online videos, graphic design, web design and performance art. I am open to collaboration! Please, contact.

 

Copyright © 2024 Heartwaves Design. All Rights Reserved.