PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Tim Hetherington's Diary and where he was going as a filmmaker

Diary | Tim Hetherington | 2010 | UK | Format: various | 20 min  

One of the main reasons I felt a section on filmmaker's journals or diaries would be useful on this site is that there are times when it helps all of us to understand the filmmaking process from the subjective view of the filmmaker.  As beginning and even experienced filmmakers hope to make it in the industry, it's always good to see how the filmmakers you admired overcame their obstacles or planned their vision.  Without a doubt, it can inspire and teach you.  But there is also a voyeuristic insight to be gained from peering into a filmmaker's diary and it's not as clear cut as a motivation or a lesson would be.  Maybe the insight we gain from the filmmaker's diary benefits us as artists and fans to understand a filmmaker's work better from an aesthetic, historical and academic perspective.  Or maybe it just satisfies our desire for gossip because it's our human nature to be nosy and step into someone's life if only for a second.  Tim Hetherington's 2010 short film Diary overlaps with all of the above reasons.  It is an actual film diary instead of a written diary so it relies on impressionist visuals and expressionist sounds to convey his day-to-day experience as a photojournalist and war-time documentary filmmaker in ways that words just can't.  Diary is a revelatory piece that Slate writer, Dana Stevens, highlighted in an homage about Tim:

"If Tim Hetherington (who, at 40, had only just begun his career as a feature-length filmmaker after years spent working as a photojournalist in West Africa) could be said to have a directorial style, it lay in this sense of rawness and disorientation. He sought to document the experience of war and political unrest from the point of view of an individual, a vulnerable body struggling to make sense of chaos and violence—which makes the news of his death, that ultimate vulnerability, all the more sickeningly sad..."

"Hetherington's highly subjective, almost poetic vision of the events he spent his life documenting is on plain view in his remarkable 2010 short film DiaryDiary isn't, by any meaningful definition of the term, a documentary. It's an impressionistic 20-minute collage of images and sounds, a sketchbook of Hetherington's memories from a decade of war reporting..."

"Diary doesn't feel accomplished or even quite finished, which is part of what's so gripping about it. This is clearly the work of someone trying to figure out what he wants to do as he's doing it..."

"His short films' distinctly nonjournalistic concern with perspective and voice—with interpretation—indicates that Hetherington was exploring new ways to look at and think about the large-scale human suffering that had long been his subject matter as a journalist. That he didn't live long enough to make more movies is just one of the many reasons to mourn him."

Read the rest of this great article, here


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