‘Meet the Experts’ Documentary Feature roundtable: ‘Fire of Love,’ ‘Retrograde,’ ‘The Territory’
The filmmakers behind three of the documentaries shortlisted for this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Feature sat down with Gold Derby recently and discussed several subjects including their reactions to making the shortlist, the documentaries that influenced them and how they determine what subject they’ll devote the time and effort to chronicle. This was all part of Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel on Film Documentaries that included Sara Dosa (“Fire of Love”), Matthew Heineman (“Retrograde”) and Alex Pritz (“The Territory”).
You can watch the film documentary group panel above with the people behind these three projects. Click on each person’s name above to be taken to each exclusive video interview.
On the subject of being shortlisted at the Oscars, Dosa had a bit more to celebrate than the other panelists. That’s because the morning that the interview was recorded, she found out that not only had “Fire of Love” gotten on the BAFTA longlist, but she also made that organization’s longlist for Best Director. “I was thrilled and so profoundly honored. I just feel really grateful to be on this ride and that more people are gonna meet Katia and Maurice’s work with the film getting more attention.”
Heineman added, “It’s been an incredible year for docs. It’s such an amazing array of filmmaking styles and it just shows what a beautiful, malleable form documentaries are and I think you just look at the range of films that were shortlisted and it’s really incredibly impressive.” Pritz said that in addition to being “flat-out psyched” about making the shortlist, it feels like the culmination of an amazing journey. “It’s been a year of festivals and great exposure for the film. I think I was just so floored to get into Sundance. This is the first feature film I’ve directed.”
In reflecting on their early influences, Heineman says that he had never planned to be a part of the filmmaking community. He did share a story of an unforgettable moment he had in New Orleans three months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. “I walked into the Ninth Ward with a man who saw his house for the first time after the hurricane. I just remember sort of having this sort of almost out-of-body experience and literally at the time, I was like, I wanna do this for the rest of my life.”
Dosa talked about how she originally thought she was going to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a cultural anthropologist. After seeing a film series at college, she became very excited about documentaries with one that stood out in particular. “One of them is Patricio Guzmán’s, ‘Nostalgia for the Light,’ which I thought was just such a transcendent and poetic meditation on Chilean history.” Pritz remembers hearing about Danfung Dennis, since they both grew up in the same area, and his movie, “Hell and Back Again.” “It was one of the first films that I was like, this feels like a fiction film but it’s also so layered and carrying parallel storylines at the same time. The editing was so creative and that made a really lasting impression on me.”