Documentary filmmaking is a form of critical and creative practice – a powerful form and method for conducting research and creating outputs. It is a useful way to explore diverse social and political realities and their processes. Documentary films give us the capacity to enter different worlds in order to document, represent and interpret various realities. They ask us to recognise not only what we are able to represent and narrate, but also the limits of our knowledge. As a research method, documentary filmmaking takes seriously both research and the creative rigours of film production.
The use of a camera as a form of research can spark discussions, provoke performances and reveal intangible realities of social and political life, which may be better represented through the medium of sight and sound. Filmmaking is an immersive, provoking and learning experience. Using a camera is a useful way to ask questions, whether directly to participants in a film by provoking conversations or encounters, or more generally as a form of enquiry. The power of filmmaking is not only that it can focus on people’s lives, but that it also has the capacity to capture mood and emotional moments. Film can do so much more than simply record ‘reality’ – it is an incisive tool for understanding and exploration, where the makers and the audiences can interact, interpret and discover meanings.
Short documentary films will be made during intensive filmmaking workshops, supporting emerging filmmakers to become empowered with creative and practical tools to examine their diverse experiences and different realities of protracted displacement economies. These films will be focused on strong character-led narratives, which will be considered and creative enquiries into the nature of such economies. Local partners in each location will recruit early stage filmmakers to take part in the intensive film workshops where they will pitch their ideas and develop the stories of their films. During the workshops participants will collaborate in small teams on camera, sound and editing. Three short films will be produced for each country location.
Film can be a powerful tool for bringing communities together, to create spaces for dialogues and conversation. Once all the films related to this project have been made, they will be shared across the research network. These screenings will bring different communities together to view, learn from and reflect on the experiences of those in other locations around the world.
Further information on our films, ‘Stories without Borders: Displacement Economies’, is available here.