Constructing a Feature Documentary

A Reflective Blog by FilmMaker Drew Swedberg

Following what has been an incredibly rigorous, collaborative, and rewarding semester that blended the final leg of production on “In Love, In Memory,” and the early stages of post-production, we have arrived at a polished rough cut of a feature documentary. The expansive collaborations made possible by the support from LVEHC have brought us to a film that spans two years of documentation, navigating space and time, love and loss, in the city of Allentown.
Editing this film has been a process of revision and revelation. Our edit team – Shalon, Haley, and I – edited remotely through a series of week-long individual edit sessions, exported edit reviews, phone conversations, and meetings. We consulted with our team as questions came up and met weekly with our team to share progress, make creative decisions, and plan for the work ahead of us each week. We created smaller teams to approach different strategies, including editing, marketing, and archival teams. In doing so, we moved from a 15 minute visual sample to a rough cut that resembles a feature documentary.

As we look ahead to the final semester of post-production, we enter a space of intense revision, difficult collective decisions, and exciting new collaborations. We will look to heighten the impact of our structure, pacing, and rhythm. We will be making decisions about shots, images, and scenes included before picture lock. We will be looking to new collaborations with creative and technical artists to achieve the final vision for the film.

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