I must write back to Nizam. He’s been asking what I am trying to get at with this film, cautious that his family may be exposed in some dangerous way. It is a question everyone I film asks at some point, but I find it very difficult to answer. The truth is I’ve got no idea; it is my endless curiosity and determination that motivates my films, I never know what will happen, nor do I want to, for me this is real film making with a true sense of adventure.
I seek a mutually understood relationship/friendship based on trust. The people in my films have to want to give, otherwise it just doesn’t work. And sometimes, for many reasons, some people can’t do it. In Japan I must have met over 10 potential characters for my film; sometimes filming for months on end only to realise, eventually, that for one reason or another, it just wasn’t right.
Now, as Nizam faces a crossroads in his life I feel I am becoming more of a problem than a release for him, and with the added pressures from a difficult marriage I wonder how we can progress.
I was so disappointed after my recent ‘filming’ trip to Bergen, I felt like the standard BBC guy trying to get his story rather than the friend I’d become over the year or so of filming with him. But Nizam was never confident at being the character and only really agreed because he wanted to learn from me about this supposed crazy life making films.
Now he worries about exposing himself and feels invaded by my camera. Having been filmed myself and not enjoyed it one little bit, I know the feeling, I feel his pain. Nizam wants to know when it will all end, and I want to know when it will start. So I must write him a reply and hopefully answer that difficult question, why am I making this film and what am I trying to get at?
If only I knew.