Jill Damatac Futter – MA Documentary Film
Jill Damatac Futter graduated from MA Documentary Film at London College of Communication in 2017.
What did you study at LCC and what year did you graduate?
I studied on the MA Documentary Film programme at LCC, graduating in 2017.
Where are you from in the world?
I was born in the Philippines, but grew up from the age of 9 in the United States, moving to London from NYC in 2015.
What inspired you to want to study documentary?
I’ve always found truth to be a richer and more challenging way of telling a story. There are ethics to consider, which shape everything from what you shoot and edit to how you do those things. Documentary doesn’t exist in a vacuum and there is no such thing as perfection in it, which to me is quite beautiful.
How much experience did you have when you started the course?
I had little to no experience in the moving image, having been an editorial and lifestyle photographer for the previous five years when I began. My intention with taking this course was to begin a filmmaking practice by honing the right skills and understanding the theoretical frameworks.
What are the main things you learned on the course?
For me, learning and understanding how to approach and consider the ethics and theories of documentary filmmaking were the most important aspects to learn, but those things, I’ve found, are best learned through the self practice of doing, making, and critique. This course combined both of those aspects, showing you the tools, but giving you the freedom to decide if, when, and how much to use them.
What work and/or filmmaking are you doing at the moment?
I’ve begun a small documentary film production company with a good friend and fellow graduate from the course; we work on our individual pitches and come together to produce projects. I’ve just finished work as DP (Director of Photography) for a short remake of Listen to Britain for the BFI and BBC 3. That was a great project; it was directed and produced by alumni also from this MA course!
Are you still in touch with your classmates?
Yes, a handful of us keep in touch and share ideas. Sometimes someone will send a book they recommend, or someone will send a clip of what they’re working on currently. Apparently we're night owls, because this all happens at very odd hours!
Tell us about your future plans and ambitions.
I’ll ideally be making documentary films that, like my grad film for this course, focus on stories from the Philippine diaspora. I’ll also be starting a practiceled MPhil/PhD in the coming year at the RCA; its focus is on autoethnography and exploring the expansion of that documentary genre through VR/360 film.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I’d love to be a fly on the wall for a Werner Herzog and Andrei Tarkovsky collaboration, if we could have a world where both still exist at the same time! My involvement will only ruin the magic, so I’ll leave myself out of it.
What piece of advice would you give to new students?
Make yourself read and take note of everything, even what seems to be dry, or historical, or theoretical. You’ll be surprised at what material will suddenly make itself known and useful to you while in the midst of conceptualising, or shooting/editing!
Where in London do you go when you need a little inspiration?
I’ll go to the Tate Modern for a solitary stroll, hop on the Tate to Tate boat and continue wandering at the Tate Britain.