Speaking during a post-screening Q&A at the 2011 Oslo International Film Festival.
Photo by Halvor Bodin
I am a documentary filmmaker. I’ve been one now for over 15 years, since I began my first doc, Jandek on Corwood, in 2002.
Before that, I made local TV commercials and corporate-type videos, and have continued to do that kind of commercial work periodically between films.
I know a fair bit about every stage of film and video production, but at heart I’m an editor. I love all aspects of post-production – the invisible marvel of continuity editing, the hard edges of dis-continuity editing, the creative fluidity of sound, the subtle and powerful influence of color, and the ceaseless possibilities of visual effects. I’ve even come to appreciate – within reason – the more esoteric arcana of color gamuts, bit depths and codecs.
My favorite software is easily the visual effects and compositing program After Effects. Non-linear editing applications have come and gone, but After Effects has been my dependable software sidekick since I first learned it over 20 years ago.
From 2007-12 I taught filmmaking at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. During those five years, I taught classes in nearly every facet of filmmaking: Beginning and Advanced Narrative Production, Documentary Production, Directing for Film, Cinematography & Lighting, Beginning and Advanced Editing, Sound Design, Archival Research & Storytelling – even Introduction to Film Analysis (one of my favorites) and Business of Film.
Because of my self-education and experience on multiple fronts over these years, I’ve attained a sort of old-fashioned ideal: I’m well-rounded. I do pretty much everything on my films, typically performing every production task except music production.
The upshot is that I can make a fully-polished, deeply-engaging documentary film essentially by myself.
I won’t go on about my films – I hope they speak for themselves. But I will leave some trailers and select press about them below, just so you can see how my work has been received.
JANDEK ON CORWOOD
Film website (Yikes – the site could really use a redesign...and that trailer looks pretty rough in spots; but, hey, it was my first film!)
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH
New York Times
THE EXPERIMENTAL CITY