Ten Tips for a Great Documentary

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When documentary filmmaker Hanna Polak arrived in Russia in 1999, she was immediately inspired to help the children.

For 14 years, Polak filmed Yula, a young girl living inside the largest junkyard in Europe, 13 miles from Putin’s Moscow. In Polak’s latest documentary, “Something Better to Come,” Yula shares one dream: to escape and lead a normal life.

“It was an illegal country inside the country,” Polak reflected on her time there. “People live in a lawless situation, where they could get raped, murdered, and beaten.”

“Something Better to Come” was screened Friday evening, October 8, as part of the Global Investigative Journalism Conference’s Film Festival. Polak, an Oscar and Emmy nominated filmmaker, also ran a popular masterclass in documentary making at the conference.

In these clips, Polak offers tips about the process of developing a story. She also talks about situations she faced, such as dealing with people who officially don`t exist. She also discusses the dilemma between helping people or staying neutral and continuing to film, and how a long-term project can affect one’s personal life.


Marius Stenberg is a journalism student at the University College of Volda who is on special assignment covering #gijc15.  

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