I was trained in the Polish school of film and that method of slow, aching observation. In the west you often here that the contemplative documentary is a dead form with nothing left to say. That's partly economics speaking because of the need for long-term financing in a world where everybody is interested in a quick turnaround.
Britain, of course, pioneered so much in media, innovations in TV and broadcasting. It is really their medium, coming up with things like Python and the like. I went there to see how they think. In Ukraine, the 'talking head' taped interview is considered bad form and here the documentary form and TV are different things. So, I wanted to understand their tradition of smart television documentary journalism. Then I settled on the (National Film and Television School: NFTS
) in Beaconsfield, outside London. It's a top British film school, among the best cinema schools there are and that's reflected in the cost when you want to attend school in a major British metropolis. I was advised a short course called Directing the Documentary
which was about the type of BBC-style documentary that interested me.
It was a five-day course for 10 people between 25 and 35 years old – eight women and two men. One person from Wales, me from Ukraine, an Australian and the rest British. Our teacher held classes daily from 10 am to 5 pm because the class is made up of people already working jobs and can't attend full-time, so they go for the minimal residency course.