Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay, so maybe unsure about the length

I go back and forth about the length of this documentary. In my heart, all this work, I guess it's that I can't stand to think that the story of our people, this hard work they spend in the fields would be reduced to a "short" documentary. That's what they call the 30-minute documentaries, "short" documentaries. It's almost insulting to think of a history of our past as "short." Then there's the feeling of ego. that as a filmmaker, I want to move beyond the 30 minute length of the films we've done for PBS into the "hour-long" documentary length. It feels more serious, more substantial. But having said all this, what really trumps these worries is that what matters is the root of the story. I spoke with a filmmaker this last weekend at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Valerie is her name. She has a 20-minute film that started out as a 40 minute film. But when she spoke with her script consultant, he kept hammering at her, "but what's the root story?" and telling her to remove the characters with redundant stories.

That's our challenge. What's the root of the story, when is it redundant. And I guess for me to remind myself that more than worry about the length, is just to tell the most engaging compelling story that we can.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Figured out the documentary length.

We've decided to make the documentary a 30 minute program. Why is that a big deal to decide? Well, it's a financial, creative and and ego-driven decision. Financially it will be cheaper to pay for post-production, editing, graphics, music and licensing for a shorter program. Not THAT much cheaper but a little bit. Then it's easier to do the creative and compelling documentary in half an hour. You leave the audience learning something but still craving for more information. This is a good thing, rather than having them watch something for an hour and be bored by it. And finally, as a filmmaker I would love to have something that is an hour-long program, which makes it feel like a substantial film piece, I think the best thing for the piece is that it's usable for educational purposes. HUGE. This is the end goal, really. We need the younger generations to watch this to watch this in class, to discuss this. To get some filipino american history into their noggins and feel good about themselves as filipinos. Very important.

Found this interesting blog:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Final Days of Grant Application Whirlwind

We're counting the days now before we turn in a couple of applications to a couple of funders. A big one, in fact. If we get this one, then that's it. We're done. We can make the film the way we want to, pay people fairly and maybe even pay ourselves, which is frankly unheard of in the business of documentary filmmaking.

I'm happy to say we have NOT procrastinated. Unlike the past, we've actually spent a few weeks honing the application and will continue to do so until Friday when we will hand it all in.

One thing we're doing is trying to show how relevant the story of the Delano Manongs is to the present day. Basically, if you think about it farm worker's conditions has reverted back to what it was 40 years ago.

Here's a link to an online documentary about the subject. Haven't checked it out myself yet, but it looks really interesting:

Will post a link to the new trailer soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Water Torture is Nothing New

Annals of American History: The Water Cure:

I've been writing the treatment for the documentary, mostly for the handful of grant applications I'm filling out, and I'm trying to establish the history of relationship the Philippines with the US. Came across this article. Seems that waterboarding by the US government is actually a century old practice: