“Documentary is a dangerous form of storytelling”
Industry Report: Documentary
Giedrė Burokaitė • Producer, Meno Avilys
Interview with Giedrė Burokaitė, producer for Lithuanian company Meno Avilys and selected for the 2020 Emerging Producers programme
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Giedrė Burokaitė: I produce documentaries because I admire documentaries. It is a way of portraying the world as close to reality as possible. Therefore, the viewer engages with these films differently. Emphasizing a character living in a real world surrounded by facts, not fiction, has a great chance to spark a true change. That also makes it a dangerous form of storytelling – you can't show the complete truth, because it is told through the creator's point of view. A filmmaker must be responsible for it. From the production side I love that feeling of surprise, discovery and adventure. You don't know where the story will take you and how the movie will end. This is both exciting and challenging.
What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
A precise plan usually doesn't work while shooting a documentary. Real locations are not sets and real people are not actors. The story of the film will probably be completely different than originally planned, the editing process will take much longer, there will be additional shootings days, the crew will get lost somewhere, cameras will break. To cope with all of that a producer should be patient, passionate, not afraid of challenges.
What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
Theatrical releases and film festivals should stay the main distribution platform. Streaming services and VOD will reach some audience, but I don't think documentaries will get so mainstream to reach massive audiences outside cinema halls.
What projects do you have under way?
Recently we have finished a short animated film Snow Shelter that tells the story about a society devastated by war. We have just started distributing it. There are two projects in production – a VR project about classic Lithuanian literature and animated film Mora Mora about a little girl travelling in a fantastic world, which reflects her emotions. This film was developed in a script writing workshop organized by European Short Pitch and pitched there. Also, we’re waiting for the results of funding of a short documentary film about crypto currency and modern-time gold diggers.
Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2021 edition is 15 March, 2020.
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