Director Anders Ostergaard on Burma VJ:
It was about having good connections and mutual trust and we went off to Bangkok to meet these undercover reporters from Burma. That’s how the film started to take shape. Burma VJ is a film about journalism. We have journalism and creative documentary. We tried to go deeper into the emotions and the human condition behind all of this, and the two approaches seemed to work together. We had a duty to chronicle this uprising as a historical phenomenon, but also to treat it as an artistic project with a human interest that goes beyond that and trying to find that balance was quite demanding. We were aware that we were filling a gap, a gap that would otherwise have been complete silence.
Director Franny Armstrong on The Age of Stupid:
I made my first film McLibel just because I thought it was the most brilliantly inspiring story, that these two people dared to stand up to McDonalds. I was inspired and I thought if other people see this, they’ll be inspired too. I didn’t imagine would could happen, and then ten years later, major shifts happened, the biggest was that advertising junk food for kids was banned and there was a sea change in public awareness of healthy eating. And not just our film of course, but Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation and Jamie’s School Dinners too. Once that happened I thought wow, just me and a few others changed the law so that was quite good. So when we set out to make Age of Stupid we knew it was possible to change things and obviously climate change is the biggest, most important issue facing our generation so it was obvious what subject we had to do.
Director Rupert Murray on The End Of The Line:
It started when I read the book, The End Of The Line – I picked it up by accident at Terminal 3. I was completely bowled over by it and I rang up the author Charles Clover immediately. It was a very strange coming together. What we were very clear about from the beginning was that the issue had to be the story. We wanted to make ‘over fishing of the world’s oceans and how we can turn them around’ a story. I think all films at some level should be trying to make a better world, I think all stories are at some level trying to make a better world, some more explicit than others. What you see here is a series of films which are very explicit about their motives and they offer practical hands-on advice about how we can make certain issues better, but all films are restorative about giving you the tools to negotiate your way through the world and make it a better place, I think that’s the driving force of humanity, to make the world a better place. Films are a beautiful articulation of that.
Director Pamela Yates on The Reckoning: The Battle For The International Criminal Court:
We have a company called Skylight Pictures which for 25 years has been making films about human rights and the quest for justice. So actually we are making a quartet of films about human rights and one of our films is The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, and it chronicles the first six years, exciting and tumultuous years, the creation of the court, this new paradigm for justice – this big idea. Storytelling, or really excellent storytelling is powerful. It’s how we build our lives and our memories and it’s part of our collective history. We have always thought about outreach, and every single film we make we have a specially designed outreach campaign that we start when we’re actually making the film.
Director Tia Lessin on Trouble The Water:
After Hurricane Katrina, we were moved by outrage but also compassion. I think any good film has to have that emotional element, and that’s what brought us down there. I think what allowed us to continue with the story was the sense of connection with the people that we were meeting, who came to us behind the camera and in front of the camera. We fell in love with the region and New Orleans and we wanted to be sure that the film made a difference in the relief and rebuilding efforts. It’s been six years since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast but the value of the film continues today. For one thing we have a conservative movement in the United States that is intending to dismantle the federal government as we know it and take apart social services and eliminate the social safety net and privatise education and libraries and so on that we have come to depend on. The film is like a cautionary tale of what it looks like when the government disappears. It’s a horror film in that way and I think today because of the political climate in the United States, it’s resonance is stronger than ever.