Loop Of Us Documentary


One primary obstacle when producing a documentary film is there aren’t any professional actors for the roles. This is to maintain the nature of documentary films, and that the main purpose is to document the facts, to preserve factual elements of the historical actualities, a reality that is “more profound and certainly something with a more important social mission” (Renov 1993, p.65).

Most non-professionals don’t act, and these are the challenges that documentary filmmakers might have to face when approaching them to speak about the narrative description of a script. I think it is about a general understanding of documentary concepts and the ability to learn or to explain personal perspectives in reference to their subject-matters. By this, I mean to explain to actors why do you want to make another documentary film? Why it is so important for our society to start talking about it?

The documentary is different to so-called story films because one is dealing with a different set of values and methods of productions. All the recordings produced by the camera work, the composition, many smooth movements and angles, the speed that follows actions and appearance of persons and things are in a particular way governed by the manner of delivery of a visual message in the editing process. Very literally, this type of production is mostly based on “a method in which editing is the film” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p. 123).

Typically however, the fundamental difference between making a documentary versus a story-film is that, while in story-films the main concern is the development of a plot, “the documentary film is concerned with expression of a theme” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p.124). The documentary doesn’t have the advantage of keeping the audience excited by telling an intriguing story in order to generate interest and suspense in the audience. The interpretation of a theme is a matter of the creative process and it requires a personal judgement, an opinion or careful thought from the director and the film editor.

And this film should be focused on creating a theme that is presented in a stimulating way to hold the spectator’s interested at any given moment on the subject of homelessness and the chance to get over it. Because in a documentary the theme is only merely the starting point which demands a specific interpretation, “it is in the manner of the presentation, in the aptness and originality of the visual associations, and in the purposeful editing, that the film will gain its interest” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p. 124).

As it turns out, in making a documentary film the director has no actors to express himself, the creation, and development of content requires the skills of an editor. For this reason he or she must explore somehow to convey all the fine shades of meaning through the creative use of audio-visual materials to help achieve the most impact. Typically, the approach involves a greater freedom of interpretation and in contrast to fiction film, “the editing process must begin long before the film reaches the cutting rooms” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p. 125). It needs to have the structure of a final form of a screenplay format.

This “editing” is often a strategic imperative, where “most ideas for films will occur at first in general form, but it is only by then asking yourself why? – why a film on that subject? – that you will begin to evaluate the potential” (Crittenden 1981, p. 37).

The Making of Loop Of Us

The filmmaker Lukas Nikola worked to build the construction of a complete narrative of the Loop Of Us (10 mins short film) from the beginning in the pre-production to post-production, where the visual and audio material is creatively organised on the timeline to convey meaning, ideas and emotions. Although it’s true that a subject like “homelessness” encourages creativity, and a unique experience, the complexity of the theme remains a huge challenge for the filmmaker of the first documentary film.

A few of the biggest challenges when working on the Loop Of Us will be finding an appropriate balance between script structure, interpretation, and obviously to show enough interest in the original presentation. We find it necessary to make these actions in order to present all these facets of the theme, such as tactical alterations in mood and to find some sort of tempo and rhythm.

There is a great deal of extensive production work in order to make the film really interesting with tasks requiring an eloquent flow of shot juxtapositions, and a convincing impression of a continuous play.

  1. Script structure
  2. Originality of the visual association
  3. Purposeful editing

It’s interesting to know that some directors find it natural to work alongside cinematographers, film editors or sound designers on a film that can help adapt the script in the post-production stage in order to develop and achieve their film vision. This process involves changing the script, so in the editing room they can influence what shots have to go and what shots can stay to be used in the film structure.

Making an edit and working on a film with a script that is constantly changing can be a real challenge. The film-maker must know when to stop with its development and just go with the selected structure in order to build the theme. Because it’s a collaborative approach, the aim is to make it “good enough” to effortlessly glide past through the stages of post-production. In fact, the visiting speaker at BU, Ian Sutherland, is of the opinion that the job of the editor is “to make it good enough, be it in an idealistic notion. What is good now is not good maybe in 5 years from now”. Mr. Sutherland pointed out that film is about an emotional response. It’s a never finished process.

It’s important for the editor to be able to tell a story in an original and expressive way that makes it “enough and as good” for others, because “the film’s merit will rest on the quality of the treatment, not in the spontaneous entertaining power of the theme itself” (Reisz, Millar p.124).

Technical Considerations

a. The script guides the audience around two characters and possible interaction between them.

The main idea of the film is to follow two characters that have or had in the past the same issue of being homeless. One got over the struggle and describes how it was to be homeless in the past and what steps he took to overcome this situation. Another contributor is still homeless and after 1.5 years, however, only has hope that one day the journey on this particular path will change for him. There are many hopes involved in the fact that these type of painful situations will not last forever. This subject has complex evolved phases on the problem of homelessness. It touches the differences in our society that will allow the audience to face the truth about the problems in the homeless population from our modern culture.

Meanwhile, the director Lukas Nikola wants to find out about individual cases and aspects that can contribute towards homelessness. The film aims to convey complex emotions such as a sense of the physical discomfort and pain, the expressions of daily verbal and non-verbal interactions in regards to issues that are also problems of the wider society. Finally, what is their struggle really about and how to get over it?

b. The use of mix voice overs and sound effects to enhance the overall atmosphere within the scenes.

Late in the film when the first contributor brings us to the place where he lived in the past and speaks about it in front of the camera, although it has used voice over there are left some sound elements related to the image of the speaker. This approach is frequently used in documentary, Mr. Nikola says, and he wants to purposely allow the speaker to express ideas while suddenly interrupting it with voice over.

When the first contributor starts to talk, of poetry of the play is recalled, and it is no longer necessary to listen to the story, since the voice over is more interesting. Consequently, once the characters in a role start talking and saying their first words, the voice can now be faded down.

This method serves to establish a different creative treatment of sound and visuals faced with changes in the level and quality of sound that “have to be accomplished by a sort of audible dissolve or fade rather than by a simple cut” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p. 258). Since changes in sound must in a film be recorded as actual changes and must be adjusted corresponding to relatively a subconscious mental process, “they must be accomplished gradually in order not to disturb the audience” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p. 258)

c. Voice-over poems used in three parts to demonstrate the construction of poetic forms and rhythm.

In the beginning, middle and the end of the film, we use voiceover to help produce an enjoyable narration. The second section of the poetry brings together in the foreground thoughts, hopes, and feelings, it shows how the second contributor walks between new modern buildings to convey the impression that our very limited way of living is short. Our mediocre lives are very small when related to the original macroscopic system, and the soundtrack used here should matter. It helps to create a certain atmosphere fuelled by a choice of images in a distinct way, while building up these magical moments that make us to feel the entire atmosphere of a narrative produces a state of cosmic history.

Color Difference for Poetry

The intention for selecting different colors for the poem in the edit, where the poetry voice over plays, and the rest of the film is of course one way to emphasise more these moments in the film. However, a change in tonal quality at the beginning and the end of the film, for example, to use a yellow tone where the poetry plays, can compromise the original visual features that work well as they are at the moment. TThese dark coloured shades are part of the attraction that are influenced by the surrounding tonal values that overall maintain the atmosphere and, remain in balance.

The difference in color can be used symbolically to provide leitmotifs that can play a very important role throughout the entire work. Although, color values are very much subject to fashion, to make the picture look fancy, especially with the poetics of color in the film to produce an aesthetic treatment of cinematic color tones, and “some films employed color to set off their characters against each other or from the background, while others attempted to fuse them with the ambiance. Colored lighting and filters that produce a particular color were also used to affect the mood of a scene or to establish a stylish look” (Brinckmann 2014, p.15).

More important than color difference is the composition of the picture, and how the director of the film is able to build an amount of artistic level of credulity to create a story that highlights the flows of information. Samuelson is of the opinion that “bad operating destroys the illusion by subconsciously informing the viewer the he is watching a contrived situation. Uneven pans and tilts, follow-shots where the moving object does not remain at a constant distance from the edge of the screen, bad composition, tops of heads cut off, awkward cuts across people’s legs, these and many others” (Samuelson 1984, p. 180) are several visible signs of bad camerawork and editing.

Often, in order to create something highly expressive this process is slightly complicated all the way from filming to editing. After all, “putting together a film is a complex process, and anyone successfully engaged in it will tell you that the greatest enemy, assuming good material, is anything that inhibits a positive work rhythm or stifles the development of momentum” (Crittenden 1981, p.61).

Adapt Feature Film

Editing a film it’s like adjusting your position to help tell a better, ‘sensemaking’ story based on observation of audio-visual footage of relevant data. Pudovkin learned that “the process of editing is more than a method for telling a continuous story” (Glebas 2009, p.253) that makes the viewer to watch it chronologically. Editing involves a process of creative thinking that moves the story forward, and makes it continuous, meaningful and interesting to watch and to reflect on the film’s message.

While also being able to identify the footage that is emotionally irrelevant and sometimes to go with instincts, “especially when you are evaluating several takes of the same scene where the differences are subtle and nuanced” (Keast 2015, p.37). That is to assess a film research question and to find out what really needs to stay in order to be folded together to represent a story and what needs to go to just get rid of deadwood. This is an important step in this stage of post-production that can’t be ignored before making a rough cut, expressed in images and sounds that are emotionally relevant.

It turns out that this feature of the post-production process seems almost the same as “the film-maker’s right to select and emphasise to show a piece of action in a way which is obviously more suitable to dramatic presentation than is our normal perception” (Reisz, Millar 1968 p.215).

Camera Shots, Angles, and Movements

The short film was recorded on Canon EOS C300. The colors produced by this camera are very nuanced and bright enough and don’t seem to need much attention in regards to grading, maybe some adjustments in the white and black levels. The camera used to shot Teresa approaching the window of her house is from a slightly different angle, which seems to be well planned ahead ahead action. A camera shot filmed from this angle can help adjust the amount to which the person’s movement transforms into a continuous action without changing the set up.

When the shooting starts the crew, in particular the director and cinematographer, are faced with “numerous decisions involving technical, aesthetic, communication, and talent issues”, for this reason careful planning of shots “will help the shot to smoothly. With a script or a shot list in hand, you can go about the business of capturing the shots you need. It is always important to think about how the shots will work once the editing session begins” (Osgood, Hinshaw p. 57).

Synchronizing Dialog

When shooting with Canon EOS C300 camera to make Adapt, the sound and image were separately recorded. In the post-production process the editor’s job is to synchronise “each take of sound to the image by aligning the “clap” sound to the frame where the slapsticks come together.” (Case 1988, p.184).

Cutting Dialog

In the fourth scene when Teresa speaks, it cuts to a middle-shot and we see both characters in a white shot. Cutting the picture when character speaks can be very effective sometimes. An effective use of it we can find in Michael Mann’s The Insider. The family are having breakfast, and the girl asks and her mother while she is speaking the shot changes from close up to medium angle of the female character.

2 Seconds Gap of Scene Continuity and Depth

Problem: Why not to show a shot outside the window when Teresa slides the curtain? I believe it would be an editorial mistake not to show the blue sky which is part of the environment where the main character lives, so it should be thoroughly used to express “physical continuity as much as emotional continuity” (Jolliffe, Jones. p.361).

Solution (approved):
In the first scene, it’s interesting to show two times the landscape that Teresa sees through the window of her house. There is a take that shows for a few seconds of the blue landscape that the cinematographer shot at the location. When Teresa slides the curtain to look outside through the window, to show one second of the blue landscape that will add some color and motion to this scene.

This clip serves to ensure continuity and depth of the narrative itself at a given point. And it can be articulated in the editing process that provides a set of adjustments of parts of the actor’s performance that “are often necessary if it is felt that its pace is for some reason not exactly right“ (Reisz, Millar p.100).

This can also be approached another way, for example, to let Teresa come to the window, and not to show this blue image of a landscape, but in stead to show a slow left to right camera movement until reaches her. When she starts speaking “Good morning” to make a fine cut and show her from inside the house shot “Welcome to Southern bank”.

Solution (not approved):
This was a long shot from left to right that was applied a Timewarp Effect in Avid to show a dynamic change in her mood. It also adds an effective transition to the next scene that is about workplace associated with stress and adjustment problems.

1 Second Gap of Scene Continuity

The moment when Teresa is looking through the window, the view she sees can be used for one or two seconds even if it doesn’t have a meaning in terms of, why is she looking out of her window? If the camera shows how the main character moves for some reason from right to left to look through a window, it implies that it should be referred to a shot from a source outside the space of the narrative, but closely related to it. It makes the scene very poor without showing how the main character interacts with everyone and everything around her, including this not initially noticeable change.

In this case, this is what she really is, a girl that’s always smiling, being passionate about things, her job, living, feeling human being and interacting with people all the time. Even with these two seconds of landscape the scene seems somehow closed into itself, however, with cleverly used shots that follow later the film-maker is able to feature a level of intimacy and emotional closeness with the main character. Finally, used 1 second of the landscape that works really well with the desired effect.

1 + 2 Seconds Gap Conclussion

A few seconds of the landscape that Terresa looks at, it shows kind of interaction that she makes and the scene becomes more interesting when we get an idea about the matter stretched in time and space. It gives more space to the scene, and maybe, to the film. Is most useful to give more space to Teressa’s environment and a little breadth to the scene fleeing its galaxy with lifestyle factors to create eventually an wonderful, spacial flavor.

This lack of environmental details that can bring a scene alive is because there aren’t any shots available to choose from. And I suppose the script can be improved in areas when Teresa is occasionally outside either walking alone, meets her sister or inside a caffe towards the end of the films with shots that have meanings and details that can help the creative aspect of the scenes.

The Look In The Mirror Action Overlap

The sequence where the main character is staring to herself in the mirror is used a technique called overlapping cuts to express and emphasise visible emotions related to an experience of disappointment. According to Dmytryk an “exact matching of position, however, might not result in the smoothest cut, for the reasons to be explained shortly. Often an action overlap of 3 to 5 frames is desirable” (Dmytryk, 2013, pp.28,29). The effect, at the end of this scene, are frames essential to smooth action. “An overlap made to accommodate the viewer’s “blind spot” is useful in most action cuts” (Dmytryk, 2013, p.32). Dmytryk is of the opinion that this principle works best when used in “static” cuts, where “the “blind spot” overlap is absolutely essential for good cutting” (Dmytryk, 2013, p.33).

Panning in Slaw Motion

There is a great long shot in the fourth scene used to make the transition from the streets to a local caffe, where the sisters are going to for a quick chat. The use of this shot is ment to connect the street where the sisters meet with the caffe that they are about to go shortly. So there is no need to show the walking towards the caffe, because the walking is obviously implied by this transition shot. This slaw panning works very well with the overall performance at this moment and it helps to keep a calm mood in the play.

This, the relative movement between points using a pan “perhaps mecause it is desired to maintain a link between the two parts on the scene, then it must be done either very slowly or very quickly (a whip pan) rather than at an intermediate pace” (Samuelson 1984 p.54).

The panning at the beginning of the film when Teresa is seen from outside the window of her house and the panning in the caffe when Teresa meets with her sister are quite similar in rhythm. The choices used to generate these shots is in “coincidence” with the actor’s rhythms, that is to identify the relevant information “to give the story, emotions, and visuals rhythm” (Pearlman 2009) in the task performance.

On Film and Television Contribution to Training, Employment and Creativity


This essay will focus on some aspects of media broadcasting, from production to delivery, their creative aspirations, and how to get technical knowledge to work in a television studio or on location that will help to contribute using their talents in the ever changing industry, either as a freelancer or a permanent staff member of the team.

It’s worth mentioning that, there are other cultures out there that we have to recognize, and the international broadcast companies have policies that do not necessarily support the idea to “invade” other nations, but rather to influence them in such a way that allow people to have diversity, to erase the differences that exists among cultures and ideally to create an open flow of information to the public.

Broadcast services are continuously evolving, and it’s no longer possible to provide a very
uniform pattern, but rather an attempt to escape the traditional boundaries of broadcasting. There are, however, major implications of technological convergence in different mass media that addresses the potential roles “around what does, and does not, constitute television broadcasting increasingly complicated and challenging” (OECD. 2013, p. 12).

Film and television can be an exciting and a very good industry to be part of, and some companies can still make some sort of contribution towards both training and employment. They have the opportunity to help more workers enter the constantly changing broadcasting market. This is particularly true in the case of companies like the BBC and ITV, where they had (and still have) trainees across various departments. In TV production, broadcasters have to ensure that their staff can specialise in practical training and enjoy hands-on experience in using the broadcast technology equipment and be the key source of professional support in the media industry.

For example, with a policy of helping employees with on the job training in a technologically complex world, BBC and ITV often provide structured apprenticeship programs to get them qualified in order to start in this career. “Training with the BBC was very engineering orientated, and ITV was’t. It was a hands on, relevant, maybe contribute to the style of work you’re going to do”, says Mr. Owen, the visiting speaker at BU. He has been working in the television industry using a camera for about 40+ years. “It was a very wealthy industry at the time”, affirms Mr. Owen, Head of Cameras at ITV London.

A few years ago, at a seminar that gathered experts and commentators at City University London to discuss how the broadcasters of some countries perform, BBC was named one of the ten most influential state-funded broadcasters, with BBC World Service that produces content for foreign audiences which promotes national values around the world (Public Media Alliance 2013).

Though the broadcasting sector became increasingly competitive over the last few years’ governments around the globe have implemented adequate policies to actively intervene. There are also other aspects that the competition concerns and in many cases the public interest criteria has been taken into consideration in regards to economic and non-economic objectives (OECD 2013, p.10).

Permanent or Fixed Term Contract Jobs & Freelance Work

What happens at the end of your long quest- to get into the doors of production companies? Mr. Ian Sutherland, film editor, is of the opinion that, the hardest part is to gain people’s trust, and to get the employers to see your vision. You probably even need to start with a resume, possibly a cover letter, and obviously, to ensure you get to the interview stage. But, how do people break into the TV industry?

Our visiting speaker, James Harrison, Sound Designer, Sound Effects Editor, after one-year master’s course at BU moved to London and was trying to find a job. He was lucky enough to start as a runner position, making tea, toasties and coffee for people and, and it was good fun, he says. It’s just a little toe in the door really. From that base, he was sending out CV’s, and was using the knowledge to find all the mails and emails of production companies. He was sending out letters every week, permanently basically, and following up with a phone call. Is very important to do. Went through a lot of interviews, some of which were rubbish, some were quite good, got lots of knock backs, but you do get the job eventually. He was a runner for about 4 months, then he worked for the company Color Film Services.

Mr. Owen accepts that there’s a lot of work for those already professional in the industry. The difficulty is breaking into it and, that’s why staff situations like theirs will provide training up to the point where program makers know you and you know the programs. It becomes a whole lot easier 2, 3, 4 years later down the road to enter the freelance market because by that time many people will know you. “Because of the large volume of work coming in it’s very good training. A Staff situation is easy to get in and it gives a very good base”, says Mr. Owen.

Danny Stack, an Irish scriptwriter, who started in this business as a runner at an early age, thinks that “just by being nice, or normal, with people in this profession many doors will open to you. There are media agencies throughout London that can offer you temporary jobs”. Mr. Stack got a job at Channel 4 and, he points out, that Channel 4 service will commission their films, but they don’t produce films.

Mr. Stack contacted production companies just using common sense in people and a little bit of a hassle. It’s all about being polite and to have passion for the job. He chose not to go to university, but used his own common sense and desire to be better than anybody else. He had many opportunities to work in the film industry by just having a hobby email with sander bird. He wrote them, any chance at all, just give me a shout. Being online is very useful, and he strongly believes that nothing is impossible.

About taking the freelancing path, Mr. Owen is of the opinion that, “in Freelance you will have much more variety and more money as well at the end of the day, but, it’s a tricky one”. However, the question is, how do you find your way of getting into a competitive industry sector, that is tougher than ever, and what can new graduates do to enhance their chances of getting hired in broadcasting?

Because it is a competitive industry, people starting out will always feel like they’re trying to get a foothold in their search for jobs, and “they really must have that hell of a lot of now sense, and be very persistent”, is of the opinion Mr. Eron Sheean, director, writer, and cinematographer. The core thing he himself has done is to find people to collaborate well with, and then be able to form teams with.

Jobs and Opportunities in Broadcasting | ITV

The primary target of ITV is about 60% money, and everything else comes from freelance work. They “have to have staff who either know the programs, know the equipment, or know the studios very well”. Apparently, these tend to be people who have been trained with ITV, but then have gone freelance and a few years later become very successful in the freelance broadcasting industry.

ITV seems that is a good starting point for those interested to further developing their career skills and getting employed as camera operators, from either a postgraduate or a freelancer position. Because much of that production work is in London, to be trained at London Studios you’ll have to live in London area. Just good enough, but what London Studios are looking for in potential new trainees?

News Based and ITV Insight Apprenticeships
ITV is a very news starter orientated broadcaster. They are the only company, certainly in Britain, that have news apprenticeships, noted Mr. Owen. On the initial viewing of the Apprenticeship Programme webpage it’s very easy to find that ITV offers “different apprenticeships at different ITV sites each year” (ITV.com 2017). There is a brief list of learning objectives on their ITV.com website, as well these “programmes last for 12 months or longer, it depends on the qualification”, states the source.

Mr. Owen advice would be that, if you want to work on news based programs, ITV would be a very good place to start. They have even single camera shot news. Apart from news based apprenticeships they also offer schemes like ITV Insight, open to about 30 people a year. “These are two major ITV initiatives and are delivered from a unit based in Leeds, but all the applications go through the ITV jobs website. London Studios have their own training programmes”, indicates the visiting speaker at BU.

Work Experience

“Work experience is the first layer of recruitment”, and Mr. Owen is of the opinion that, “it’s your chance to show them your application”, by application, he means, how much you want to do the job, and not necessarily a written application. It is also an opportunity for them to show you what the job entails. There are aspects of the job that “don’t please everybody or, because broadcasting is a 7 days a week industry, a lot of people don’t like it. There are limitations, only a part of it stick to office hours”.

The Film and Creative Media Workforce

Film has the power to manifest itself in an expressive way and this sets it apart from the mechanical recording that, like any ordinary object, has no meaning for us and we don’t have any interest in it. Arnheim is of the opinion that, art must be expressive for it to serve a definite purpose. In other words, to serve a definite purpose a film must prove to be creative, and to reach its expressive potential that “helps us to understand the true nature of things and what they have in common” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 10).

In order to expand the possibilities of what can be done within a medium the big part of the creative process is done in post-production. And in the editing suite is where the magic takes place, and where all the pieces “the expressive potential of individual shots and the expressive potential of their combination” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 11) are assembled together to indicate that the artistic possibilities are limitless.

Mr. Ian Sutherland is of the opinion that for an editor, if the television companies like the workflow they’ll probably come back and be asked to undertake more work. It is important to be flexible and accept new challenges, even if at the moment they don’t make any sense. “Sometimes they’ll will work, and sometimes they’ll not, and will have to be put back. The attitude of an editor is important for a producer”, he says. To take notice of a fact that like any other discipline that requires creative involvement, sometimes it will work and sometimes it will not. Sometimes you will get surprised and will find out that is interesting. Sometimes it can be chaotic, but sometimes it can be fun”.

Sometimes you have to take a break for a change and later come back to that work with a fresh eye from a different perspective. Mr. Sutherland suggests that, “the job of an editor is to make it good enough, to be in an idealistic notion”. He is of the opinion that, “what is good now is not good, maybe, in 5 years from now. Film is about an emotional response. It’s a never finished process”. It’s a highly collaborative approach, where “you can work and sometimes question the integrity of the project”.

Obviously, mass broadcasting affects how people look and interact with each other, and how they view the social, cultural, economic, religious and political factors, nationaly and internationaly, and perhaps, contributes to the integration of key aspects of human society. This is a visual interpretation of stories for the viewer to the point that through images most of us will be able “to learn to understand and comprehend the world and ourselves” (Petrie 1992, p. 3) in relation to the rest of the world.

In this sense, the film making is considered a wonderful form of art, because of the tendency to manifest its unique expressive potential in a very articulated way, using their exclusive medium in the creative process to expand the storytelling possibilities of the visual language. For a great conclusion is that, the creative editing is “an essential component of the film medium” (Thomson-Jones 2008, p. 11), that is in opposition of executing mechanical recording, and it helps to change the way we approach different levels of aesthetics, art, truth, and, more generally, the subjective perception of time and space, myth and reality. “Structures must exist” (Petrie 1992, p. 4) which make it possible for images to communicate in ways that make sense the message to the television and other media audiences.

“Who, exactly, does edit the film,” Dmytryk wrote: “Usually, no single person, exactly”. He points out that, the director of a film has the leading influence on the editing, then the producer, and the cutter can have the greatest influence, because he sets the “tone” by holding together all the components and “making the first complete assembly” (Dmytryk, 2013, p.7).

Mr. Eron Sheean, the visiting speaker, who was drawn into animation, particularly stop motion explains it further that, to be a director you need to understand what everyone’s role is, you don’t need to be able to do it, but, he strongly believes, you need to be able to appreciate what responsibilities everyone has in the film crew, and then having to work with them to have realistic expectations. It’s all about what you can get out of them at the time. He found that with sculpture, “if you don’t get the form right, if you don’t get the structure right, all the details you put on it, everything else just looks wrong. It doesn’t make a good sculpture. Take what resources you have and find ways to put them through your system, whatever your taste is, whenever you want” to translate something, and use that to make something you need.

In the film industry, the filmmaker can be cast as director, writer, producer, star, or whatever necessary to create a film that is considered a product of individual or group activity and uses medium in order to deliver a statement, message, symptom, or artifact in an attempt to reach an intended audience. The source of a film is a collaborative approach, in the sense of trying to find sources for inspiration, with its informal exchange of ideas and sharing of a creative medium, and methods to develop the individual talent. And the filmmaker who is focused on what’s on the stage to construct a concrete “world” will follow the same path as the interpretation of characters, and is, in fact, the interpreter that aims at particular effects such as “to reveal perceptions, thoughts, feelings, decisions, communicative goals, and so on” (Bordwell 1996 p.158) and drawn to find images that resonate.

But this transition from the corporate world into everyday creativity isn’t easy. How do you navigate into doing something that is creatively interesting to you as well as get financed in this day of age, which is more restrictive than ever, and Mr. Sheean thinks, it has a lot to do with the death of the DVD market. For this reason, sites like Netflix and Amason are revolutionary in a sense, and maybe encouraging.

Trying to write on your own is a very difficult thing to do, is of the opinion Mr. Sheean, “because it’s a long and kind of lonely process. But when you collaborate with others, for instance, another screenwriter or even a director for that matter”, Mr. Sheean thinks that, “something really wonderful happens – if you get along with them, where you can just sort out so many problems so quickly by just saying what if you do this, and what about that”. Mr. Sheean finds that, it’s hardly your voice as a writer, but rather it’s what you personally bring to it, your taste, your ability for creativity, and from a script writing point of view, it’s alright “to make things look a little fatter that they need to be”.

Mr. Jesse Crosby, producer and SEO at Monkey Kingdom, finds that original content is a major area of investment for both Netflix and Amazon, and the availability and price of this content it often forms the focus of their own marketing communications programme. He pointed out some changes for competitive advantages given the changing of market dynamics, scale, international appeal, familiarity, digital pull and licensing exploitation. In this case, with 15 years experience of productions, Mr. Crosby emphasises different aspects of creativity trying to illustrate the challenges that the sector faces:

  • Given the uncertainties involved in TV production, broadcasters may prefer to deal with larger companies and/or well-known producers to deliver a programme to the desired creative, budget and timing needs.

  • However, access to talent remains key and, through persistence, strong ideas will find a way of prevailing.

While it’s true that, writers are not able to make us see, hear, touch, smell, or taste the relative impenetrability of things they evoke, however, they can profit from its animating virtues in order to reach the level of immediate concreteness of language in the artistic media. Arnheim goes further to realize how vital is, for instance, to combine the words of the text and, in another manner, the sounds of the music to create the unity of the whole, even though, they are asserted to maintain a sense of separateness (Arnheim 1957, p.207).


For those who seek employment after the completion of their college career, Mr. Matt Gallagher is drawing a conclusion with regards to the process of employment, he notes that, “good manners will get you everywhere. If you can show politeness and manners it will get you anywhere. You attitude counts enormously. Be proactive, and do as much research as you can”.

Speaking of TV production as a whole, the capacity of a film medium is very much able to
make the audience to question everything, including the nature of our own existence,
everything we see and experience. Consequently, through the medium of cinema artists are
looking for ways to create their own unique appearance and style that can be rendered visible,
especially with regard to social transformation, culture and core values. In the contemporary society the power of the image plays an increasingly important role in the actual construction of realities in the cultural and the social contexts that helps “to recognize the complexities of identity, including processes of transformation and change” (Petrie 1992, p.3).

The cultural and social context affect all aspects of life through their creative participation of contributors from the media industry. Through recognising and accepting the role of media within our social experiences, where the image of reality can be manipulated, but also give the viewer a sort of freedom “to look, to question and to reassess the nature of the world around them” (Petrie, 1992, p. 3) they keep expanding the possibilities of making visible contextualized realities that aim “to reassure rather than confront” (Petrie 1992, p. 4).

Techniques of Cutting on Action

How to make transitions between different shots and scenes when editing a film? Often times the editor will strangle to find and match cuts for a smooth transition between the shots and scenes.

To make edits less visible film editors use a style of editing called Continuity editing. One technique, Continuity editing, is using match cuts to change the scene or point of view. Match cuts carry over visual or audio elements from one shot to the next to make the edit nearly invisible to the viewer.

According to Tindell, there are three types of much cuts:

Graphical Match
When a visual element is carried over from one shot to the next shot.

Match on Action Cut
The movement of a character or object is carried over from one shot to the next shot.

Sound Bridge
Carries over a sound element from one shot to the next shot.

Cutting on action can also be used to carry the viewer through time to help transition the viewer into the next scene. The continuity of the action should tell us that this is the same character (Tindell, 2016).

Match on Action Cut Between Shots

An example of a match on action cut between shots can be seen in The Insider (00:10:13 to 00:10:17). Watch The Insider from 00:10:08 to 00:10:36 to see match on action cut and sound bridge. Overlapping obviously adds “a few frames so that all elements of the character overlap with each other for a much more natural appearance” (Priebe, 2011, p.211).

Match on Action Cut Between Two Scenes

An example of brilliant Match cut between two different scenes, which has the same character carried through time, is City of God: the chicken chase. It seems like a perfect example of using Parallel editing. Parallel cutting is used to show two parallel actions taking place at the same time (Kobre, 2012, p.194).

Tindell, John. 2016. Match Cuts in Film Editing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El28XrjtcMI
Kobre, Kenneth. 2012. Videojournalism: Multimedia Storytelling. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1136023143
Priebe, Kenneth A. 2011. The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation. https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1435457048

The Look of Silence – Narrative, Aesthetics, and Cultural Legacy

Filmmaking is the process that transforms that latent image into a long-term memory experience, something that would affect those levels of awareness and acceptance in the target audience.

I. Introduction

One of the controversial rules in the film writing and directing is that one would never know the craft from just learning the craft courses. In many cases, talented people will have to take the responsibility for their own training and development both in the creative process and in personal style, so “each man or woman has to learn it through his or her own system of self-education” (Mackendrick, 2004).

Joshua Oppenheimer is an American film director and producer, born in 1974 in Texas, USA. He studied filmmaking at Harvard University and later embraced the experimental style approach of nonlinear narrative and produced a series of short film and documentary-style feature films.

Oppenheimer directed The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase (1997) and won a Gold Hugo for the Best Experimental Short Film at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1998 (IMDb.com, 1998). His two latest documentary films, The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014), involves facts exploration and identification of characters, the aim of which is to put emphasis on conscious inputs about the Indonesian genocide in a visual representation of the information that helps get a creative and interactive insight about those events.

The viewer observes an endless stream of images with the perpetrators which have created divisions throughout the society in the aftermath of these injustices. While these films have been controversial, most notably is that have been proved to be successful and have received a number of international awards which have brought Oppenheimer worldwide recognition (IMDb.com, 2016).

It appears that the crimes committed in 1965 – 1966 have never been placed under criminal investigation by the Indonesian authorities, or to have made those people accountable for their own choices in the killings and mass murder of innocent civilians. This must suggest that there are some reasons for the lack of motivation to speak about these issues and because the people accountable don’t really care about those reasons.

However, when the perpetrators were given the chance to speak about what they know or believe, even though they’re being sarcastic, they are straightforward and inspirational when they’re discussing something crude or ugly to spice up the conversation. They also show a great desire to act in these films.

Oppenheimer succeeds in turning the idea into reality, and together with a film crew and the killers themselves, many of whom were leaders of an Indonesian paramilitary force called Pancasila Youth, such as Amir Hasan and Inong, have agreed to be filmed. They work to explore the horror, and produce serious scares “with apparent relish, boasting about their exploits, acting out their gruesome deeds – victims despatched by machete or garrotting by wire – in elaborate detail and staging surreal fantasy interludes to symbolise their triumph over the evils of communism” (O’Hagan, 2015).

Narrative Experimentation in The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence

Both of these films are above average extremely powerful with its surreal style, a sense of intersection between feature film, documentary and serial that can generate strong emotions in the audience. Werner Herzog, the executive producer, admits that when he saw 8 minutes excerpts from Joshua Oppenheimer’s film, he immediately knew that he had “never seen anything like that, I have never seen anything as powerful, as frightening and as surreal of what was on the screen …” (Herzog, 2013).

In 2003 Oppenheimer started to work closely with the victims of Indonesia’s anti-communist regime change that took place in 1965 and 1966. According to the source, many Communists and suspected sympathizers were the victims of mass killings led by the military and controlled by President Suharto new regime “that resulted in one of the grizzliest genocides of the 20th century” (Zelenko, 2015).

After 50 years of silence the individuals involved in the large-scale killings of suspected Communists and their sympathisers are presented to show no remorse, affection, or willing to make an apology for their role in the genocide. The main characters in The Act of Killing are mostly negative personalities that committed acts of violence and genocide against Indonesian civilian population. Anwar Congo, formerly the head of a gang of killers, seems completely removed from reality, modified, who has become inaccessible as the result of a corrupt conduct and wrongdoings at the time it occurred.

Oppenheimer is able to track these people down and convince them to participate in a fiction film based on actual events, where they would recreate these awful crimes they have committed (Morris, 2013). Anwar Congo and his friends accepted the challenge, and while accidental or not, the perpetrators have great difficulty in understanding of the human nature, human society or human existence and may take any actions they deem appropriate to show us in the film how to become a mass murderer.

There is a sequence in The Act of Killing which shows the cruelty of Anwar, who used to bit many people to death, it shows that he also invented a new way to kill effectively with a wire that wraps around the victim’s neck, because there was too much blood and because of bad smell. In a sequence where Anwar is on the roof, “the monster who had caused misery for thousands” (Barnes, 2013), often complaints that he has nightmares about the past.

In other words, Anwar acknowledges that the nightmares come as a result of what he did, and subsequently he still lives in these environments and tries to forget about them with alcohol, marijuana, and ecstasy. Obviously, Anwar has his own version of interpretation, and because of that traumatic event, he clearly considers himself a victim of some sort as much a victim as the thousands of vulnerable victims that he had systematically killed during the military dictatorship in Indonesia.

The main protagonists in The Act of Killing are mainly negative characters conveying anger or disgust. They are feeling more cheerful as they try to remember their dreadful scenes in detail, which were horrible. In The Look of Silence there is a tendency to keep the same experimental approaches as in the previous film, The Act of Killing, but more likely to change the quality moving from the negative to positive perceptions, moving beyond the stereotypes and beliefs about past events and experiences.

In The Look of Silence, towards the beginning of the film there is a sequence which shows western media propaganda to cover the crisis surrounding the Indonesian conflict. Joshua Oppenheimer uses these digital archives in the production process to express their opinions on a subject and showing that Western media deliberately supported the military regime that brought Suharto to power in 1966.

Aesthetic Strategies in The Look of Silence

The main protagonist in The Look of Silence, Adi Rukun, whose brother was killed in the genocide, uses a slightly different psychological approach to dealing with criminals. The film shows how Adi is able to regulate and cope with his emotional reactions such as hate or anger and take lead to a rational way of thinking, where the conflict is under some kind of control.

In an attempt to understand and explain events from the past, but also those of the present, the narrative structure varies from sequence to sequence. This film contains the element of surprise in the construction of the narration of events. The spectator is encouraged to embrace the unpredictable and to deal with unexpected situations considering their past actions and underlying tension of the present conditions, because the story has the same problem that relates to adversity and conflict which can be seen throughout the film.

It’s a hard task to penetrate into the killers mind and to find what are the reasons and motivation to hurt other people, and to be an adept of prejudice-motivated crimes. Consequently, Adi takes a different view on the perpetrators thoughts and actions, and when raising the tone of the ethical approach he uses reason to focus on actual deeds rather than on each of them as individuals. He tries hard to separate the person from his bad deeds, and to have respect for the dignity of human beings.

“I think it was from Adi that I first heard this sense that one ought to be able to separate the human being from the crime and forgive the human being, at least as an ideal. That probably influenced how I approached the whole making of Act Of Killing. I’d also say that if you understand what Adi is trying to do — to find peace with his neighbors — you have to recognize that these are not interviews. It’s not Adi interviewing them — it’s Adi confronting them, trying to break a silence borne of mutual fear that’s been dividing them and imprisoning everybody for half a century” (Zelenko, 2015).

Through different creative narratives that Oppenheimer used in The Look of Silence, there is a point of view that some strategies regarding the issue of reconciliation can be helpful and may seem like beneficial to those who were previously repressed and now struggle to find peace with their neighbours, and also for those target audiences that directly or indirectly committed serious crimes against humanity.

Summary Sequence Analysis

This essay will focus on analysing a sequence and finding what is relevant in terms of the technique, originality and the delivery of the message. To see how the director, Joshua Oppenheimer, is able to reconstruct the historic realities and connect with the past and how they shape this narrative in an effort to make something different. This experimental approach enables the director to deal with important issues of reality and the possibility of representing reality as a challenge to own existence not to forget the past as a result of suppressed memories and unfairness in the justice system.

The film seeks to provide new insights into how history was used to cover the truth about the 1965 genocide in Indonesia. Joshua Oppenheimer has the courage to speak, acknowledge the wrongdoing, and with a serious attempt to correct these factual errors, and as such:

“the aim of art is to give people a space to see what they already know so that they can talk about it, so that the narrative can start to change. So much of the way we talk, and cope with the world, is founded on silence, on not saying things that we know” (Zelenko, 2015).

Director Joshua Oppenheimer has taken a Hollywood style approach in these films, in an attempt to find out and provide an answer to why killers rule and have an amazing life, but survivors who feared for their own lives in the past might feel marginalised, neglected and brought to silence.

For it seems possible that the moral obligation as motivation and the artist’s intention to reflect on the legacy involvement from an artistic perspective could be the reasons to make these films. But what are the factors that affect how people view something and how they build their culture? What impact has the cultural and historical factors on the social development of the country?

The Look of Silence Movie clip – Amir Siahaan, the subdistrict Komando Aksi commander (2015).

This obviously creates a new heritage that reflects on a cultural legacy which is closely tied to the beliefs, values, and principles that might affect the way people speak and behave towards each other.

II. Narrative, Set Design and Drama in The Look of Silence

The desire for entertainment is what often brings people to watch fiction movies. To keep the excitement whether being taken by the fantasy of events and facts that really reflect actual events, or curiosity, what really counts is the emotional and dramatic content of any scene. When a completely unreal drama comes with imagination, if taken with the story either by curiosity, and some kind of suspense the listener will signal his or her affective engagement (Mackendrick, 2004).

It seems that the history is a reality not measurable with anything else in terms of objectivity. Each stage of the history has its own development processes, where everyone else’s role and everyone else’s expected contribution is not something reduced to standard organic and mechanical concepts.

Inevitably, the historical aspects or events are part of a physical reality that has continuity in time and space. Even if sometimes the human mind cannot grasp the most universal truths about human experience, the chains of human reasoning can still have a form of realism, and must be determined to penetrate its truth. Not that type of photographic realism, but rather to provide clear insight into the subject matter with acting tones or character development in the screenplay that can influence how the audience absorbs the reality in areas of self-awareness, self-expression, and self-adaptation.

Bazin and Kracauer are of the opinion that “reality differs from its photographic image to the extent that our way of seeing reality differs from our way of seeing films” which gives the cinema a unique status and see what is a break “through the barrier of convention, ideology and prejudice which constricts our view of reality” (Perkins, 1972, p.30).


Although film genres may be fictional and non-fictional the new approach in writing combines the use of fictional with factually accurate narratives about real people and real events. Therefore, it appears that sometimes the convention between different film genres is broken, which allows the filmmakers to create documentary elements in fiction films and, of course, vice versa as if the aim is to absorb something into a brilliant and meaningful story that makes sense for the audience.

In an attempt to understand and explain events from the past, but also those of the present, the narrative structure varies from sequence to sequence. The spectator is encouraged to embrace the unpredictable and unexpected outcomes to underlying tension of the present conditions, because the story has the same problem that relates to adversity and conflict finally “brought into a more immediate, dynamic and revealing relationship” with the contemporary narrative, “a world more concentrated and more shaped than that of our usual experience” (Perkins, 1972, p.69).

In each moment of the film there is a dense network of meanings, which makes it more special in the way they’re combined in terms of a non-linear narrative, and the continuity of their interaction with other sequences. The director uses symbolic meanings in The Look of Silence to represent something in his story that often relates to the continuity of life, like those tiny little butterfly eggs which are moving continuously and the children are being amused by their reaction but still closely observing the undoubtedly mysterious elements while lying down on the living room floor.

Set Design

In the The Look of Silence (2014) the set design is constantly changing, as the dialog is often taken place in the house of perpetrators. Adi Rukun, the main character in the story, attempts to uncover the real, the authentic history, and is passionate about his role to allow the audience an outer journey to different intellectual and ethical levels of the subject.

As part of the set, monochromatic tones are used to create a solemn and rather sad atmosphere, taken into an environment that reflects strong agonising emotions filled with tension, anxiety of the past, and anticipation of violence when working with this type of scenarios and novice type actors.


If people can’t take the responsibility for something they did in the past, there is obviously no reason for them to apologise. Oppenheimer agrees that in all his efforts to adjust their behavior to each other throughout the interaction, consciously apologising is something that will definitely make the perpetrators feel very guilty. The film also shows how Adi wants to have an understanding of moral responsibility that we have for our actions, in hope of reconciliation with opposites.

Oppenheimer affirms that he is not filming Adi interviewing on his behalf, but “filming a scene where Adi is desperately trying to find reconciliation with his neighbor, having been warned by me that I don’t think they’ll be able to apologize; that none of the perpetrators will have the courage to apologize” (Zelenko, 2015).

Sean O’Hagan (2015) observes that there is a different approach to their appearance in the The Look of Silence, and that:

“Aside from a protracted scene in which Amir and Inong act out the torture and killing of Ramli in a similarly grotesque and gleeful manner, The Look of Silence is, a more restrained, quietly haunting film, a meditation on the lingering and pervasive psychological fallout of the genocide. The horror, though it underlies every frame of the film, is subsumed into the intimate story of a grieving, traumatised family: two elderly parents, Rohani and Rukun, and their youngest son, who, 50 years after the genocide, are still living in a village where the murderers of their son and countless other victims are either feared or treated as heroes”.

III. Sequence with Adi and Amir Siahaan, Komando Aksi commander

From an editing perspective the sequence has clear cuts, the flow of the narrative has a symmetrical balance used in camera movement to change the angles from left to right. There is a set of two cameras that can show the main protagonists in close up postures filmed separately. The main camera which is focused on Amir Siahaan, the subdistrict Komando Aksi commander, moves from right to left as the narrative intensifies in a variety of discursive tensions. It is interesting to notice that the primary colors for the decor where the action takes place is constructed of reddish colors, and this can be easily associated with the colors of the uniforms of the Komando Aksi group members. The colors of the surrounding landscape, which are predominately green, perfectly complement with the overall red colors of the living room decor design of Amir Siahaan’s house.

Adi, who is located on the left side of the camera and the interviewee on the right side, talks about multiple ethical issues that concerns moral judgment, reasoning and the development of human rights in Indonesia. In this sequence, Adi speaks to Amir Siahaan, saying that “You were leader of Komando Aksi in this region.”

“Yes”, the commander confirms, calmly in the cast. Adi, the interviewer, continues to dominate the conversation and to communicate his thoughts, “so you were responsible for the mass killings here.” If so, and if the answer is “yes”, the interviewer on the left side can ask something in a particular way, “Do people around here know that?“, and the Komando Aksi commander answers “Yes, they do.”

Adi Rukun left confronts Amir Siahaan
Photo: Adi located on left side of the camera and Amir Siahaan, the subdistrict Komando Aksi commander, on the right side.

The leader of Komando Aksi accepts the fact that he was in charge and by his own command many people were killed in that particular region. Even when Adi goes further by asking him if people around the area know about these mass-killings and who was responsible for them, the general apparently admits that without much inconvenience.

One can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for criminals to experience the fact that someone else might look at them and see murderers who have killed many families. Though often, people like Amir Siahaan, the leader of Komando Aksi, or Anwar, the leader of a gangster group, don’t really care about what others think about them from a public opinion standpoint, because they probably believe that the public opinion it is and it should continue to be the expression of a silenced opinion in Indonesia.

Adi was speaking about his family, particularly about his brother, to the general and saying that, “The thing is … I … My older brother … He was killed.” Adi went on a quietly meditative tone, such as “Because you commanded the killings …” to bring the point about the personal responsibility for own actions. The leader of Komando Aksi suddenly seemed awkward and answered, “It wasn’t really me …”

What seems to be important for people like the leader of Komando Aksi is that they were and are supported by the government, and therefore in terms of rights and responsibilities this shouldn’t be a personal concern. The leader of Komando Aksi seemed unconcerned and that he could not be bothered until confronted with these facts by taking his own thoughts and readjusting them to fit in this context of the story.

When Adi confesses, that his brother Ramli was killed too, there is a moment that the general can understand or acknowledge part of the facts. However, when he was told specifically that what happened was because he commanded the killings, and this immediately obscured the general’s mind.

There was a sudden obstacle in front of him, and suddenly the commander affirms that “There are many Komando Aksi groups… Komando Aksi were the people united with the army,” revealing the extraordinary support involved, “And we had commanders above us… And we were protected by the government,” the general said. In this context expressing a sense of legitimacy and morality, the general enforces some particular political ideology, that it can’t be wrong if the government was involved in this program, “So, you can’t say I’m responsible,” the commander later concluded.

In the last section of the sequence with the leader of Komando Aksi, the main protagonist Adi Rukun, makes an effort to summarise everything that was discussed about the past, with a remarkable ability to compare the common approach to freedom of speech in the past with the present time. Adi goes further to challenge Amir Siahaan, by asking him what the commander would do to him if he, Adi, would come to him with these questions he has now about the past. In short, Adi asks: “If I came to you like this during the dictatorship, what would have happened?” The leader of Komando Aksi stares at him and answers quietly: “You can’t imagine what would have happened.”

When that happens, Oppenheimer thinks that would be sufficient if he can film and assemble the value of this reality, and also the necessity “to document the panic, the shame, the guilt, the fear of guilt, the fear of one’s own guilt, and of course the anger and the threats — then I can make visible through the reactions of the perpetrators and through Adi, this abyss of fear and guilt that divides everybody” (Zelenko, 2015).

The film encourages the possibility for honest self-expression, where the perpetrators take account of their past and present deeds, and give a clear response that consists of some portion of reality, in order to help us to understand these complex processes of democratic transformation.

IV. Conclusions

The central character in The Look of Silence, Adi Rukun, invites us to challenge injustice, discrimination and indifference. In fact, he is willing to confront the leadership and common lies that have penetrated into present day society. This essay has tried to highlight how Joshua Oppenheimer used archive footage in the making of a narrative that is relevant to the plot, which adds meaning and value to his films. In this case like in many others that were involved in the genocide, the perpetrators have a set of moral “rules”, which are determined by the particular set of principles. These principles are, however, firmly rejected by current society and have also produced confusion over the normative role of western civilisation in the global democracy.

The term “democracy” has been in use for a very long time. Its meaning and philosophy can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. However, “until now has not been any text adopted at the world-wide level by politicians which defined its parameters or established its scope” (Cornillon, 1998, p.5). Many of the perpetrators have high public positions in the current society and are personally involved in the making of history, so it would be particularly worth the effort to find out views on this matter. Both parties, the victims and the perpetrators are likely to play a uniquely important role in the film. This suggests that both offenders and victims have shaped the political culture by their social experience and the disproportionate intervention of factors that motivated a clear contemplation of violent events.

Something even more detestable is to discover that many of the perpetrators are still in power and 50 years after the genocide in Indonesia they are still extremely dangerous. In my chosen sequence Amir Siahaan, the leader of Komando Aksi, wants to justify his own behaviour in an attempt to overshadow his actions, apparently, with the belief that these actions were unavoidable, necessary and proper. These moral principles exercised equality regardless of all human beings, social and political equality, freedom, transparency and responsibility, could be easily misinterpreted by Amir and others like him.

Adi has the courage to stand up for what he believes, and in this context of legitimacy, the question of morality is something that he wants to identify in these individuals. After Amir concludes that he is not responsible for his actions because they had commanders above them, Adi confronts him again so calmly and rationally, “Every killer I meet”, he argues, ”none of them feel responsible”.

The killers often claim that to open up the past now, as before the wound has healed up, will not help. But how to facilitate healing those painful emotional wounds and to confront the denial of the actual violence if not through “reopening the wound” and fighting for truth and justice for these horrific crimes?

In the film it has been highlighted that all of these sources of power can influence, manipulate and change what is taught in schools. This is demonstrated with clearly presented information in the film sequence where a teacher of teenagers asks the scholars different questions about their culture and history. Jess Melvin (2014) is of the opinion that the perpetrators of the Indonesian killings won:

“Indonesia is a country in which the killers have won. Their continued protection is being actively facilitated by Indonesia’s Attorney General”, and goes further into discussion to explain that “The regime came to power on the back of the genocide and many hoped that an investigation into the killings, believed to have claimed at least half a million lives, would bring the perpetrators to justice and allow Indonesia to move forward”.

Ultimately, the offenders and the victims have to live together in a country that they want to build, but to build it on lies may not be morally justified. To live in a country where the criminals and victims know about these crimes, and see each other in their day to day activities, can be a rather difficult task, in part because there isn’t a conventional line that transcends the world of lies about what has happened to “up to a million PKI supporters” (McDonald, 2015) during the military dictatorship in Indonesia. Given the lack of coherence of information related to the genocide and the propaganda machine of manipulation of public opinion, Jess Melvin correctly notes that, “perpetrators such as those in the above films are perhaps doing the most damage to this official version of events. Self-assured of their own impunity, they have not realized that the propaganda is only able to function through the denial of the actual violence. Having exposed themselves as murderers they dig the hole deeper by attempting to transfer responsibility for their actions to their military commanders.”

To live the truth over there, along with fake heroics, and to try understand how it happened, why something like this happened, and, according to Joshua Oppenheimer, “to recognise it as collective insanity” (Zelenko, 2015) was undoubtedly a complex and challenging task for the director.


IMDb.com, Inc. 1998. Chicago International Film Festival. [online] available via http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000165/1998. [accessed 08/12/2016].

IMDb.com, Inc. 2016. Joshua Oppenheimer. Awards. [online] available via http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1484791/awards. [accessed 08/12/2016].

Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1998. DEMOCRACY: ITS PRINCIPLES AND ACHIEVEMENT. Geneva, Switzerland. [online] available via http://www.ipu.org/PDF/publications/DEMOCRACY_PR_E.pdf.%5Baccessed 04/01/2016].

Mackendrick, A. 2004. On Film-making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press.

McDonald H. 2015. Indonesia’s coup remains a mystery 50 years on. [online] available via http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-01/mcdonald-the-indonesian-coup-remains-a-mystery/6818682. [accessed 29/10/2016].

Melvin, J. 2014. Film exposes wounds of denial of 1965 violence. The Jakarta Post. [online] available via http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/09/30/film-exposes-wounds-denial-1965-violence.html. [accessed 21/11/2016].

O’Hagan, S. 2015. Joshua Oppenheimer: why I returned to Indonesia’s killing fields. [online] available via https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jun/07/joshua-oppenheimer-the-look-of-silence-interview-indonesia. [accessed 24/12/2017].

Perkins, F. 1972. Film As Film: Understanding And Judging Movies. Minority Reports, 30, Form and Discipline, 69-70. Penguin Group. England.

The Act of Killing, 2012. [film, DVD]. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. UK, Dogwoof Pictures.

The Look of Silence, 2014. [film, DVD]. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer. UK, Dogwoof Pictures.

YouTube, 2013. Werner Herzog and Errol Morris talk about “The Act of Killing”. Drafthouse Films.[online] available via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLQxVy7R9qo. [accessed 27/12/2016].

Zelenko, M. 2015. Talking to Joshua Oppenheimer about his devastating follow-up to The Act of Killing. [online] available via http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/15/8971233/the-act-of-killing-joshua-oppenheimer-interview-the-look-of-silence-documentary. [accessed 26/10/2016].

The Future’s Past Short Film

The Set Up and Location

The setup of the story takes place in the All Saints’ Church on Castlemain Avenue, Southbourne.

First Scene
The Arriving in the first scene is a shot at the main entrance of the church. Jack arrives in a car and stops after passing through the church gates. It’s a long apparently static shot, which shows how Jack turns off the engine of his car, comes out and walks slowly towards the entrance of the church. There is a soundtrack file that plays background music to produce a mysterious tone for the narrative that is intended to play throughout the first two scenes. The total time of this scene is 00:29:15.

There are two cuts, one cut at the beginning on 00:31:11, and another at the end of this take 1:01:16.

Adding subtle jump cuts to play the clip at faster speed can be a useful editing technique to show the mood and set a creative pace for the narrative. According to András Bálint Kovács, “the effect of jump cuts suggests to the viewer that actions are not represented in the film, they are rather created by authorial will, and their pace depends not on how they occur in reality, but what emotional effect the auteur wishes to exercise on the viewer” (Kovács, 2007, p. 132).

Problem: To shorten this scene using jump cuts can make the scene to look jagged, and the effect is not pleasing. The director and cinematographer should decide about this from the beguining of the shooting, if they want or not to use jump cuts in the post-production. If the camera slightly moves to follow the actor, the transition will normally result in an abrupt jump cut rather than a smooth and seamless jump cut effect.

Solution: These jump cuts will obviously shorten the scene. Apparently, for this scene there aren’t any stable shots and it was decided not to use this technique. It is clear that the jumping effect destabilises the scene. Because this is the first scene, a notable solution can be to add a few film title sequences, including the actor’s name, production company name and the short film title to show the fast pace needed.

Second Scene

Next shot is taken from inside the church and it shows how Jack opens the inside church doors, and walks slowly towards the camera. The camera angle changes to what looks like a woman praying in a priest’s white robe with her hands leaning on a oak designed table. This apparently dark space, comes to life by using lighting candles, and additional artificial lighting sets to help create the desired effect between the shadow and highlights that evokes a sense of sacredness and intimacy.

As the young man is slowly walking inside and with his fingers touching the pedestrian, the camera moves smoothly back. This can be done by sitting on an adjustable rolling chair with the camera in your hands, and someone else from behind has to pull back the rolling chair continuously.

The camera angle changes to what looks like a woman praying in a priest’s white robe with her hands leaning on a oak designed table. In the next part of the scene long takes are used that effectively represent the required information and have a fairly balanced sequence composition.

“As a sequence is being cut, the cutter should know where a particular setup most effectively presents the information needed for a particular part of the scene. In other words, he will stay with a shot as long as that shot is the one which best delivers the required information and cut to another shot only when the new cut will better serve the purposes of the scene, whether because the size is more effective, the composition is more suitable, or the interpretation is superior” (Dmytryk, 2013, p. 25).

In the second part of this scene (from 00:01:38), the argument rises as the tension grows in intensity, so the cutting on movement is done more frequently to create a dynamic environment which keeps the suspense through variation in camera angles. It presents the audience with the context for dramatic information within the shot “in which the existence of danger, conflict, and anticipation could all be created through the editing” (Dancyger, 2002, p. 117).

Third Scene

In the third action scene the pace of narrative is fast, it gradually grows and changes. Because things are changing fast, and the editing method is faster, using different medium shots from left to right almost in the circle to show variation of shots in order to emphesise intensification in the action sequence. This technique is particularly useful “as we move toward the conclusion of the scene, the point at which one character achieves his or her goal and the other character fails” (Dancyger, 2002, p. 264).

The use of close-ups and point-of-view shots is intended to help the spectator to get emotionally involved and encourages emotional involvement and identification with the characters. The camera angle changes more often than before throughout this sequence, and the editing in this sense follows the characters and the relationships between one another, switching between the pattern set earlier and a series of shorter medium shots, and close-ups, moving in a semi-circular motion around the characters. Making a camera variation in the sequence that will help to achieve action intensification.

The clip AA003301 in the third scene is the most balanced shot and it can be used throughout this sequence as a pattern set in combination with shorter shots in the middle ground and extreme close-ups in the foreground. This clip somehow dictates the pacing and rhythm of this last sequence. In this clip it shows the Disheveled Man from the back side pointing the gun at Jack.

The clip AA003301 was later moved in the timeline and AA004001 took its place and it shows the Disheveled Man from the front side. This was provided as a solution because of the camera’s close-focus capability to show the Disheveled Man from the main character’s left shoulder.

The point-of-view shot used in this scene relates to a camera that looks up on the actors to portray an image where the main protagonist Jack appears as a dominant presence in the conflict. It shows the action from the victims perspective and it gives the audience that type of identification with the characters in a scene that’s very conflicting and at this point the drama level is extremely high.

Acting and Directing

The actors had performed a number of takes for each scene, and the cinematographers had the opportunity to take shots from different angles, however, many were out of focus or simply not composed appropriately. As a result, the decision was taken not to use those shots in the film.

Nearly all scenes were taken multiple times. The director David j Henson wanted to get into the rhythm and the script continuity and this way was able to make a number of takes for each scene. The dramatic plot is constructed around the argument of permanent destruction of the world that Jack seems concerned about and wants to prove it to the priest. The plot comes out as a surprise in this short film and the spectators don’t even notice that is there, for example, the part where the initial appearance of the Dishevelled Man with a gun at the lower portion of his body, and holding it closed …

The video and audio were used separately to record high-quality audio and video when shooting as Arnheim suggested image and sound were ‘separate and complete structural forms’ (Perkins, 1972. p.37).

In the Post-production

The characters in the film are presented in the foreground in all four scenes. In the second scene it’s used a medium shot to show how the characters interact in the foreground. The environment, mostly darken colours, is always present in the background, however, constant and indifferent to these characters.

The detail of the man walking with the gun is inserted in that moment when Jack laughs about what the priest said to him, that Jack should have faith in God. There is a close-up shot of the Disheveled Man with the gun which shows the middle portion of the body and it can be used to give the spectator a clue that the plot is clearly expected to come. Because the intruder is still unknown using this clip only for 2 seconds makes the preparation for the plot exciting and can inject suspense in the scene.

The Future’s Past Second Version

The second version of The Future’s Past has different title sequences and they’re are placed at the beginning of the first scene. While for the first film is used drawing titles in a cartoon style for the second film there are After Effects titles. This short film stops on a freeze frame.

While the first version shows after AA004001 Sub 05 (Disheveled man front) the video clip AA003901.Sub.00 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) and AA003301 (Disheveled man back) than AA028101.Sub.01 (close-up shot Jacks face) than to AA003301 (Disheveled man back), the second version has a different arrangement.

The second version shows after AA004001 Sub 05 (Disheveled man front) and AA003901.Sub.00 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) than jumps to AA028101.Sub.01 (close-up shot Jacks face) and only than to AA003301 (Disheveled man back).

Deleted close up clip AA028401.Sub.03.are you insane and added another clip AA004001 (Are you insane) to show the Disheveled Man from the front side as he can be seen much better in action. Now after AA003901 Sub 1 will pay clip AA004001 (Dishevelled Man: Are you insane…).

While the first version shows after the AA003901.Sub.01 (Disheveled man and Jack profile), a AA028401.Sub.03.are you insane (Disheveled man close up) and than back to AA003301 (Disheveled man back) and AA003901.Sub.02.taking the gun (Profile shot) and AA028401.Sub.09 (Disheveled man close-up),

the second version after the AA003901.Sub.01 (Disheveled man and Jack profile) follows AA004001.are you insane (Disheveled man front) and than back to AA003301 (Disheveled man back) and AA003901.Sub.02.taking the gun (Profile shot) and AA028401.Sub.09. (Disheveled man close-up).