I wonder which part of the documentary process can be most considered “crunch time.” Is it triple-checking our equipment list to make sure we have not forgotten something important? Or is it when the sun begins to set and we must finish up an interview while the light still shines? Or will it be in the editing room trying to meet self-imposed deadlines for a rough cut? If it’s any of these, or all of the above, I’m beginning to feel more ready.
A book I’ve been consulting is Directing the Documentary by Michael Rabinger. He writes:
“The shortest film can always reveal the complexity of human life and imply where the truth may lie. Longer and weightier works often have to lead us through a maze of contradictory evidence and let us come to our own determinations—just as the makers came to theirs. This, interestingly enough, is how courts put evidence before a jury of ordinary people—still the ultimate test of truth in a democracy.”
This film is inextricably tied to courts—Ajeet works within and around the Indian legal system to grab at least a piece of justice for the victims of forced prostitution. This justice, perhaps, is one of few “tangible” goals they can attain. Rebecca Richman Cohen, an inspiring/inspired film maker who generously shared advice with me, is a both a lawyer and a director. She sparked my interest in the connection between law and film. After all, film is a powerful, fast, far-reaching form of free speech.
The roots of this project, for me, are simple: I was incredibly lucky to work with and learn from Ajeet. I was given a unique opportunity, and the words I wrote about him simply don’t do him justice the way I believe a film can. Therefore, may it please the court, council and ladies and gentlemen of the jury-- allow us to present the facts of a fascinating character.