A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The 9/11 Film Project and a reference book

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp

Readers here have seen a link to our Island Productions/Project Shining City trailer for our 9/11 Film Tribute. While doing a search, I've even seen a snarky remark from the Daily Kos saying we will have McCain in our film (ha. ha. ha.). All this has lead to my going through books on the subject of documentary film making. With modern low cost digital cameras and some talent and a lot of dedication, one can make such a film.

In my research of books on documentary film making, I found an excellent standard reference book written by a conservative filmmaker - one who had been a Navy pilot landing planes on aircraft carrier decks. He even lambastes "docuganda" films (didn't Idi Amin make those?) such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and lists two films critical of this Michael Moore film in the book's appendix. Thank goodness a liberal film book author mentioned and recommended this book.

"Making Documentary Films and Videos:A practical guide to planning, filming, and editing documentaries," 2nd Edition, by Barry Hampe (he now lives in Northern Virginia) is a book that is helpful to me as a writer and gaffer who will take part in some of the editing of this film. At my age, I'm not rushing out to buy a digital video camera and movie editing software. The book has some very good advice on how to interview people by making them relaxed and not making that part of a film to formal and stuffy.

While many beginning will be their own camera person out of economic necessity, others will get a friend to join their project in that role. Mr. Hampe passes along an anecdote from his experience years ago making a documentary on the Battle of Midway roughly fifty years after the event.

Some cameraman Hampe hired got bored with the static scene interviews and dropped his professionalism to move the camera focus around the room, thus losing a shot of the face of a veteran making an emotional confession about his experiences at Midway.

When Hampe had to borrow film footage of an interview from some yuppie filmmaker that he could not replicate, the Navy Veteran noticed the young filmmakers put a Midway longtime veteran carrier pilot in an Air Force flight suit (they didn't serve in the WWII Army Air Corps) and a Navy cap with no rank, rather than either street clothes or an actual uniform of theirs (I assume it would had to be let out for weight gain after 50 years). All this made the interviewee feel very uncomfortable and let them know they were dealing with kids who knew nothing about either the military or professional filmmaking research and accuracy in detail, i.e., hurt the film by the director's adolescent attitude and non-professionalism.

If any of you want to make a solid film that looks at facts - and even requires, in most cases, a discussion of opposing political or social viewpoints as part of the film - this is the book to learn from.

Our 9/11 film will probably be an exception to this rule, as we are discussing how people reacted to the events of 9/11. We won't discussing "truther" arguments as to how the Twin Towers came down for even that crowd agrees that the Towers fell on September 11th, 2001.

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