DOCUMENTARY: Victor Kossakovsky (10 mins)

“I saw it”.           – Victor Kossakovsky

In this 10 minute video, Victor, a Russian born film-maker, describes how he realised he was a film-maker.

In this lovely short video from Scottish Documentary Institute masterclass, right from the start, he is disarmingly simple about his inspiration, saying he doesn’t have imagination or sense of humour to make fiction films, so he makes documentaries.

The Moment of Inspiration

His working process is simple: he listens and he looks, then something piques his attention and if he can ‘see’ the whole movie, then he begins making it.

One film idea came from being on a journey of several months, across land and sea, to record at the North Pole, as part of a film crew – and listening to the story of the ship’s cook….. (listen to video to hear it).  And here is the official trailer for the resulting film.

Victor Kossakovsky
official trailer for film

Realising you’re a documentary film-maker

How do realise you are a film maker?  Also in this short video, he explains how he went to visit a famous philosopher who was in his nineties, predicting his own death.  Victor did not have video, he only had managed to buy one minute of film stock – and was waiting to find what he should record for that one minute.  He saw it – he filmed it – and no one else in the room noticed it.  Others around wondered what he was filming – and then he realised that he had the eye for the visual: he was a documentarian.

Video vs Film

Victor comments on the process of being videoed as he talks, and how that is different from film – television can do talking heads, film has to be visual.  He quickly demonstrates how little most people use their eyes.

Other Questions

Along the way, Victor asks important questions about life and death, and breath.

Full Interview (30 mins)

There is a podcast available on the Scottish Documentary Institute podcast site: 30 minutes of the interview: here.

The video segment is divided into 5 sections, again on the Scottish Documentary Institute website here, recorded as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival, 2013.  (Part one of the video will show, but in the top corner of the video picture is this symbol:

Screen shot 2020-03-27 at 12.07.02

and if you click on it, it will open a box displaying all 5 short videos, so you can watch them all.

Creative Takeaway (practical exercise/homework)

As usual on this blog, there are suggestions for creatives on how to make your own work, jumping off from the subject of the blog.

Be on the lookout through today for what you would record if you had just one minute of film stock.

What image or action catches your eye today?  And what if you set yourself a project to record just that one minute, daily, for a set time, even simply on your mobile phone?


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