What’s the relationship between documentary and democracy?

Now more than ever, filmmakers are fighting to give a voice to the disaffected, the poor and the oppressed.

Remember the furore around Blackfish? The gut-churning horror of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 documentary about the controversial practices of catching and keeping whales in captivity led to mass protests and petitions against SeaWorld and other aquariums. Real change was brought about directly because of this film and people exercising their democratic rights in response to it. Engendering activism is one of the strengths that documentary has over narrative film; we see real people and real situations, secrets are exposed and unpleasant truths are brought into the light so that we can no longer ignore them.

Continue reading

Dietrich Bruggemann director of Stations of the Cross

I spoke to Dietrich Bruggemann who directed one of this year’s more controversial and artistic offerings, Stations of the Cross.

Apart from 3 scenes the camera is static – why did you choose this way to shoot and what problems did it create for you? How much preparation was involved?

Back in 2005, I had shot my first feature in that same fashion. That was a comedy, and I was fascinated how well that extreme reduction worked, both for the drama and for the fun. Continue reading


Amat Escalante won the best director gong at Cannes 2013 with this his 3rd feature set in his home country of Mexico. Heli tells the story of the eponymous “hero” (played by newcomer Armando Espitia) who works in the local car factory and lives with his father, sister, wife and baby. When his sister Estela (a very young Andrea Vergara) gets embroiled in her boyfriend Beto’s (Juan Eduardo Palacios) money making scheme things go horribly wrong for the whole family. Continue reading

Amat Escalante the writer and director of Heli

Amat Escalante the writer and director of Heli (released May 23rd) managed to find some time in his hectic promotion schedule to speak to me about his latest project.

Amat, since you finished the film (Heli) how many times have you watched it?

Completely from beginning to end, maybe 2 or 3 times

Are there any scenes you find difficult to watch?

For me it is very personal why I wouldn’t like to watch a scene; usually because it doesn’t come out how I wanted, maybe I wasn’t able to achieve something or I saw some defect. Continue reading