As a director, do I have a style? If [I do, it's] a combination of verite scenes with interviews. So it's not a purist Fred Wiseman approach. I use music, I use montages, I use interviews. But I generally find the most exciting filmmaking, the strongest scene, usually is a verite scene, and that other stuff works around to support it, to help out the narrative, to help the storytelling. Verite filmmaking is ultimately the centerpiece, the scenes that people walk away remembering. And the rest of it serves to construct the narrative; the building blocks are the spine of the narrative through which the verite films are the accompanying sort of centerpiece.
I also have a mission. I have a company and I executive-produce a bunch of projects, which are on all different topics. Mission is, maybe, a strong word, but I think that if I can expose people to the humanity of segments of the population that they're never exposed to, then I've done a really good job. Particularly in today's climate. There's so much passion for the death penalty. There's so much passion to try juveniles as adults. This is a monster, this twelve year old who killed another eleven year old—this is somebody who should get locked away for life. If I can put a face on that person, and show what that person went through, and show that this person can change—because ultimately that's what a lot of my films are about— people are not equal to their worst actions. There's going to be the occasional sociopath who probably cannot be rehabilitated and can never live in society safely, but that's really the minority in my experience traveling around jails and traveling around juvenile detention centers. Most people can change; there is hope for people, and there is redemption. And there should be forgiveness in society. I think that in all of my films it's part of my mission to work towards that—fostering a sense of forgiveness, and that people can change, and that healing can happen for both victims and folks who committed crimes.
Was this article helpful?
If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.