Centering Process & Care in Documentary – A reflective blog from Drew Swedberg

Filmmaker Drew Swedberg reflects on the past year developing his film “In Love, In Memory.”

As the end of the year arrives, I find myself returning to a difficult question that existed at the threshold of this project: how do you represent a story that carries so much trauma? It is a question that I cannot pretend to have finite answers to. One that is complex, delicate, and always moving. As I reflect on this second semester of support from the LVEHC Collaborations with Artists Grant and this full year of immersive work on the documentary, I find myself most grateful for the space we are given with this grant to care deeply, center, and be intentional about process. While the answer for this ever-question remains – at least until the film is complete – unanswerable, the attention to process feels like a critical movement towards a possible answer for us.

Collaboration is at the center of the work for this documentary. In caring for process with the same intention as product, the journey of making continues to trust / build / strengthen community in ways that are critical to the product. The care for collaboration and the support for the artists surrounding this project, both new and experienced, allows this team to learn from each other in ways that don’t always feel possible in documentary filmmaking. This semester the grant allowed us to continue to develop important narrative arcs, be present for difficult events, and continue to represent all of these intimate moments with care that is informed by a collective of individuals who know Allentown, know filmmaking, and most importantly, know each other. As we look forward to all that is possible in the new year, we know that the product that is to come will be in direct relationship to the process that has been.

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