Roman Bondarchuk: “Accidents is what we chase.”
The Odessa Film Festival hosted a master class of Ukrainian documentary filmmaker and member of the jury of the European Documentary Competition of the 8th OIFF Roman Bondarchuk. He shared the secrets of working on documentary projects, as well as the experience of promoting them.

“Documentary films are scary for both sides. On the one hand, there is fear of the heroes in front of the camera. But at the same time, the person behind the camera is afraid that they are violating the personal space of the person they are filming, that they will try to avoid them and hide, but as soon as you forget about it, if you do not think about it, then people begin to behave naturally, and this fear goes away.”

“We always interview everyone we are going to film, we sit in front of the camera, as they do it on television, and record for hours. And this is normal, because people are waiting for us to do exactly that: if they arrive with the camera, they will interview you. And when we learn a lot about this person, we know exactly how and what to film about them. And sometimes after the interview we understand that we cannot film anything at all.”

“We’ve had several films that we did not finish. It seems to me that everyone should have this kind of negative experience. There is a moment when you realize that you started shooting a story about a person, but it is making no progress at all. You imagined something that wasn’t there, you do not see that reality developing, and you are forced to constantly push for it. When you feel that you're doing everything for everyone, you have to stop.”

“Accidents is what we chase. It is the life that gives the energy to the film. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes – not. The main thing is to keep the camera turned on.”

“At the moment when it is clear that there will be a film and a dramatic element is there, it is necessary to pitch it and put light on it as much as possible – it prepares the industry for its appearance. This eases the way to festivals. There are many films, and fewer festivals. So, if nobody heard about you, nobody will watch your movie.”

“The more partners you have, the more people will promote it. Because your first instinct is to hide the film, so nobody steals your idea. But in the modern world, it works the other way around.”