“The duty of a documentary filmmaker is to be objective and creative at the same time”
Industry Report: Documentary
Dominiks Jarmakovičs • Producer, Studio Locomotive
The Emerging Producer 2022 from Latvia discusses his approach to documentary filmmaking, a career he’s just begun, after having focused on fiction film
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Dominiks Jarmakovičs: My path in documentary has only just begun. I would even say that I will only now embark on this journey, since most of my carrier so far has been focused on production of fiction. It was not a conscious determination to avoid documentaries, but in some way I have always feared the responsibility that documentary filmmaking carries. In fiction you are able to create your own world and rules, in documentaries, mostly, you are obliged to discover and obey to the rules created. I see it as a duty of a documentary filmmaker to be objective and creative at the same time. This was frightened me before, but now perhaps evokes my curiosity.
I believe that if done right, documentary films can leave a strong impact on our society, bringing any kind of change – creative, mental, social or political.
The pandemic had an impact on the entire sector. How did it influence your work as a producer? Have the projects that you work on changed?
I believe there is no-one who could say that pandemic has not influenced his professional work, but I see how we are adapting and recovering step by step. A lot of things became harder to access, harder to reach. The trend and duty to distance created a comfortable excuse to avoid helping each other, which is very important in the field of filmmaking.
I have managed to still have my focus on the topics I care about in terms of choosing the direction for my new projects, however the process of creating these stories has become different.
What do you think is the future of the distribution of documentary films?
I was very excited after few first weeks of pandemic that media consumption especially of films had skyrocketed during the first lockdowns. It left both a positive and negative mark on our industry. In a way it proved that there is a big demand for good content, e.g. in many markets documentaries were considered an exclusive type of art it become very popular amongst mainstream audiences.
What is still worrying is the slow process of recovering of big screen film experience, which is still a very vital aspect of this art genre not only in terms of revenue for financing of the films, but also in terms of experience for the spectator. I still believe that we are yet to experience a new renaissance of big screen cinema.
What projects do you have underway?
Feature fiction Lotus (dir. Signe Birkova) in production
Feature animation Rule of The Heart (dir. Roze Stiebra) in production
Feature fiction Five And A Half Love Stories In An Apartment In Vilnius (dir. Tomas Vengris), in production
Feature fiction Eric Stoneheart (dir. Ilmar Raag), in post-production
Feature fiction The Sleeping Beast (dir. Jaak Kilmi), in post-production
Documentary series El Lobo Leton (dir. Kārlis Lesiņš)
Documentary feature Silent Explosion (dir. Kārlis Lesiņš)
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2023 edition is 31 March 2022.
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