Samsara is released today and it’s a beautiful journey across our planet… we got to chat with Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, director and producer of Samsara exclusively about the movie and what it takes to get from concept to reality…
FTN: Samsara is more of a journey than a movie. How did you go about scheduling the journey and the events? Did you have an idea in your head of what you wanted to capture or was it just the filming of things as they happened?
FR & MM: Samsara is a sanskrit word that means birth death and rebirth. And so based on the themes of Samsara that is what founded our research and defined the locations we considered filming in. We are always looking for material that fits within the themes which are also highly visual in nature. We had a very strong idea of what we wanted to film, we always have a very strong list of what we can physically access before we get there. And then structuring the film is really done intuitively in the editing process based on the reality of the imagery we take.
FTN: Some of the events – the battery hens and the crammed trains for instance – set up a nice juxtaposition, how deliberate were these things or did it all really come together in the editing stage?
FR & MM: We try to edit the film in a way that creates an inner dialogue with the viewer which allows the viewer to make connections that are meaningful.
FTN: The 70mm looks glorious and the blu-ray print really made me want to get on an flight to see the world as soon as it ended, was the objective of the movie to make people realise just how much there is to seen beyond their doorsteps and to inspire them to travel? Or was it more to share things with the audience that many of us will never have a chance to see first-hand?
FR & MM: None of the above. What we were trying to do is have an experience where people feel a connection to life around the world and their own humanity.
FTN: How much footage had you before the final editing process started?
FR & MM: We had about 18 ½ hours worth of footage before editing.
FTN: Would you ever take on a project like this again or, after Bakara and this, do you feel you have shown as much as you can to the viewers?
FR & MM: There is a whole lot of material and the world has an endless amount of subject matter for non-verbal filmmaking. Having said that it is also a lot to undertake and personally I’ll need a bit of a break!
FTN: Ron and Mark, you have worked together now on several projects. How symbiotic is the relationship and do you both share a vision when you are in the early stages? Or do you need to thrash it out before arriving at the finished show?
FR & MM: I would say we have a very clear idea of how the film should be, but we can’t achieve that vision until we have the imagery. We always work to a goal of what works but it’s really in the edit when the film comes together.
FTN: One final question: what is next for you both?
FR & MM: I don’t know at this point, I think I need some space as I’ve been working on Samsara for many years and the long distribution process.
I’ll most likely take on a different project after this and then Ron and I are interested in doing another non-verbal film together in the future.
FTN: On behalf of all our readers, I’d just like to say I really enjoyed Samsara and can’t wait to see more or your work. Thank you both for your time…
To pick up your copy of Samsara click here Amazon
Read our review here
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