The Senna of at­ten­tion

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - From P6

‘‘ It was quite free­ing. I found it a re­ally amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he says.

‘‘ From very early on I was just amazed by look­ing at the footage on YouTube and see­ing how much there was that was al­ready on cam­era.

‘‘ It was a gut in­stinct from very early on that we could do the whole film like this.

‘‘ You have to go with it and what­ever ex­ists weirdly be­comes cin­e­matic. Some­how it looks like a movie.’’

Kapadia ( in­set above) says his big­gest bat­tle was in avoid­ing stu­dio pres­sure to in­clude scenes of talk­ing heads, which are a stan­dard fea­ture of doc­u­men­tary mak­ing.

‘‘ I would come up with creative ways to not do in­ter­views; I thought if I shot them I would have to use them,’’ he says.

Pandey cal­cu­lated they viewed 15,000 hours of ma­te­rial and started with about 6000 hours of footage to edit down, with each race shown in mul­ti­ple cam­era an­gles and hours of post and pre-race in­ter­views to choose from.

‘‘ This is how we were able to con­struct the film in an al­most clas­sic, dra­matic way,’’ Kapadia says.

‘‘ Where you have a shot of Senna we could have a close up, we could have a wide shot, we could have a re­verse shot of who he’s talk­ing to, or if I want to I could cut to a helicopter shot.’’

They also had many re­searchers around the world who could sup­ply footage of a par­tic­u­lar race or on a par­tic­u­lar topic.

‘‘ They would all come back with footage and in­vari­ably it would not be what we had ex­pected it to be, it would be some­thing else,’’ Kapadia says.

The film­mak­ers were also given ac­cess to pri­vate footage as they had the sup­port of Senna’s fam­ily. Kapadia says that sup­port did not ex­tend to in­ter­fer­ence.

‘‘ We were in Lon­don, they all live in Sao Paulo. We were not ex­actly bump­ing into each other in the high street,’’ he says.

Some might see mak­ing an ‘‘ ap­proved’’ doc­u­men­tary as be­ing re­stric­tive. Kapadia says his re­stric­tions came in other ways.

Be­fore he hired an editor, he put to­gether seven hours of footage from YouTube as a start­ing point for the film.

‘‘ I was cut­ting the funeral [ scene] and there was a mo­ment when I had to choose which shot of Senna’s mum do I use,’’ he says.

‘‘ That’s when you re­alise these are real peo­ple, this is some­body’s son.

‘‘ As a drama di­rec­tor, I had never been in that sit­u­a­tion be­fore, when it re­ally did make me think, ‘ Wow, this is quite dif­fi­cult’.

‘‘ That’s when you go, ‘ Ac­tu­ally, two peo­ple have died for real in this movie and why shouldn’t we be sen­si­tive to the fam­ily’?’’

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