Rodrigo Dorfman, an independent filmmaker and UNC alumnus, will present his film “Generation Exile” at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival today in Durham. The filmmaker describes his style as ‘fictionary,’ mixing fictional story-telling with elements usually found in documentaries. We sat down with Dorfman to discuss his experience as a filmmaker.
DTH: What were some of your early experiences with films?
Dorfman: My father used to take me to see films that I shouldn’t have seen as a little kid; they were really adult films. They were art movies from Europe that really shaped me as a little person. The first time I felt the power of the moving image was when I was working in Chile, under the dictatorship, with an underground news gathering agency that was filming the uncensored reality and lives of the Chilean people under the dictatorship.
DTH: When did you get serious about filmmaking?
See the FilmTime: 4:40 p.m. today
Location: Durham Convention Center, 201 Foster St.
Dorfman: My first film was called “My House is on Fire.” I did that in 1997 with my father, and it was a short. It was about under connected children and what happens to under connected children in North Carolina. It was very poetic, very beautiful and it went around the world. After that, I slowly started working my way up, and I guess I truly started becoming serious when I bought my first real digital camera that was good enough to withhold scrutiny. You become a professional when you have professional tools. I’ve been a screen writer for 12 years, and as a filmmaker I have made already four features in the past three years.
DTH: Was UNC pivotal in shaping you as a filmmaker?
Dorfman: I got my master’s in journalism at UNC in multimedia, and that’s where I learned my craft. This is really and truly where my career took off after I finished that amazing program that allowed me to go to Morocco with a scholarship and film. A lot of my footage that I took on my trip made it into “Generation Exile.”
DTH: How does it feel to have your movie premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival?
Dorfman: It’s great to finally be able to go to the next stage, which is to show it in public and actually see it have an effect, that’s the whole point. On one level you make films for yourself but then you’ve done that, and you later show it to people so others can bathe in those images and the feeling. Hopefully the next stage after that is distribution and then after that you move on.
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