Brianna Mann, a senior at Fryeburg Academy, recently made a short documentary about her aunt, who provides home care for the disabled. Mann, along with her mother, lives with and helps her aunt and so she is passionate about the subject matter and brings a more personal perspective to her film.
So, tell me a bit about what we just watched.
I made that documentary to kind of raise awareness about people who are disabled because people don't seem to care about them much anymore. Some people do. It depends on if you spend time with them. I live with them, so I know how they feel. Sometimes you can't. They can't verbalize how the feel. They can't tell you that they want something to eat or they're sick or don't feel good, so people thinking, “Oh, they just deserve to be killed” or people just think they shouldn't be around. I've had people tell me that people who are disable don't deserve to be in public and stuff like that. And I just think it is awful. I hope that it [the film] kind of works.
Have you shown it to many people?
My film class has seen it many times. I showed it to a couple of the individuals' parents and they loved it. They cried, so that must mean it was effective. It'll be shown at the student film festival at the end of the year. Kind of nervous of the outcome.
Do you have any favorite documentaries?
The one that inspired this [film] was, I don't remember what it was called, but it was about a home that cared for disabled people, but they were kind of abused, so I wanted to make sure that people know they are not abused in other homes.
Do you have interest in working in film?
Definitely. I have learned a lot from being in film class. I have three or four film classes here. I've gotten a lot better since I started off. I hope to make documentaries that kind of inspire people to give it a shot.
So, you prefer documentary filmmaking to narrative filmmaking?
Yes. It is also fun to make short movies. I don't really make long ones like real movies. But [I make] documentaries and music videos and just PDA announcement sort of things.
When did you first become interested in filmmaking?
The end of last year I took photo class, but Mr. Dana also gave me the opportunity to fool around with the computers and I got some fun little things that I made.
Do you have any favorite filmmakers or films you are really into? Not necessarily documentary, just in general.
I don't know, it is kind of funny, I really like horror movies, but I don't want to make them. I'm kind of inspired by them, but I don't want to do that.
What other projects are you working on?
Right now I am making a documentary about Sherman Farm just around the corner. My boyfriend works there and several friends, so I had the opportunity to interview them and take pictures around the farm. Hopefully it comes out well.
What kind of perspective are you going to have on it?
I have a friend that works inside working at the cash register and stacking vegetables and stuff like that, but my boyfriend works with the cows and barns and tractors outside, so I kind of get the inside scoop and the outside scoop.
Right, because a lot of people obviously see the people at the register, but don't necessarily see everything that goes into it.
Exactly, trying to get people to know both sides of the story.
What are you hoping to do after high school?
I want to go to college for human resources to help the disabled really in any way and I also want to go to school for film, but I'm kind of torn between the two. I'd rather go to school for film, but human resources seems like what I should do first.
Are there any movies you are looking forward to seeing?
Not really. I've seen most of the ones that I want to see. There's a documentary coming out about a school that took care of disabled people and that they used to do really do rancid things to them. I'm interested to see how they put it into a documentary.
Do you feel like you are developing any kind of voice as a filmmaker in your documentaries? Because obviously there's this idea that documentary is 100 percent fact, but it is not because everyone has their own perspective.
It is definitely all about perspective because if our film teacher Mr. Dana assigned the same assignment for everyone to have the same topic they'd all be so different. Everyone has their own opinion, so basically it is around opinions, so it depends. You can make a fake opinion and make the documentary on something true or not. It is kind of both ways.
I guess that's really it, unless you have any thoughts on filmmaking and what your hopes are.
My hopes are to get a lot better at it. People keep telling me I'm really good, but I hope to get better and be all that I can. It is definitely not as easy as it looks.