After completing a year and a half of filming on Misima Island, I returned home and recuperated by eating, resting, and spending time with my family. I had lost almost 20 pounds of body weight while living in the village, and I was exhausted from working every day in such a physically demanding environment. That said, my respite lasted for about six weeks.
Today, I'm back at it and have been methodically reviewing the footage. I don't have the exact figures yet, but I estimate there are more than 180 hours of footage to be reviewed. In industry-speak, this is called "watching or screening dailies." What's important here is that I not only review every frame of footage but make detailed notes of the impressions the footage gives me upon first reviewing it. For example:
How does this shot strike me?
How does it make me feel?
Are there moments that capture subtext, emotion, and character in the subjects?
Do any visuals, in particular, breath life into the story world or help us understand the geography?
It's vital to begin a new relationship with the footage.
Screening dailies is really about listening to the footage and making notes that will become very helpful in the long editing process.
Additionally, this is my first opportunity to divorce myself from the experience of working and filming on location. It's vital to begin a new relationship with the footage and let go of the baggage and emotions that accumulated during production. One has to see the footage for what it truly is and not what you thought it would be or hoped it would be while in the field.
As the filmmaker, it's to the film's advantage to let go of the personal experiences and memories of what happened during the filming, and begin to see the footage with a fresh eye—for what it actually is—and from the perspective of an uninitiated viewer.
If you'd like to support our work, the best thing you can do is to share this video to help spread awareness. If you're able to donate, the International Documentary Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has fiscally sponsored our project. So all donations are tax-deductible.
Ateu owa, which means "My heart to you" in the spoken language of Panamisima.
Bryan Pitcher, Director & Producer