Tuesday, December 7, 2010
This past Sunday, I had a small screening for the subjects of my documentary, "Bollywood Steps," the story of transplanted Bollywood choreographer Yogen and the young American-born Indian boys who were some of his first students.
One of the challenges and responsibilities of creating a film like this is developing the trust of the people involved, and then (at least in the way I try to do things) creating a documentary that's respectful of that trust. This private screening was the first time since I began the project in late 2007 that the families have had a chance to see the finished program. Naturally, I was a bit anxious about the evening. I knew they wouldn't find the film objectionable - it's a film with a solid, positive message.
However, even though it's a small film - i.e. it likely won't be seen by millions - it's still, to some extent, preserving and creating a legacy of certain people at a certain time in their lives - through my own interpretation. Perhaps that seems a bit "deep" for a documentary project like this, but I've spent three years living, working and thinking about the people in my documentary. It's not a relationship, of course. Perhaps it's more of a heightened awareness that best defines my connection with my "Bollywood Steps" subjects - added responsibility borne out of familiarity.
Sometimes, filmmaking is a strange process.