Thursday, September 02, 2010

Listening with the Lens - filming a documentary

As many of you know, last October I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Nepal as a videographer/filmmaker, to document the story of Loving Arms Mission Orphanage. It was a profoundly moving experience, much of which I have previously blogged about (see links at end of this post).


This was my first effort at documentary film making. When the opportunity arose, I had only a portfolio of still images and my passion and enthusiasm to offer...not to mention my camera - the Canon 5D Mark II, with the technology to shoot HD video in addition to stills. Fortunately, the experience mattered less than the ability to dedicate my heart, mind, and spirit into my work, and for me, that's just a given in everything I do! So after only a short 2-day intensive film making workshop with Pat Darrin, and a significant investment in audio equipment, I was on a plane to Kathmandu.

Today, I couldn't be more honored and proud to share with you these three shorts, produced and edited by the team at Loving Arms Mission. Each is about 6-8 minutes long, and all three are different. I had no idea what the final pieces would be like, there was no specific shoot list nor storyboard; I was entrusted with full confidence to simply shoot what I saw and let the camera "tell it like it is", which is what documentary film making is all about. As I began taping, the story just began to tell itself, and all I did was listen...with the lens.


1) Stranger in a Strange Land Part II


Notes:
* THIS IS MY PERSONAL FAVORITE - the children are truly inspirational for their triumphs and resilience; and to see their joyous spirit now, their love for music, their complete comfort with self and others, well, listening with the lens couldn't have been easier!
* 4:00 minutes in - this song echoed through the home as the girls rehearsed, learning the lyrics off an ipod


1) Stranger in a Strange Land Part I


Notes:
* .30 seconds in, camera on tripod, you'll see me on the right - the joy of being welcomed into the family as "Auntie Kymri" and to both document and participate in everyday life at the orphanage was truly a special experience.
* 3:45 minutes in, this was how dinner happened every night, with all the children helping with the cooking and serving and cleaning. Shovah, the mother, is a wonderful cook of tasty and healthy vegetarian meals.


3) Stranger in a Strange Land Part III


Notes:
* Opening - the longer I was there, the more I relied on the tri-pod, because too often I'd be drawn out from behind the camera to be included in this amazing loving family.
* 4:50 minutes in - nice montage of still images to tell the story.
* throughout - more great scenes of life with the children

In the end, it is Kent's words that sum it all up best, for himself, for the children, and for my own experience in the making of this film:


"...to embrace life without fear....is just a great, beautiful reward"

Indeed it is.

And, like Kent, I wouldn't have it any other way.


More:
Kids Around the World: On Location in Nepal - my story in stills, behind the scenes
Goats and Gods - the celebration of Dashain and a vegetarian alternative to slaughtering a goat
Kathmandu, Nepal: Homecomings - the simple things which keep me feeling at home away from home
Kids Around the World: Orphans with a Home - my Nepali nieces and nephews
Landslides and Leeches: a trekking journal, Nepal - after the filming, the crew were rewarded with a 7-day trek, and here I share my journal and experience

2 comments:

  1. Great work Kymri ! Lovely visual.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete