Thursday, September 24, 2015

On the Way to School

On the way to school is a feature length documentary that chronicles the journey to school for children from four very different countries. I decided to watch this film as a suggestion from a friend who knew I was interested in documentaries. Before I knew it I found myself completely absorbed into the story of these various children. The film was shot and edited in the style of cinema verite, where the camera floats around as if it wasn't even there.
In my opinion this is the truest form of documentary filmmaking. Interviews make people conscious of the fact that they are being filmed and in many cases takes away from the "reality" of the situation. Cinema verite truly captures life at its essence, with no planned lines or designed lighting. Everything happens as is and it is up to the filmmaker to operate on his own two feet to decide what to do. Editing becomes the driving force in telling the story. On the way to school weaves the narratives between the children together and although they are thousands of miles apart, it seems as though they are traveling as one collective.
This is one of the most important films I believe I have watched in a long time. Education is something that many of us in the United States and other first world countries take for granted. The idea of even struggling to get to school is rarely a thought in any of our minds. We grew up with the big yellow school bus picking us up on street corners or some, even more privileged, were taken right from their own driveways. To see the literal struggle that many go through everyday, just to get an education is inspiring and humbling.
This is what I hope to one day do with film. As we wrapped our first weekend of shooting down in Virginia my partner Eric and I are more driven more than ever to help others with film. I don't know where life will take me but all I can hope to do is inspire and hopefully improve the lives of others with film. On the Way to School is currently streaming on Netflix I encourage everyone to watch and try and put themselves in the shoes of these children, if only for the hour the film runs.

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