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The End…

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This past Thursday I finished my project and handed it in. I showed my tutor who saw the improvements in the final cut. I’ve delayed my final entry, as I’ve been celebrating a tough year with extremely hard work.

Although, the documentary of 84 has been handed in, for me the process of collecting stories about the event, and to spread the truth about the event doesn’t end here. This is only the beginning.

Over the coming years, I’m sure I’ll be able to come into contact with individuals that have stories, and who are a lot more fearless than the ones I have encountered. I’ll keep perfecting my film-making craft, and one day I hope to make a full feature length film. And hopefully it will inspire a lot of other people to share their experiences.

** This was an event held in Canada, where a group of youths are involved in  Sikh Activism Hopefully I’ll be able to set up something like this here in the UK**


My documentary:

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rough cut review & suggestions

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Having shown my colleagues my rough cut most of them were impressed as I had revealed some insights into the events. However, my lecturers did point out that it might be a bit too much information to digest. And I have neglected, perhaps yet again, the personal aspect to the project.

This was because, I intended to use characters and show personal sides to them. I wanted to show what the events of 84 had done to them, and ask them questions to talk about issues perhaps they had not talked about.

However, as you may know the characters I had chosen pulled out on me. Therefore I had to settle for one gentleman who didn’t want to be pictured, and another who was just well educated about 84. In doing this I lost the most important thing which was that personal touch. It’s this personal touch that people relate to characters. I remember McKee saying that sometimes, what’s true for you is true for other people too. I didn’t agree with this until recently.


Ken advised me to look at a film called LETTER TO JANE which uses photography of Jane Fonda to analyze the Vietnam war. I have also looked at a film called UNRAVELLING by Kuldip Powar. He makes excellent use of a conversation between himself and grandfather to describe the latter’s participation in war. This film has brilliant visuals. Absolutely stunning.

Over the past few days, I’ve been looking at some of the images that have drawn a personal response from me. I’ve held back quite a bit in terms of including myself in this documentary. Some of my apprehensions were because, I only feel a character should be included in a film if he’s important to the story. I’d previously been annoyed when some film-makers like Nick Broomfield would include themselves in their films, and not be essential to the story.

I also have not been essential to the story of 84, and I’ve also been reluctant to talk about people refusing to speak to me about the subject. This is because, I’d always get annoyed by those ‘Making of’ videos that people assume are documentaries. However, after talking and discussing it with my colleagues I’ve changed some of my opinions.

Although I’ve not been an integral part of the 84 story, I’ve been affected as a Sikh. Those images of the Golden Temple do always stir something in me, so I’ll write a personal view on some of the images. This should help create a link between the main interviewee’s arguments.

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Merging the real

September 16, 2010 2 comments

I recently saw a trailer for what poses as a documentary, and sells itself as a documentary but in actual fact looks like a feature film. When the BLAIR WITCH PROJECT came out, it mesmerized audiences. As it borrowed the elements of the real and brought them to feature film, which added to the fear. I think TROLL HUNTER is doing the exact same  thing.

Another film called I’M STILL HERE also poses as a documentary, however we’re left guessing.

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Endless list of problems

September 15, 2010 2 comments

This past Saturday evening, I was given the news of my uncle’s death. He was suffering from MS.

My production is more or less finished now, so it’s not going to affect me too much. But it’s just goes to show sometimes how external problems can affect your work. Even if you’re well prepared on a production, you can’t really prepare yourself for some things.

A friend of mine recently told me how he thinks my production reminds him of LOST IN LA MANCHA. It’s about a film production, where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

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My editing style

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I find the editing process quite similar to screenwriting. It’s very much about putting the right pieces together.

One of the methods I use is as follows:

*) The beginning is the most important. Billy Wilder used to say ‘Grab them by the throat, and don’t let them go’…. Audiences have minimal patience, especially when in the cinema or online. McKee states how cinema is a visual spectrum, and 80% of the eye concentrates on screen. It’s different in TV, hence you have a lot longer to let the story unfold.

Even blogs require some pictures and videos, as the reader would be unable to concentrate on huge chunks of text for a long amount of time.

When I’m editing I ensure that I loosely follow the above timeline, to create the most effective piece. This structure is taken from screenwriting, and my knowledge in that area allows me to edit effectively.

*) In our lesson with Ken, he said that someone should know what your movie is about in the opening 3 minutes. I don’t really have that time length of 3 minutes to work with, as it’s in relation to a feature length. I’ll have about 1 minute to let the audience know what my documentary story is about.

*) Although every story (film, documentary etc) has a beginning, middle and end. Each scene also has a beginning, middle and end.

You don’t need to necessarily have it in that order. A tip that I learned from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, is that you should start with the most dramatic. He always interweaves the story, for example starting with end, and going to beginning and finally showing you the middle.

*) Having an understanding of drama will always make you a good editor

*) When editing or writing a scene, if it’s too long, try and look to trim the end and the beginning. You’ll usually find that the base of what you want in your scene is usually in the middle

*) When editing a scene, ask yourself, can the scene be shorter? Is it essential to my documentary?

*) Paddy Chayefsky would always write down his central idea for his script, and sellotape it to his typewriter. This was to ensure he never strays away from his central idea. Your documentary and story can be about many things, but ultimately it should boil down to being about one thing!

*) Editing like writing, is a process where you’ll find your best work through re-editing many times. In my first documentary called FROM LONDON TO HELMDON, I had edited it four times.

I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite films, and just to comment it’s brilliant editing style.

Babel is a brilliant film, demonstrates world class film-making on all levels of production. However, I wanted to draw attention to the editing. Having a film with three storylines which are all set in different countries is a mammoth task to handle. But the superb editing always keeps you informed of each story, and giving the ample amount of time. The selection of angles, and cutting at the right time is always a reminder of how intricately you can compose a scene to get the right dramatic effect.

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September 8, 2010 3 comments

I wrapped up filming on Saturday, and since then, I’ve just been looking at the rushes, as they say. Just logging my footage to my computer.

Final Cut Pro in my opinion is the best editing software available. And I’ll be using this to edit my documentary.

Editing is one my favourite stages of production, as it involves interweaving the story together. There’s also a process of editing, and then re-editing to try and bring the best dramatic and cohesive story.

I’m going to enjoy the next few days, as it’s an interesting stage of production. Not only does it allow you to assess the work, it also gives you a slight indication of  your own craft as a film-maker.

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New footage…

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while now, but never had a chance. Something really strange has happened. Some new footage has recently been released, which has never been seen before of an interview with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale by Swami Vishnudevananda.

Swami Vishnudevananda was campaigning for the peace at the time. What’s strange about this footage is that it’s been uploaded by someone by the name of Gregg Hill. Having look through his videos it doesn’t seem like an alias name, so it’s definitely a westerner who put up the footage.

Some people think that this interview was conducted a day before Operation Bluestar, however I strongly disagree. You see that Bhindranwale is wearing a shawl, and it’s unlikely that he would be wearing this around in the June heat.

I have no idea where this footage has been for the past 26 years, but it poses the question that how much more unseen footage is out there?? There’s no copyright on these videos, and therefore I could use a clip as part of my documentary, if it were integral.

There is English in the video, so please feel free to watch it. In this video Bhindranwale talks about the crimes in Punjab that were left uninvestigated, and the injustice against the Sikhs in India. You will hear the term “Amrit – dhari” – which means baptized Sikh.


In this part Bhindranwale discusses the torture methods against innocent Sikhs. He also mentions how the Government can create a better relationship if they stop their discrimination against Sikhs, and recognize them as a separate identity. Example given of how if Christians and Muslims are harmed, or mistreated in India, then they can raise their concerns to the United Nations. However, Sikhs are unable to do this. Also an interesting fact he states is how Sikhs gave their lives for the freedom of India, and now the country has betrayed them.


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