This edited extract from a longer piece by filmmakers Teresa Cairns and Denis Doran reflects both on the content of In Passing and the process of making it. For the full version please contact the authors via their website http://www.climbingthewall.net
In In Passing young people Dan, Charlie, Izak, and Kelly discuss the Foyer, their temporary home, and acknowledge a complex web of relations embedded in their understanding of place, at once known and familiar, but also imagined. Home is seen through the prism of a fractured and partial narrative. The sense of Self, evident in their stories, reflects and refracts the ruptures in the world of their immediate family and the wider social network, located both geographically and temporally.
We sought to find ways that enabled Dan, Charlie, Izak and Kelly to articulate concerns about perceptions of youth, helping to shape the raw material into the form of the final edit. Izak’s monologue recorded as an interview, is confessional, reflects uncertainty as he articulates his changing sense of identity; Dan’s questioning is challenging, confrontational in his use of stereotypes, directed straight to the viewer; Kelly’s quiet reflection and silence is eloquent; Dan and Charlie, as young parents, challenge opinions as they emerge into adulthood. Jodie and Benn’s technical inputs mirrored conversations about shared concerns and desires.
Fundamental to this process is the involvement of the people being filmed. We listen, allowing experiences to unfold, often not in any ordered sense. We know the value of being guided by the people we work with, as we attempt to tease out the narrative strands of a life. These scattered threads are collected and shaped in the process of editing, a process where those we work with are equally important: they need to have some control too. People may say more than they mean to; we are aware of over-disclosure, of sensitive issues, raw memories re-surfacing in the conversations.
So, the video is simply rewound at the end of filming and we look, and listen to what’s been said, reflect and sometimes reshoot a half articulated thought. We make an agreement, the same with everyone we work with, to take all edited material back, and talk it through before we move on. Anything too sensitive will be removed. We are mindful that we are working with young people going through transformation in their lives; they may want to leave behind elements of their story, re-work others as they rework their own senses of self and belonging.
Ours is an iterative process that relies on instinct and experience, as well as empathy with participants and an acceptance of the complexity, the fluid nature of their lives. Our working method is intended to enable participants to value and articulate their own life experiences, through the film narratives we produce: they are co-authors although we also recognise that this relationship is uneven.
Teresa Cairns/ Denis Doran