Tony, Elvis Mitchell, Director discussed on Pure Nonfiction: Inside Documentary Film


And tony trusted me early on i think in the picture show it you know we were a very collaborative portrait work that we did together so she had given you the inspiration to do this series at you embarked on with elvis mitchell the blacklist. Can you talk about how it went from the seed of an idea that she planted to what became attorney wanted to do. Black divas and i'm not an opera lover particularly enough that i would wanna. They do a whole project on opera but it started me thinking about just sort of african american talent in general that there was more than just oprah and barack obama they were all these other people that we could maybe interview and my idea then which now everyone does but was to do this sort of direct to camera <hes> talk where the where the subject is looking right at camera and it's just a very powerful way to do it. In those days earl morris was doing it. A couple of other filmmakers used it but it was rare and it was also my portraiture come to life so if you look at my portraits they're always director cameras single light source and it kinda gray backdrop so i wanted to turn that into film and one of the tricks. It's not a trick. One of the ideas here was that tony talks to camera. Only everyone else hilton ails right here. Second-row talks off camera <hes> they talk about tony and and i thought that could work. I've never seen it in documentary but the the main subject is looking at us and we have a kind of connection that way and then the others are talking thing about her and <hes>. How did you convince johnny morrison if it took convincing to do this film devoted to her you know i think when when the first blacklist film came out we all sat around thinking everyone in this film deserves a feature film this you know there's so much there's so many interesting stories and talents but tony was always the first in my mind tony was the first is set for the blacklist so oh it also a couple of years ago i realized tony was eighty four eighty five eighty eight now that if i'm gonna do it this time and i reached out to her and we talked about it and she you know she didn't say no and that's always a good sign in with tony and that really gave me the courage to cut it fine the funding and go back to her and say i have the money to do it in this was it's gonna be on television or the american masters was the idea back then it became because of sundance film that will now be in theaters. We're very excited with magnolia <hes> but i think tony you trusted me to do it. So what was the the process of interviewing her like. Sandra guzman who is credited in the film did the interviews didn't feel that i i am enough of tony scholar to do the interviews sandra drives a car that says soula on the license plate so at in love's tony deeply and really <hes> <hes> was very very eager to do this film and supportive and <hes> you know you who director you kind of create a space where everyone feels comfortable <hes> we. We did that the interviews the tony at her home so we set up apple studio. They're essentially a backdrop and did them there where she was more comfortable..

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