John Grierson described documentary film as “the creative treatment of actuality.” A recent New York Times review aptly described the craft’s reward as “the pleasure of discovering other people…” Alfred Hitchcock quipped that, “In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.”
Perhaps, like Grierson, I wanted to merge right brain with left and creatively tell stories about actual people, places, and events. Maybe I felt that producing documentary films, as the New York Times suggests, would allow me to connect more intimately with humanity and the larger world. Or it’s possible I simply misunderstood Hitchcock’s point altogether and felt like playing God. Whatever the case, documentary film production has become my passion and profession.
All of my pursuits in life have been driven by an innate curiosity and the desire to experience something new. This is invariably followed by a compulsion to somehow express what I’ve discovered through some sort of story – an article, a children’s book, a joke. After several years working in journalism and education, and a lifetime of appreciating other peoples’ art, I decided to blend the three as a documentary filmmaker.
This medium provides a platform to reach and teach countless people through the ancient power of artful storytelling, but with modern tools and techniques. Documentary film is at once influential and disregarded, timeless and topical, beloved and underappreciated, increasingly popular and perpetually underfunded. But they should always be a labor of love and designed to reflect a larger truth. At their core, doc films ask us to think deeper about "reality." Maybe not our own realities, but always someone's or something's. Often ones we've never stopped to consider before. The best documentaries can lead us to change how we live, believe, and behave - how we experience and interpret our own realities. So they are not made simply to be watched and enjoyed, but also to be deliberated upon. They serve as social catalysts, inspiring us to ask questions, speak up, take action, challenge each other, and explore uncharted ideas.
I hope that you enjoy the short films below. But even more, I hope they help you feel a bit more engaged with the world afterward, and encouraged to interact with it in a new way.