Who Stole Reality?

What I mean is: I think broadcasters have a responsibility to explain things to us all, to use this great technology so that we can get all of us, together, to understand the big issues or at least talk about them. Maybe that type of thinking is old fashioned now.

Television today is about audience, about ratings – the bigger the better. My side of the deal is to make films that make the important…interesting and their side of the deal is to promote those films and do their best to make sure they’re watched by large audiences. Well, I wish it worked more easily.

When I started using a video camera, the most obvious thing for me to do was to use it to tell stories about people. I was working for UNICEF in Sierra Leone and we had all those big issues to make films about like infant mortality, malnutrition, child protection, education for the girl child, but each time I was looking for the ordinary person in the middle of that issue, a real person who would not just explain their circumstances and how they related to the issue but would be themselves in front of the camera and because they were being themselves and being honest, they would then make a connection with the viewers.

So the issues were personalised - it becomes clear through the stories of these ordinary people that this was something that affected real and decent people like you and me.

The issues that I now deal with have become a bit more global like migration, famine and wars; but I haven’t really changed in the way I make my films, real people in extraordinary situations make my films work. In fact that is what I call real reality television.

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