After wrapping up the Bollywood Item Number last week, this week we get to begin our documentaries! My group has chosen to work with “The Welfare of Stray Dogs,” a non-profit organization who helps stray dogs. After a couple lectures at Whistling Woods about documentaries and the creation process, we meet with the organization the next day to learn more about them. From here we were able to get a better idea of where we wanted to go with the documentary and what sort of footage we should be gathering.
We learned a lot about what the organization did to help stray dogs and people. They are not an organization to simply get rid of stray dogs, but help make them healthy and to protect them, through vaccinations, sterilization, and medical care. The stray dogs in Bombay are not a nuisance or danger to people, but I fact often provide protection and love to all those around. There is a preconceived notion and stigma that all stray dogs are crazy, wild, rabid dogs that will attack you for no reason. This is clearly not true, in fact only one person died from rabies from a dog bite last year, which has gone down from 50 over the past years due to the WSD.
We have decided to go with a combination of expository and observational modes with a poetic style to bring it all together. We started shooting on Wednesday, beginning with the family of stray dogs that hang around the Whistling Woods campus. We didn’t shoot for long as we had another lecture in the morning and an equipment tutorial after lunch. After meeting as a group, we had a more solid idea of what we wanted to do with it, and some specific shots we wanted to get, especially for the beginning and ending.
Thursday was probably the one of the longest days since we have been here, but was without a doubt a great success. It began at 5:30 AM so we could capture the sunrise and church bells followed by the barking of the nearby stray dogs. We want to begin our documentary with shots of the city waking up, and going full circle by ending it with the sunset and the city going to sleep. After doing so we explored the surrounding area for some good footage before meeting with Mark in Versova. Here we returned to Tribal Route to interview the storeowner about the 4 stray dogs he takes care, and were able to meet one. On the way out we came across a couple of other stray dogs who turned out to be part of a sort of sanctuary for stray dogs who are taken care of until they are adopted. We got quite a lot of great footage so we decided to go back to the hotel to shower up before Professor Goenka’s book release for Not Just Bollywood – Indian Directors Speak ( ß which you should obviously buy!).
Today was another busy day but not quite as long. We began with yoga, and then half the group went outside the Film City gates to shoot some dogs while Veronica and I began sifting through the footage from the previous days. To our surprise, we actually had quite a bit more great footage than we thought! From here we returned to Versova where we went into the Versova Village, a fishing community on the river, and got a lot more awesome footage of dogs, the people, and community. We left the village and walked around some to see what we could find before returning to the hotel. Tomorrow we have another early morning to meet with some people from the organization in Bandra, and go along with them on their weekly vaccination rounds. We are sure to get some great stories and footage! As for now, we are about to go through more of the footage to see what more we need before resting up for more shooting! Guten Nacht!