“The most important thing is that you build a relationship with trust. You can only do that by spending a significant amount of time without the camera running and trying your best to become part of the fabric of your story.”
Andi Reiss’ career encompasses a wide range of disciplines including independent documentary filmmaking, research and writing, multi-media and education (course-writing and freelance lecturing). He has been immersed in digital culture for the past fifteen years and also has considerable experience as a producer/director, video ethnographer, stills photographer, storyboard artist cartoonist, caricaturist and visualiser. His work, in all of the aforementioned areas can be viewed as you delve into this site.
His skills in production cover everything from research, writing and development to shooting and full post production (both internal and client facing). Having worked around the world, including in challenging environments he has been responsible for the planning and creative execution of multiple video projects from the pitching stage all the way through to delivery.
After a stint as a creative director overseas, he returned to his practical passions and got back to working independently, yet as a highly collaborative creative he’s always on the lookout for new projects.
“Andi Reiss is a filmmaker with a brave and brittle voice, appealing to something beyond the obvious.” James Christopher, ‘The Times’ (2010)
Writing, Researching and Development:
As a producer I have a love for the wider production process from development to delivery, and whilst seeking to make films which make a difference can be challenging, it can take you to places that you will never be able to forget.
Production: from short films, feature films and TV series to documentaries, corporates and music videos.
My self shooting skills include operating a variety of different camera setups and formats whilst continuing my role as director. Using my experience in the field, I ensure that first and foremost I capture a strong narrative. Once this has been achieved I’ll use a cinematic approach to capture beauty shots which include the use of sliders, mini-jibs and sliders.
Events: from gallery and commercial space installations to conferences, concerts, promotional and private events to multi-camera live news environments.
Video Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro CC, 10+ years experience (including colour grading and title animations) Workstation capable of handling 4K+ video.
As an educator, I teach with passion and from hands on experience. I’m currently an associate lecturer at Bucks New University and Film Oxford, but have taken classes and masterclasses over the years at the London Academy, SAE and government educational programmes. I’m looking for a creative research-led PhD programme focussing on our emotional engagement with documentary.
Inquisitive, intelligent, cerebral, determined, focused, deep, inquiring, confident, articulate, thought-provoking and so on are common character traits that can be referred to documentary filmmakers all over the world. Whether their work in documentary filmmaking is a probing, investigative piece on a political issue or an emotional touching story of a powerful personal journey or even a tribute piece toward a cultural movement or moment in history documentary filmmakers of all styles, tastes and approaches have and develop an ethos that carries them forward in their work. This ethos may be innate in the individual documentarian as he or she begins their filmmaking pursuits or it can be a developed characteristic over time that is necessitated in the wonderfully, precarious journey of documentary filmmaking. Whatever it may be, it’s an adventure, as it should be, and we strive to tell stories that impact and enquire.
Even if the choice to direct and produce documentary films becomes a person’s career goal often is the case that these filmmakers become a certain person in order to complete project after project. Here, the question still lies whether life imitates art or art imitates life. Do documentary filmmakers develop a kind of characteristic about themselves that help render them to storylines, facts, truths and realities guided by the camera? Or are they simply born with a destiny of such character traits needed for creating such films? Key character traits aligned with a growing number of documentary filmmakers are: the ability to communicate very well for direction on camera and attracting needed interviewees, a deep sense of focus that guides them in research, principal photography and digging for facts and perspectives on a given topic, an inquisitive and inquiring nature to understand more fully varying subject matter, the motivation to pursue thought-provoking points-of-views, and the confidence to pursue a story-driven narrative through the ventures needed for the pursuit. These character traits run parallel with the nature of building and constructing a documentary film project from conception to fruition.
It will be argued that documentary filmmakers tend to be liberal-minded, social entrepreneurs bent on ridding inequality, injustice, oppression, and misinformation found too often in the world. Although liberalism and the platform created to voice such principles and ideals of the Left may be a heavy influence for a lot of budding and accomplished independent filmmakers, however, upon closer inspection more and more individuals of all political persuasions have entered and mingled into the world of documentary film production. Freedom, information, knowledge, education, and facts are important elements in principle and values for documentary filmmakers and their team of creative cohorts but the means to express them and the ideology to progress them can be as much conservative as liberal. Moreover, documentary films have over time catered to political soundbites, ideologies, dogma, philosophies, and ideas from all parties, classes, platforms, and divides–to the effective use of adding to a discussion on a given topic and subject matter.
In defining the ethos and character of the documentary filmmaker it is important to note that personality is not the foci. For personality defines one’s identity in their given milieu and its what makes each individual unique and different in their interactions in the world. Ethos and character is the driving force in their personhood that makes for a documentary filmmaker–whether he or she is starting out on their journey or has experience in this genre of filmmaking for years. The character trait of a documentary filmmaker is shaped and molded by work ethic, creative visions for accomplishment–even hardship and tragedy. In other words, it takes a certain person to be a documentary filmmaker.
With the rapid movement that information is taking to span its reach for a global audiences via the internet and the kinds of ways technology is shifting how industries and the people of a given trade are working documentarians have evolved into certain persons. These personhoods of today’s documentary filmmaker are not entirely distinct from journalists, nonfiction writers, and independent filmmakers of other genres–for example. However, documentarians do take a little of the kind of ethos it takes for those others to complete the work that they are involved in. One could spend hours listing the comparable adjectives and distinct character traits that group in the world’s supply of documentary filmmakers.
However, once you come across us documentary filmmakers you’ll get the feel of what inspires us, motivates us, drives us, energises us, and continuously push us forward–the thing that defines us in general.
Again, thank you for visiting.”