For project 3, we looked into the debate surrounding the implication of safe schools in Australia. In particular we looked into the opposition the initiative faces, and the effect the debate is having on lgbtqia youth/why the initiative is needed. We decided on the topic by briefly talking about current issues that interested us, and since we both have a personal stake in the safe schools debate it was something we could easily get passionate about and seemed like the right choice.
We had some difficulties in deciding how to best present the debate, particularly regarding how forceful we should be in attacking the Australia Christian lobby in our found footage documentary. How biased can you be before it becomes non-factual? But with the help of our class mates we were able experiment and find what worked. We were also able to experiment with form and tone through both of our documentaries, and although at first we struggled with the line between documentary film and narrative film when experimenting with poetics, it came together in the end.
In both our films, we experimented with the use of visual and aural metaphors. Instead of outright stating what points we wanted to make and drawing on the obvious, we attempted a more poetic approach by deciding in pre-production how our message can be artistically interpreted, and then sketched down how we can do that without “words”. For example, we wanted to express how teens felt they were being taken out of the debate of LGBTQIA issues and being more of an abstract idea than a person. After deliberation, we thought we could visually create that idea visually by literally having teens being removed from a scene as their own personal stories are spoken, leaving the audience to draw their own messages from their own empathy and prior context.
Making these films have shown us that poetic documentaries and political documentaries can be one in the same. Any documentary, no matter how abstract, can, and most likely will, have a significant message behind it. The two ideas can also be thrown about in various ways in the same documentary, with different variations and alterations of genre, and the visual and aural ways, the same ideas can be deconstructed and reconstructed in different ways.