Film Research/Inspiration

Over the course of 1st term I have looked for stylistic inspiration for my documentary. I came across a documentary that I watched in my second year at university. This documentary inspired me through the visuals, message and overall meaning of the film. This film was Marley directed by Kevin Macdonald (2012). I found this to be inspiring as it is a biographic, character based documentary just like mine is. It has a mixture of observational footage and archive footage. This is something that I thought worked well together and is something that I want to explore in my documentary. Finding the perfect balance between these two is very important. What interested me in terms of the visuals is the filler shots. Many of the filler shots are of Bob Marley’s hometown in Jamaica and the people that reside there. I found this to be extremely interesting as personally I saw this a way to communicate to the audience that Bob used to live like these people that are being shown. This gives more of an inviting feel to the documentary and makes it connect with the audience on a personal level.

Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing (2012)

As Bob is no longer alive, archive footage played a big part in exploring his relationships and his history. The visuals are also grainy which gives a raw and authentic feel to the documentary. As a filmmaker I am always trying to make the visuals look clear, however this documentary has taught me that having clean visuals is not always the best way to go. In terms of archive footage, it is okay if it is a little grainy as this just shows the age and the authenticity of the images/videos. Some similar films that share this concept of raw footage is Amy (2015) and Senna (2010) both directed by my favourite director, Asif Kapadia. These documentaries are made up of purely archive footage. During my research for my summer task which can be found HERE. Kapadia states that he will shoot on anything, the only thing that matters to him is the story and if it’s engaging enough for the audience. I found this to be very interesting and inspiring.

Universal Pictures UK (2011)

In terms of the interview styles, I would like my documentary to have sit down interviews just like they have in Marley. I like the fact they used real locations instead of having a black backdrop which some documentaries have used. I think that is looks more real and it also makes the individual feel more comfortable if they are in an environment that they are familiar with. For my documentary I want to shoot the interviews in real locations as I believe that this reveals more about the character that is being interviewed

Another documentary that I looked into is a student documentary which goes by the name of “The Little Things” which focuses upon a homeless man and his experiences in society. This is filmed in an observational style as most of the shots are him just walking around the street, however this documentary has some really interesting and stylistic shots. For example, when we can see his reflection in the puddle on the floor. This gave me ideas in terms of my shot list and the kind of angles that I want for my documentary. After watching this documentary I realised that I have the freedom to be creative with my documentary and produce something that is visually striking. Although this documentary is simple, it still gets the message across in a visual way. My favourite shot from this documentary is when the individual, who this documentary is about is staring right at the camera. This connects him to audience. This makes the audience feel a part of the documentary and make us think he is addressing us personally. I think this was a nice touch among the rest of the observational footage.

Nathalie Basoska (2015)

While watching other documentaries I realised that I do not need to be limited to one mode or style, I can be creative with all styles as majority of the documentaries have a mixture of both expository and observational footage despite them two styles being polar opposites. I feel as though I can create something that is creative, interesting and engaging using these documentaries as inspiration.


Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing (2012) ‘Marley trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <; [12 January 2017]
Nathalie Basoska (2015) ‘The little things – homeless in New York city -sho’. on YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <; [11 January 2017]
Universal Pictures UK (2011) ‘Senna – official UK trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <; [11 January 2017]



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