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“Just Being Able to Meet Your Subjects Is a Luxury” | Simon Lereng Wilmont, A House Made of Splinters

Still from A House Made of SplintersStill from A House Made of Splinters

The last two years have prompted much contemplation and reconsideration of the reasons why we make our films as well as the ways in which we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking—whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology or the way you relate to your audience—did you have to reinvent in order to make and complete the film you are bringing to the festival this year?

I miss the hustle and bustle of human interaction—both in the financing and the creative part of the filmmaking process. E-meetings are great in that it is both time and money-saving, not to mention good for the environment, but I still miss the travel and meeting face to face. Its taking away a bit of the human experience, the chemistry and shared excitement, and that is a also a big part of what filmmaking is about for me.

On the other hand, once we overcame the obvious practical production difficulties COVID had on the filming of A House Made of Splinters, I began feeling it left a lot more time for deeper thoughts and greater immersion into the film, which has been really good for the whole process of making the film.

Maybe even more importantly, it reminded me that just being able to meet your subjects is a luxury, and that the friendship and trust that you build between you and your protagonists is the foundation upon which a good documentary is made. I feel, in retrospect, that we ended up spending a whole lot more time just hanging out because of this. Also, it made the actual work less stressful and much more enjoyable. I would like to remind myself of this more often in my future projects.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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