Mini Documentary

This film tells the story of a survivor of childhood sexual assault who found healing through muay thai, an intense combat sport.

The documentary was produced as part of the “One Day Doc” contest organized by The Art of Documentary and was a finalist at the AOD Film Festival in Toronto.

Festival Rules:
– Produce and shoot a documentary in a single day. Video editing can take several days.
– The documentary should not exceed 8 minutes.

Featuring: Lea
Thanks to Jacques & Simon from Thaï Long Gym in Montreal
Directed, filmed, and edited by Nicolas Varillon

How to Make a Mini Documentary?

The key to creating and producing a mini-documentary, especially in a single day, lies in pre-production.

Here are the crucial steps in making a mini-documentary:

  • Conduct a pre-interview with your subject to ensure alignment on the final outcome and artistic direction.
  • Work on the pre-production phase.
  • Scout locations for future filming.
  • Maintain regular communication with your subject during production to align on their perspective.
  • Show the editing progress and the direction of the documentary.

Producing a Mini-Documentary in 1 Day

To pull off such a project in a day, thorough pre-production work is essential. Knowing what to film, where, and when is crucial for efficiency if you want to move fast.

I use Milanote for this purpose. It gives me an overview of the project at a glance and organizes everything visually.

In one day, I planned to interview Lea, film her muay Thai class, and capture scenes depicting tranquility. I aimed to film everything within a 2km radius to optimize travel time.

While I had a general idea of what I wanted to achieve, I hadn’t fully constructed the story yet. The interview phase was crucial in shaping that.

The location scouting phase was also an essential element in the making of the mini-documentary, with an indispensable tool to track the sun’s position throughout the day: the Photopills app.

I knew I needed to film at Thaï Long Gym early in the morning to capture the gym illuminated by sunlight. These are the shots where Lea trains alone.

Shot List or Filming Plan

One of the tools that helped me a great deal in the making of the documentary was undoubtedly the frameset website.

It provided a list of shots to film that could integrate into the documentary, along with ideas on how to craft the story’s ambiance and look.

I aimed for a somewhat dark ambiance that gradually brightens toward the end.

Many shots from the frameset made it into the documentary along with improvisations based on available light.

Positive Social Impact Documentary

The goal of this documentary is to inspire other women who have experienced sexual violence, offering hope in their healing process by relating to Lea’s story.

Positive social impact documentaries aim to shift mindsets and raise awareness by telling sometimes challenging yet essential stories. Some stories can only be told in pictures.

Thanks to Léa for trusting us with the creation of “RESILIENCE.”

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