Cinema is said to make what is absent become present
Those who attended In[Focus]2013 can tell you that Jet Kaiser is a masterful orator. His showmanship on stage will slowly, calculatingly bring you to tears and laughter in the span of seconds. From the moment he stepped on stage, he began weaving a narrative about story-telling that was as much film-making therapy as it was educational–he reminded attendees that filmmakers are people who tell the stories of other humans, and that every artistic choice we make during a documentary-style shoot is to intentionally tell the stories of other lives.
Beyond getting beautiful and artistic shots, films should grab the heart in a way that will stand the test of time as the stories are watched for generations to come. Cinema is said to make what is absent become present–“it is also about a temporal illusion in that the film’s narrative unfolds in the present ” (Hayward, 2000). Documenting the life events of a person in a meaningful way allows that person and viewers to relive the moments with more than just iconic imagery, but with the story of how it unfolded. The fact that Jet was able to drive this point home by contrasting audience reactions to slider shots of dog poo with a deeply over-emotional short film that was ultimately a commercial selling rice shows just how well Jet knows the science of emotion and how it applies to story-telling. As Jet said, a slider can make anything look epic, but what does it mean? The rice commercial didn’t use anything especially “tricky” in terms of camera movement, and yet it had everyone in tears because of its attention to story-telling.
Jet has been making films in the event-documentary industry since 2006, and as a fan of Jimmy Stewart and classic films, he has an eye for details that reveal emotion rather than music-video style punchy editing. His website reminds wedding clients of his filming philosophy: “Everyone deserves to pass on something great to their future family. Our goal is to allow you to relive all your special wedding moments with a keepsake that will live on forever. Our films are driven by story, true stories. Sometimes pieces of this story are hidden within the secret glances or holding hands under the table[….]What’s a movie without story? We desire for your film to reflect who you are instead of trying to fit your story into some type of template.”
Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.