With The Mauritanian now out (read our review HERE) Oscar winning British director Kevin Macdonald has spoken about why the story is now a film rather than a Mauritanian documentary. At a recent industry Q&A he revealed that it was a combination of storytelling and fundraising challenges that forced him to consider directing the story as a film rather than a Mauritanian documentary.
“There was a point at which we couldn’t raise the money and were finding it very hard to get the script right because it’s very complex story, covering 14 years of someone’s life,” MacDonald told us. ‘We played around with different entry points, trying to figure out the best approach, but we got quite dispirited about it and I did think, ‘Oh, maybe I should make it as a documentary’.
He has an extensive career in documentary making with ‘Whitney’ being one of his most recent. For The Mauritanian he had already interviewed lawyer Nancy Hollander played in the film by Jodie Foster and was about to interview both Mohamedou Ould Slahi as well as Stuart Crouch played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film.
The reason to make the story as film wasn’t just due to finances. ‘We want to reach a mass audience, and change people’s minds. That’s why it’s so important to have big stars in it and to make it feel like it’s a thrilling story and entertaining. I want audiences to sit down, be entertained and take away a feeling of compassion and empathy for Mohamedou and what he’s been through as well as a moral fury about what was done and the sense that this shouldn’t happen again.
It’s a wholly valid reason thought interestingly the recent documentary ‘The Dissident’ about a state ordered assassination of a famous journalist was shot as a documentary but in the style of a thriller and is equally as powerful (read our review of The Dissident HERE).
Which format do you think works best for true life stories?
Here’s our interview with Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald about the film…..