A collection of in-depth interviews
This eBook compiles a carefully curated selection of our best interviews with some of the most talented documentary directors from around the world, each with different (and sometimes conflicting) approaches and opinions. It is essential reading for doc filmmakers and doc fanatics.
“7R is the rare site that still writes about movies with equal amounts of passion, detail, knowledge and love. Every piece is its own little treasure of revelations, reevaluations, and discoveries. 7R has made me rethink movies — or actors — more than once, and thus enriched my movie experiences more than any other outlet today.” – Per M. Mjølkeråen
What you’ll learn
How to approach each stage of filmmaking
We dive into the nuts and bolts of how filmmakers think about, e.g., where to put the camera, sound design, and sorting through footage. Each director addresses what aspects were most important for their film and why and how that affected their process.
How to drop viewers into a world
How do documentaries have the power to transport you to another world? How do directors make sure their audience can understand this foreign world?
How to make character studies
Why are the best docs still fundamentally about people? How do docs explore human nature? How should you approach your subjects?
How approaches differ amongst filmmakers
We do deep dives into individual filmmakers to see how their approaches to each stage of the process differ, and how different approaches can work.
- Joshua Oppenheimer on The Look of Silence
- Hubert Sauper on We Come as Friends
- Sophie Fiennes on Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
- Penny Lane on NUTS!
- Steve James on ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail
- Chris Hegedus & D.A. Pennebaker on Unlocking the Cage
- Alanis Obomsawin on Our People Will Be Healed
- Wiseman on National Gallery
- Wiseman on In Jackson Heights
- Wiseman on Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
- Rosi on Fire at Sea
- Rosi on editing Fire at Sea
- Two opposing sensibilities: Rosi and Wiseman
— Per M. Mjølkeråen (@Permonter) March 13, 2018
Seventh Row offers great reads for lovers of film, but if you are a filmmaker of any stripe, Seventh Row is your best friend. The interviews with filmmakers offer specific insights into the craft and philosophy of filmmaking from a wide range of critically acclaimed filmmakers. I’ve learned things about filmmaking from reading Seventh Row that I’ve never seen written down elsewhere. If you want to understand film more deeply or make better films yourself, do yourself a favour and read Seventh Row.” – Shaula Evans
Want to support great female film writers? Here you go. Want to support great film writers in general? You're still in the right place. https://t.co/se7uZOyqDU
— Nick Davis (@NicksFlickPicks) January 20, 2018
Seventh Row’s Documentary Masters eBook is a carefully curated treasure trove for anyone who wants to understand, soup to nuts, how documentaries come to life. Inside, Frederick Wiseman breaks down his editing process; Alanis Obomsawin re-imagines documentary as a means of listening; and Joshua Oppenheimer discusses the use of magical realism in processing “unresolved trauma.” Over and over, we are dropped into the minds of some of today’s most influential documentarians, and, on account of the 7R’s clear-headed foreward, we are equipped to put these perspectives in conversation and share in their wisdom.” – Gillie Collins
I'm a huge fan of your writing and site and I especially loved that piece on Wiseman/Rosi's editing styles
— Logan (@LoganKenny1) December 2, 2016
About the Authors
Alex is the Editor-in-Chief of Seventh Row. She is fascinated with how documentarians approach their subjects and are constantly innovating within creative nonfiction.
Elena is an Associate Editor at Seventh Row. She is fascinated by how cinematographers work and think and has been instrumental in starting our Behind The Lens series. Elena wrote the final chapter, in which she interviews cinematographer Joshua James Richards.
Brett is a Ph.D. student in Education, focusing on how films can create empathy. He is a regular contributor to Seventh Row and a fan of Alanis Obomsawin’s wide-ranging work.