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Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger | Director Joe Berlinger

WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
Attention, our audience’s and our own — it’s a valued commodity these days. We struggle to command our audience’s attention, for them to discover our work and then, once they’ve discovered it, to actually focus on it. Meanwhile, we struggle to focus our own attention, to fight our society’s weapons of mass distraction so we can not just see our work to completion but fully discover the meanings within it. What role does attention play in your work? Can you discuss an instance where you thought about some aspect of attention when it came to your film? 
Tune out the distractions and just stay true to your vision and not try to second guess audience attention or appetite — this has always been my guiding principal for the past two decades, even in the face of great technological change and competition for brain space. Call me old-fashioned, but I have stayed true to the cinéma-vérité approach of capturing life as it unfolds before the camera, avoiding narration and allowing each member of the audience to form his or her own opinion about what they are seeing on screen — regardless of the size of the screen these days. This challenges the audience to pay attention to the film and its many possible interpretations.  Therefore, regardless of the distractions that exist for both the filmmaker and the audience, I think all artists in all disciplines have only their intuition to rely on. One should follow their own muse and not pander to potential audience distractions or changing tastes. If the audience rejects your work, you can take pride in knowing that you have not tried to second-guess your own aesthetic principles.


[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 18 at 2:30 pm – The MARC, Park City]

Sundance 2014 Responses

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