In order to qualify for film festivals in the “Short Documentary” category, LEiT needs to be under 40 minutes, or at about where that red star lies on the Final Cut Pro screen capture (above). As you can see, we go past this very important point.
Currently, LEiT is 44 minutes. Four minutes might not seem like a lot to sacrifice, but for a short film, it’s quite a large chunk. In those minutes, we are covering a lot of information, while trying to maintain thoughtful and consistent pacing. Trimming clips or cutting scenes, in order to save time, just feels so ... wrong!
Still, we are trying to regard this “festival requirement” not as a burden, but as a challenge to make our film better. Without compromising the style or the information, we will have to find four minutes to part with.
One of the biggest mistakes made in trying to meet this challenge, though, is cutting too much of the “human” out – those poignant pauses after Soraida explains the threats on her life, the shots of Dr. Preecha playing with the cuff of his pants, Lek Chailert’s knowing stare when she is asked “How do elephants learn to paint?” – they eat up seconds, but those are the moments that make documentaries authentic, and cannot be scrapped for time economy’s sake.
Wish us luck!