A six month documentary project I co-created with my colleague Thomas Wilthsire for our final year Short Form Documentary Making module and which was orchestrated alongside EYES. The project is comprised of a six minute documentary, a 40 second trailer and a 30,000 wiki chronicling and reflecting on the process of formulating the documentary. The documentary was produced with the assistance of the Bath Sword Club and we are hugely grateful to the club for allowing us to tell their story.

While the documentary and trailer formed one half of the module's mark, the wiki comprised the other. The overall project was awarded a 1st, with the wiki gaining the highest mark of the module! My marks and feedback for the module can be viewed here.

The documentary provides an examination of fencing as a sport and a hobby as it exists in the modern idiom. Combating assumptions about elitism and identifying challenges to both professionals and amateurs. Culminating in a thoroughly entertaining, charming and interesting experience that will leave the viewer with a respect and admiration for a sport that truly deserves it.

Within in its first week being public on YouTube, the documentary received over 1400 views!

With the film formulaic presentation of the documentary we endeavoured to be progressive and experimental. Something that we experimented with was the inherent theme of duality and we decided to exemplify this through our decision not to colour correct the footage from one of the locations we filmed in; thereby establishing two visually different aesthetics. 

In addition to increasing my theoretical and practical understandings of documentary making and filmmaking as a whole, it was a highly enjoyable experience to undertake!

Unforetunately, I am unable to link to the wiki as it is hosted on the University's internal system. I have posted some of the wiki contents onto this blog, see Fencing documentary.

"You reflect deeply and incisely both on the page and in spoken commentary [see reflective commentaries above]... As I read through the various pages of the wiki, then onto your [EYES of a Storyteller] blog I can't help but feel your careful consideration and reflection has developed formidable power. I wish that all my students had a fraction of your application and drive to dig deeper" (Mike Johnston, module tutor).

My final reflection on the whole experience of creating Fencing and how I came to appreciate the documentary medium as a result of doing it can be viewed here: Pete's Reflection on Short Form Documentary Making 2012-13

Tom and myself were editing the documentary while I was filming and conducting the intial editing for EYES.

"Documentaries present more than truth - through the indirect – a lie – they present a deeper and a more fundamental truth about human consciousness – we need lies to give truths their values. Lies are an essential component of humanity. As much as there is a paradox at the heart of every human being, there is a paradox at the heart of reality and in our knowledge of that reality. It is only through documentaries and other cinematic fiction and their cognitive abilities to closely mimic our own cognitive functions that we are able to glimpse and even to understand this underlying paradox, this underlying truth that can only ever be accessed via a lie: “Life is cognitive, not narrative. We need narration to understand it, but we live it cognitively” (Reygadas, 2013). Cinematic fiction takes the cognition of reality and contextualises it in a narrative – the narrative translates the hidden truth of actuality for us: “it is only in cinema that we get that crucial dimension which we are not able to confront in our real reality. If you are looking for what is in reality, more real than reality itself, look into the cinematic fiction” (Žižek, 2006)"  (from my final reflection).

I think the influence the Fencing project had on EYES should be apparent and, as was the case with Ways of Being, it was an influence that worked both ways. In fact, it was a threeway influential relationship, with each project - EYES, Ways of Being and Fencing - all rifting off each other as they were orchestrated alongside each other. When it comes down to it, fundamentally, I was looking at the same thing in each project.