Short form filmmaking is nothing new for Elizabeth Lo. In just the past three years, the Los Angeles-based director has amassed five documentary shorts, including the widely seen and celebrated Hotel 22. That 8-minute film played at numerous festivals around the world, aired as a New York Times Op-Doc, and won the 2016 Cinema Eye Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking. As exemplified by Hotel 22, which brings the viewer onto a San Francisco night bus that functions as a de facto shelter for people living on the streets, her work to date has focused on people and communities at the margins of society.

In one sense, that focus made her a good fit for The Disclosure President, her new Field of Vision film centering on Stephen Bassett, the lone U.S. lobbyist advocating around matters pertaining to Extra Terrestrials, UFOs, and related government secrets. But in another sense, as Lo discusses in the following interview, this film was a departure. Whereas her previous work approached subjects ethnographically, and with a deliberate and evocative formal rigor, here she found herself honing in on, and adapting her aesthetics to, a single and singularly complex character. Though Stephen has spent 30 years unsuccessfully fighting for the lifting of what he calls "The Truth Embargo" of government information on E.T.s, Lo's film shows how there might actually be progress under a Hillary Clinton presidency. She talked about treading into all of these uncharted territories in this candid conversation.

Let’s start with the really obvious question: How did you come across Steven? Is this something that you read about? Did you meet him? Where did it start for you?

Lo: So Field of Vision actually contacted me and told me about Steven. They had come across him in a Washington Post article where he was described as sort of like the only lobbyist on the Hill fighting for the ET issue. I read about him and I was kind of drawn to it because it seemed so different than the subject matter of my other films—disenfranchised communities, marginalized groups. But Steven’s form of marginalization was pretty foreign to me. And I knew that the kind of topic the UFO story would be, I wouldn’t be able to observational in my mode of filmmaking. That was an interesting challenge for me.

Did you have a sense of “why me” for this? Or was it more: “this is different, I like it?”

Lo: I did have a sense of “why me.” It feels kind of different. But then there was this…I started doing researching and thought about UFOs as an interesting cinematic challenge, you know, how to represent them visually, if at all. And then I went to this conference as a scout, the Alien Cosmic Expo which was in Canada, and he was going to be there. So I went there, the first day he didn’t show up because he lives out of his car, well he lives at home with supporters who house him…he doesn’t have permanent housing anywhere. I guess his car had broken into the day before his flight, and his passport was stolen….all of these things that I guess were indicative of what had happened to him from being part of this issue. I guess I’m not sure of the cause/effect of his life choices. But then he showed up…first I had a phone conversation with him, and he was very verbose and talked a lot and was very maniacal. Just had this energy about him that I thought was really interesting. Anyone with passion can be a good subject. When I met him, he was actually much kinder than my impression of him on the phone.

Was it just that he was so excited on the phone? That he went into a sort of messianic place?

Lo: Yes, he definitely had that. And so much anger. He was able to talk about in a way that was, about how the truth embargo, which was the governments supposed policy in the 1940s to contain the truth about UFOs through ridicule. He talked about it as if that was responsible for everything that’s going on in the world today. Like in terms of the Middle East, Syria…that the separation between military intelligence and the president over the UFO is what’s caused the rift within government that has enabled these wars. Him being able to extrapolate these huge societal issues that are real from this thing, Roswell and other incidents, that don’t have widely accepted evidence behind them. That compelled me. That he had a real social and political drive behind what he was doing. IT wasn’t just a fascination with aliens. He wanted to save the world and this is how he believed he could cure all the ills of the world by getting the government to reveal secret about its ET contacts. That spirit is what made me think he might be worth pursuing.

How did you navigate you interest in that passion, that engagement with your degree of belief you have in the truthfulness of what he was saying?

Lo: When I first got the call from FoV to look into him, I started to read about UFO people and books written by seemingly credible sources like Harvard professor John E. Mac called abduction. This was the book that changed Steven Bassett’s life. There were all these accounts of people—-contactees they’re called—when I started reading these books, the message in the book was beautiful one. These are people who have experienced things and are constantly ridiculed because of outer forces that discredit what they’re saying. But from this one profressor’s research, it seemed that all these contactees experiences some sort of benevolent aliens. Or aliens that had a mission to save humanity from themselves. All of these UFOs people that I was reading seemed to come from a very activist place. They saw all these political ills, and they tied them…they determined maybe aliens would come save us. There’s a kind of desperation in it. But it also was reflective of things that are happening now. The introductions of the books are very eloquently written, but then as I got further into their specific stories, I didn’t find it all that believable. At least to me I couldn’t get behind it. Then I read another book by Lesley Keen [sp] called UFOs something something and hers is a very conservative book in that it doesn’t extrapolate what seeing a UFO means. It just says there are these unidentified flying objects in the sky and all of these experts have looked into it and not many people on society know this, but 5% of these sightings cannot be explained away. And I thought, “how can we not know that 5% of UFOs don’t have any logical explanation?” But then in my head I’m really skeptical of the drawings and things that were popping up. But as this whole movement has been characterized by ridicule, and because UFO enthusiasts are so sensitive to that including Stephen, even though as I got to know this issue more in my own way, I was becoming more and more distanced from it. I still felt as a filmmaker I had an obligation to not create a piece that was taking it down. That felt wrong to me on a larger level because so much has been made ridiculing this community. In the edit it was this balance between trying to hold my own prejudices at beat because who I am to say, I have not been influenced by all the cultural factors that would lead me to not take this subject as seriously as these people do. I think it would be a more interesting viewing experience to have moments of doubt within themselves and have them wonder…are the Clintons really involved in this? Why would John Podesta, the Campaign Chairman for Hilary Clinton be talking about this issue. And question their own beliefs a little bit. Even though personally I am very skeptical.

This fascinates me when you’re honoring a point of view about which you have skepticism. And how you honor that without promoting it. You didn’t have a lot of time to manage that.

Lo: I had been making lots of cuts and showing them to friends before I turned one in to Field of Vision and in my footage I had material that showed Stephen’s character flaws. That seemed to convey that this all was about creating a legacy for himself and not about saving the world. I put together cuts that made it seem like more of a character study of someone who is flawed and fighting for somebody, but the sense was that it was undercutting him too much. So I ended up with a cut that took out all of those moments and that was the first cut I showed to FoV, where the point of view was pretty strasightfoeward and it didn’t play with any humor and it didn’t reveal any of the cracks in my experience with him. And FoV came back and said it made him seem too credible which must have been my overcompensation. The next cuts were about balancing that and how much to inject of these moments of folly.

It makes sense that this would be a productive way to go about it. Err one way, err in the other direction and then find a party in the middle.

Lo: At the same time, there are these very rare moment where I wonder if there is something bending this. What if you put out a piece that falls on the wrong side of history. These are rare moments, but that thought did occur to me. As a filmmaker you want to stay open, I think. And not shut down especially when you have the trust of whoever you’re working with. Extend him the same benefit I would extend another fringe community.

You’re dealing with point of view. The film doesn’t have to adopt that point of view, but you can still represent that. And it seems like that what this film is doing. There is a sense of…you can get deeper into a point of view than an entirely removed skeptical approach.

Lo: That’s a great way of distinguishing between adopting POV and representing it. A lot of my approach is quite averse to character-based filmmaking, maybe just because I’m not used to it or I was a little bit afraid of hanging whole films on a single person. So this was a challenge because the film was about him. Part of my reservation, especially with a short was: how do you cram in someone’s whole life story or POV in ten minutes. You’re going to muck it up somehow. Trying to make this piece at least represent some of what drives Steven and what his past and what he looks forward to, trying to squeeze that all into a short was a kind of uncomfortable process for me. But I do feel like the film as it is right now does convey just enough of how much personal life is important to the short and weaving in archivel or other issues like the presidency and politics and woven that in with his personal quirks and balance that. I don’t think his personal details would sustain a larger project.

Would you make another film about a character?

Lo: Sometimes I wonder if it’s…people have strengths and weaknesses…casting is a talent and I feel more comfortable or I feel lime my strengths are places and not necessarily telling people’s stories, but glimpsing into a physical reality more and not necessarily working with the past in explicit ways that this does. I tend to try and pick topics that are more actives. And I do have this self doubt that I can cast characters well. And I think that’s probably a shortcoming as a filmmaker and I probably should keep pursuing it even if it makes me uncomfortable. This was a really good dip into this category of filmmaking. I feel most natural when it’s…I think what also makes me feel uncomfortable when you do character-based filmmaking because your relationship becomes more intimate that navigation as a filmmaker with a person you’ve developed a bond wit, balancing your loyalty to that individual versus your loyalty to the story that you want to ell or the the reality of there world as you see it. I think that’s very hard. I think I pick topics that don’t necessarily engage that tension as much. I don’t know if that’s for better or for worse. But obviously, that’s what always challenging about this piece. I know Stephen. I have a relationship with him. Trying to balance that with the film’s objectivity out subjectivity. But if you’re not working with a single character, your loyalty’s just to the film itself. And that can be very freeing but I also see I should push myself in the other direction.

I want to talk about your approach stylistically. I’m curious about how you decided to shoot this. How this was going to look? What did you think about starting off? What there a strategy visually?

Lo: It kind of just happened organically because it was my first sort of character piece, I went to the conference and met Stephan and started following him around. I guess this another thing about working with main characters: I guess you should be able to collaborate with them more in terms of setting up shots, which is something I’m very averse to, but I had to learn this balance, when you’re following them around everywhere my camera had less control than previously where characters didn’t matter, it was just a space and my camera could just stay in place and I had control. In this situation, he had more control than the camera. In terms of his work as a lobbyist, too, a lot of his work is online, and he’s just at home, and that wasn’t necessarily stuff he wanted to reveal. Audit’s not a physical thing…all of this speculation…you can’t put a camera on to record. Even his activities as a lobbyist had happened in the past and maybe would happen in the future. There’s some states about this topic or at least his involvement . So I had to find things for him to do. And that was really challenging for me. A lot of it was sort of following him around. And because he has a very clear idea of how things should be portrayed, and also he’s extrmelet talkative that shaped the style of the film. I was just kind of reacting to him rather trying to impose style.

I imagine you’re doing a fair amount of shooting for the editing, too. Because you’re finding of way to represent things and thinking about shooting things you might need later on.

Lo: Initially I thought I might create animations to go over the live action footage because the stuff weren’t things you could film. As I was editing, animation felt like it wouldn’t necessarily match and that it might undercut it a little bit.

How are you feeling about this going out into the world in terms of your relationship with Steven?

EL: I feel like the film does strike a pretty good balance between portraying him fairly and portraying his viewpoints with how he sees the Clintons being involved and those views I am sure that he’ll have some issue with it but probably because it oversimplifies things or presents some details about his life he wouldn’t want out there. I don’t know how he’ll respond, but I hope he’ll respond positively. I don’t think the film falls into a ridiculing category in terms of its treatment of the UFO issue. Which I think he’ll feel is a positive step in terms of the media.

It sounds like you’ll have a conversation about it that’ll maybe be an extension of some other conversations you’ve had with him to date.

EL: Definitely. (...) One thing I wanted to say is how this film relates to the observational mode of filmmaking which relies less on verbal exposition. Relying so much on the audio, instead of letting the images speak for themselves was a challenge.

I think you do some nice work when you’re shooting him in the car and you’re wandering and finding other things to show that are pretty important. Like the hangers in the back of the car. What he’s saying will be important, but you’re still capturing things that are meaningful.

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Field of Vision announces today a new fellowship and its first-ever artist-in-residence. 

The Field of Vision fellowship is a year-long, collaborative program designed to support filmmakers in achieving their long-term artistic goals. The four 2018 Field of Vision fellows are: director Garrett Bradley (AloneBelow Dreams); director, actor, and activist Michelle Latimer (RiseChoke); filmmaker Charlie Lyne (Fish StoryBeyond Clueless); and Lyric Cabral, director of the Emmy-winning documentary (T)error.

“We are establishing this fellowship program to support filmmakers beyond project-based commissions, and to invite artists to collaborate in our editorial process," said Field of Vision executive producer Laura Poitras.  

The first year of fellows were selected from filmmakers who had worked with Field of Vision over the last three years. In addition to creating a framework for idea development, creative support, and a grant, Field of Vision will conduct workshops throughout the year in the areas of digital security, research, and legal issues. Fellows will also be invited to participate in Field of Vision’s editorial process, from identifying urgent stories to offering filmmaker feedback and guidance.

“We have wanted to support filmmakers in as many ways as possible since the beginning of Field of Vision,” said executive producer Charlotte Cook. “We are so thrilled to create these fellowships to be able to collaborate further with these incredible artists, all of whom are visionaries whose work is at the forefront of exploring the ways of combining art and storytelling and expanding the form.”

In addition to the four fellows, Field of Vision and First Look Media are jointly supporting data artist Josh Begley as an artist-in-residence in 2018. On staff at The Intercept since 2014, Begley has regularly collaborated with the publication’s co-founder Jeremy Scahill on multiple projects, including The Drone Papers. Begley’s first project as artist-in-residence is Concussion Protocol, a short film made with footage of all reported concussions sustained in the NFL this season. It has been viewed over 1.6 million times. 

January was a landmark month for Field of Vision. Yance Ford’s Strong Island, made with support from Field of Vision, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, marking the first nomination for an openly transgender director. 

Five Field of Vision-supported documentaries also screened at Sundance Film Festival, and three received special jury awards: Steve Maing’s Crime + Punishment; RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening; and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Our New President

Founded in 2015, Field of Vision has funded over 70 shorts and provided support for 10 feature documentaries. Field of Vision is the recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Best Short Form Series award and a News and Documentary Emmy nomination. 

About the Fellows:

Garrett Bradley

Garrett Bradley is a New Orleans-based filmmaker. Her debut feature documentary,Below Dreams, premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Her work has been exhibited in several prominent venues, including the Getty Museum, Hammer Museum, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rooftop Films, New Orleans Film Festival, Hot Docs, and SXSW. Her short film Alone (Sundance 2017), which was released as part of the New York Times’s Op-Docs series, won a Sundance Jury Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. She has received fellowships from the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Garrett is also the co-founder of Creative Council, an artist-led afterschool program that helps high school students develop strong portfolios and applications for college. She currently teaches filmmaking at Loyola University.

Recent Field of Vision films: Like (SXSW 2016), The Earth is Humming (to be released)

Lyric Cabral

Director Lyric R. Cabral creates investigative work that exposes new information for the public record. Cabral’s directorial debut (T)error won an Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Documentary and was hailed by Variety as "a vital exposé.” (T)error has screened at more than 50 film festivals worldwide and is now available on Netflix. Lyric is a recipient of the International Documentary Association’s Emerging Filmmaker Award and has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. A current Rockwood/ Just Films Fellow, Lyric is a former Sundance Women in Film Fellow and a veteran of Sundance Institute’s Edit Lab and Creative Producing Lab. Prior to making films, Lyric worked as an editorial photojournalist; her photography was recently on exhibit in Gordon Parks: The Making of An Argument at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Recent Field of Vision film: The Rashomon Effect (in production)

Michelle Latimer

Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) is a Toronto-based writer, director, activist, and actor. Her body of work includes Choke (Sundance 2011), which received a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Honorable Mention in International Short Filmmaking and was chosen as one of TIFF Canada’s Top Ten in 2012; The Underground (TIFF 2014); Nimmikaage (Oberhausen 2016); the feature-length documentary ALIAS, which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award; and the Viceland docuseries Rise (Sundance 2017). Michelle is currently working on her first dramatic feature The Freedom Project, adapting the bestselling novel The Inconvenient Indian (HBO/NFB) for screen, and being the showrunner for the seriesRed Nation Rising, which is in development for Sienna. She has programmed for ImagineNATIVE, Hot Docs Film Festival, and the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Recent Field of Vision film: Nuuca (TIFF 2017, Sundance 2018)

Charlie Lyne

Charlie Lyne is a filmmaker and film critic, best known for the essay films Beyond Clueless and Fear Itself. He has also directed a number of shorts, including the award-winning documentary Fish Story, and the 10-hour protest film Paint Drying. His work has screened at festivals including Sundance, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and SXSW.

Recent Field of Vision film: Personal Truth (IDFA 2017)

About the Artist-in-Residence:

Josh Begley

Josh Begley is a data artist and app developer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the creator of Metadata+, an iPhone app that tracks U.S. drone strikes. Begley’s work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, The Intercept, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Recent Field of Vision films: Best of Luck with the Wall (Doc Stories 2016, True/False 2017), Concussion Protocol

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American football is a beautiful sport. There’s a tremendous amount of grace that goes into it. For a moment, men can fly; the highlight reels are spectacular.

It can also be horrific — like watching someone get hit by a car.

Since the season started, there have been more than 280 concussions in the NFL. That is an average of 12 concussions per week. Though it claims to take head injuries very seriously, the National Football League holds this data relatively close. It releases yearly statistics, but those numbers are published in aggregate, making it difficult to glean specific insights.

I have been tracking these injuries all season. Using a variety of methods, including reviewing daily injury reports from NFL.com, I have created what I believe is the most complete dataset of individual concussions sustained during the 2017-2018 season.

The resulting film, “Concussion Protocol,” is a visual record of every concussion in the NFL this year.

This film does not make an argument for ending football. Rather, it invites a set of questions. In the spirit of Saidiya Hartman, I am interested in “defamiliarizing the familiar.”

When we watch American football, what are we seeing?

By cutting together only these scenes of injury — moments of impact, of intimacy, of trauma — and reversing them, I hope to open up a space to see some of this violence anew.

In his recent book “Black and Blur,” Fred Moten asks, “What is it to rewind the given? What is it to wound it? What is it to be given to this wounding and rewinding?”

Representing this series of collisions in reverse — and in slow motion or “dragged time” — I hope to make strange what has for many of us become normative: the spectacular, devouring moment of a football hit that knocks a player out cold.

Rather than making a film about concussions with a flurry of hard hits, however, I am interested — inspired by Hartman — in looking elsewhere. How might we see the totality of this violence without just replaying the violence itself? “By defamiliarizing the familiar,” Hartman writes in “Scenes of Subjection,” “I hope to illuminate the terror of the mundane and quotidian rather than exploit the shocking spectacle.”

In a moment when black athletes are being chastised for kneeling in protest of police violence, it should not be lost on us that calls to “get back on the field” or “stick to football” are also calls for players to subject themselves to the slower forms of violence the football field contains.

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Field of Vision is debuting their new film, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN by Marshall Curry.

A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN (Dir. Marshall Curry)

In 1939, twenty-thousand Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN uses striking archival fragments recorded that night to transport modern audiences into this disturbing gathering. With chilling resonance in light of events in Charlottesville and around the country, the film is a reminder about the power that far-right ideology once had in America and a wakeup call about the importance of to addressing it today.

From Field of Vision Co-Founders:

Laura Poitras: "When Marshall approached us with the film two days after Charlottesville, my first thought was, 'we need to put this film in cinemas,' and release it like a newsreel."

Charlotte Cook: “When Marshall first showed us this footage we were stunned. We felt that due to this political climate it was essential to get this film out fast, but also that to do so we needed to try a different style of distribution. By playing in theatres across the country first we hope this the film will be able to reach beyond our usual audience, and into a range of communities and cities around the US. Creating a conversation around the film from the ground up. It’s extremely exciting to be able to do this with Marshall, a filmmaker we’ve been wanting to work with for a long time. And this film is so incredibly well, and thoughtfully, made. We can’t wait for people to see it.”

On Sunday September 24, the film will be shown across the country at 22 screens in Alamo theaters in:

Kansas City

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/american-assassin

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/it-2017

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/kingsman-the-golden-circle

https://drafthouse.com/kansas-city/show/mother

Yonkers

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/3-d-rarities

https://drafthouse.com/yonkers/show/solaris-4k-restoration

San Francisco

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/ingrid-goes-west

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/beach-rats

https://drafthouse.com/sf/show/infinity-baby

Brooklyn

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/zardoz

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/dunkirk

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/good-time

https://drafthouse.com/nyc/show/mother

Austin Lakeline

Austin Mueller

Austin Ritz

Austin Slaughter

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/mother

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/grindhouse

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/stronger

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/the-big-sick

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/brads-status

https://drafthouse.com/austin/show/tough-guy-cinema-repo-man

The film is also playing at the IFC Center in New York until Friday playing before the 12:30pm showing of “The Unknown Girl."

The film will be part of a special event at the NYFF, and more festivals to come, along with an online release.

About Marshall Curry: MARSHALL CURRY is a two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. His film, “Street Fight,” follows Cory Booker’s first run for mayor of Newark, NJ and was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. His follow up documentary, “Racing Dreams” tells the story of two boys and a girl who live in rural America and dream of one day racing in NASCAR. It won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and aired on PBS and the BBC. His third film, “If a Tree Falls, a Story of the Earth Liberation Front” peels back the layers of a radical environmental group that the FBI called the number one domestic terrorist group in the United States. That film won the award for Best Documentary Editing at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to be nominated for an Oscar. Marshall was Executive Producer and an additional editor of “Mistaken For Strangers,” a comedy rock-doc about indie band, The National. Most recently Marshall directed and edited “Point and Shoot,” a documentary about a young Baltimore native who set out on a 30,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East and wound up joining the rebels in Libya fighting Gaddafi. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released in theaters and aired on PBS and the BBC. Marshall is a graduate of Swarthmore College where he studied Comparative Religion and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, Columbia, NYU, and other colleges. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.

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Before directing Field of Vision’s latest film, “Duterte’s Hell,” with Aaron Goodman, Luis Liwanag worked as a photojournalist for local and foreign press in the Philippines. In the following essay, he reflects on his transition from taking still photographs to filmmaking, and what it was like to capture the horrors of President Duterte’s “war on drugs.

I discovered photography when I was 11. My family did not own a single camera, but our neighborhood sorbetero [ice cream vendor] had a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera and would take our family photos for us. I remember we had so many that when I opened my mother’s closet, dozens of photo albums would cascade down from the shelves. My dad, an artist and illustrator, kept stacks of old National Geographic, Time, and Life magazines tucked away in his filing cabinet. I bought my first camera at age 12: a Kodak Instamatic. I guess you could say I was destined to be in this line of work.

As a kid, I would just snap pictures of my friends in school. As an adult, being a photographer has given me the power to make observations about daily life in my country and voice my opinion on certain issues.

When President Rodrigo Duterte came into power, the rampage of extrajudicial killings started. My fellow journalists were covering the night shifts at the police headquarters. Reports would come in—either from radio dispatch or via Twitter—and they would travel to crime scenes in convoys. It was only a matter of time before I decided to started going with them, to see the effects of Duterte’s war on drugs for myself.

Shooting this and other documentaries has been transformative experience for me. When working as a hired photojournalist, I didn’t really set up my shots—I just filmed whatever is happening right in front of me.

And as I witnessed the aftermath of the slayings, I felt like I was reconnecting to my old self. I was a police beat photographer at the onset of my career, but later shifted to more varied issues and mainstream news coverage. I became focused on issues dictated by the editorial policies of media entities that employed me.

Now, as a freelancer—and particularly with this film—I’ve had the leeway to choose stories that I feel I can interpret better visually. And although the nightly spate of killings numbed me in some ways, I felt for the people directly or indirectly affected by them.

A couple of months into photographing the killings in Manila and its surrounding metro area, Aaron Goodman, an educator and video journalist whom I had worked with previously, saw my images on social media and asked me if I was interested in collaborating with him on a video documentary about Duterte’s drug war.

While filming, we had to maintain a low-key lighting style, and only expose for the midtones. I wanted to be unobtrusive and invisible while shooting the events so that we left as few traces of ourselves as possible.

We had a limited amount of time to set up each shot. When you’re filming events as they unfold, you don’t really have control over what is going to happen. You have to visualize the image in your mind’s eye beforehand, and shoot whatever occurs in the moment.

While filming, we were very attuned to the sounds, textures, emotions and details of each scene. My approach was to linger in a single framed shot as if it was a single image and slowly transition into another well-composed frame and capture the entire story happening between those frames.

Although I am an advocate of still photographs and what photography great Henri Cartier- Bresson calls “the decisive moment,” I have discovered that video, though more fleeting, can be equally powerful in stringing together single images to make a powerful statement.

See Goodman and Liwanag’s film here:

To see more work by Luis Liwanag, visit his website here. To see the work of Aaron Goodman, visit his website here.

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STANLEY NELSON AND LAURA POITRAS PRODUCED DOC SHORT SERIES TO PREMIERE ONLINE AT FUSION

New York, NY (May 17, 2017) - Starting May 18, 2017, Fusion will unveil the first in a series of short films from the Our 100 Days initiative from Firelight Media and Field of Vision. The films explore threats to U.S. democracy and the stories of targeted communities in the current highly polarized political climate. Episodes will be released weekly, beginning with directors Sofian Khan and Nausheen Dadabhoy’s Act of Worship, a rare behind-the-scenes look at CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a champion of civil rights for Muslims in the US that finds itself in the crosshairs of a new administration’s policies.

“The current moment in the U.S. is a result of our collective refusal to tell the whole story of America. Not only do we need new stories, we need new storytellers. At Firelight, we have been committed to supporting storytellers of color for many years,” shares documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. “The partnership with Field of Vision has allowed us to deepen that support by providing filmmakers of color with the resources and platform necessary to create powerful cinematic narratives that deepen our understanding of these frightening times.”

The series will also feature work from filmmakers: Cecilia Aldarondo, Chelsea Hernandez & Iliana Sosa, Adele Pham, Lorena Manriquez & Marlene McCurtis, Nadia Hallgren, and Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman. The films examine, among other topics, the immigration issue through the intimate lens of motherhood; a history of racially-motivated violence in one of America’s most iconic liberal cities; the fight for protections for trans students through the lens of one Virginia teenager; and the rapid response by Muslim attorneys navigating the chaotic rollout of the travel ban.

“This collaboration with Firelight is a way to channel our collective horror about Trump's election. By documenting these first 100 days from the perspective of communities most at risk - immigrants, Muslim Americans, transgender men and women - we want to reveal the threats our country is facing, and not normalize this political moment,” says Field of Vision co-creator Laura Poitras.

Fusion Editor-in-Chief Dodai Stewart adds, "This series of beautiful short films — highlighting social and economic injustices — aligns with Fusion’s mission to cover underrepresented people and amplify the voices of the vulnerable."

In an effort to maximize the reach and impact of the films, local and national organizations will participate in weekly Twitter chats to engage the broad public in online conversations about the issues in the films. The Twitter chats will occur at 1pm ET / 10am PT every Thursday throughout the series run using the #Our100Days hashtag and will be moderated by Firelight Media. The weekly Twitter chats will give online viewers an opportunity to delve deeper into the issues and engage with the film directors, protagonists, and partner organizations.

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ABOUT FIELD OF VISION

Field of Vision is a filmmaker-driven documentary unit that commissions and creates original short-form nonfiction films about developing and ongoing stories around the globe. Field of Vision is committed to making cinematic work that tells the stories of our world from different perspectives. Our films are distributed through a variety of partners including news organizations, film festivals, online platforms, broadcast, streaming and cable.

ABOUT FIRELIGHT MEDIA & FIRELIGHT FILMS

Firelight produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told, and connects films with concrete and innovative ways for diverse audiences to be inspired, educated, and mobilized into action. Through our Documentary Lab, Firelight is dedicated to developing and supporting talented, diverse documentary filmmakers who advance underrepresented stories, moving them from the margins to the forefront of mainstream media through high quality, powerful productions.

ABOUT FUSION

Fusion is news for the new America: a young, diverse, social justice-minded audience.

MEDIA CONTACT After Bruce PR Tracy Nguyen-Chung tracy@afterbruce.com 503-701-2115

Field_Notes

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