POV: Your films consistently look to community to tell stories. How do you find those communities and the characters that express an issue? Why is this kind of storytelling effective for you?
Slawomir Grünberg: We are all neighbors regardless where we live and who we are and as such we should live in peace with each other. My films deal with communities in conflict. Some of them are as close as several miles from where I live and others are as far as Europe or Asia. I am interested in people’s lives and as an optimistic person I believe that a camera is a good tool to educate and solve problems. I want to believe that I am a messenger with camera, whose effort can effect real changes and bring communities and people closer together.
Here are the elements of documentary filmmaking which I find to be essential in my work:
- Observational and non-intervention approach, allowing people to be themselves
- Capturing moments of reality rather than interviewing
- Objectivity and being nonjudgmental
- Importance of access
- Building friendship and intimate relationships with the characters of the film
- Staying with the story and its characters for over a year
- Watching how far can you go before exploiting your character
- Shooting with existing lighting and hand held camera
- Bringing characters to the light rather then creating an intrusive film set up
- Working with a small crew