Airing this Sunday at 10:00 PM on Global Voices on PBS World (check local listings), END OF THE RAINBOW explores the human dimensions of industrial gold-mining in two remote locations: Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo and Guinea, West Africa. We recently spoke with filmmaker Mitzi Goldman about the challenges of making the documentary and her style of filming. Learn more about the film and get her take below:
Q. What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film? What were some of the lessons you learned in making END OF THE RAINBOW.
Mitzi Goldman: Making a documentary in Africa is always going to present challenges, especially if the country is undergoing some political strife. In our case, we were lucky to have the access and cooperation of the mining operation. They helped enormously with logistics and accommodation as well as power and transportation. This is due to the director’s excellent relationships with the mine.
The translations were quite challenging and time consuming. It was expensive to find translators in Australia who could speak the Malinke dialect and be able to transcribe the interviews. We didn’t really find them, and so we had to do the labor intensive typing as they were translated from the screen.
I learned that sometimes being in the right place at the right time can make your movie. It’s important to grab opportunities as they present themselves and make the most of the moment. Sometimes, one scene can make a film. For us, it was the pit bust scene. When we had that scene and the following events, we knew we had a great film.
Always go that extra mile.
Q. How does END OF THE RAINBOW fit in the Australian tradition of documentary?
MG: Rob Nugent, the director, is very influenced by and enamored with ethnographic documentary. Australia has a great tradition of documentary and some legendary figures in the tradition of ethnographic documentary, such as David and Judith MacDougal, Gary Kildea, Dennis O’Rourke—all of whom have had an influence on Rob’s work. I have always been a director as well as a producer and trained as an assistant editor with great documentary filmmakers such as Tom Zubrycki and Gil Scrine. We both love the tradition of political and social issue documentary filmmaking and have come from that legacy. We also have a strong interest in stories with international significance that tell of human struggles, dignity and the everyday occurrences that link universal stories. I think END OF THE RAINBOW sits firmly within this tradition. It has something of an essay style: it is not a polemic, it is more gentle and poetic while being accessible and revealing.