Filmmaker Q&A with Director Jessica Hill

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

Sleep Sound- Jamie xx (Music Video)


What motivated you to make your impact video?

To tell a story that people haven’t heard before.


Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.

I shot this with a tripod and my Canon 600D.


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story.

I used a black and white filter on the footage of Danielle to reinforce the mundane lifestyle she lives. I incorporated colour in the footage of the dance scene at the end of the film to reinforce the idea that when Danielle feels the music, she believes she can hear it too. The insertion of colour in this moment aims to contrast the two parts of the film, showing that when she is dancing to music her life is more brighter and fuller.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

The story never changed throughout the pre production and post process. However the way I approached it changed several times. The decision to switch from black and white to colour was something that was decided throughout the filmmaking process. The inclusion of subtitles was decided in post-production too.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Probably the most rewarding experience whilst making this impact video was getting to know Danielle. She is such an awesome person. Being able to tell and share her story was quite personal so to share that intimacy with her was a privilege.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Stay true to yourself. Create work and tell stories that you are truly passionate about.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

My favourite part is actually editing the final product together. There is something so exciting and rewarding about having your project come together.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

I always take every single one of my lenses with me when going on set even if I’m not going to use them. I take them with me to be safe in case anything changes!


Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:

In my film I am representing a member of the Wellington deaf community. Not an official organization.


What have you learned about the value and impact of the project?

That film is such a powerful medium in giving people a voice. Seeing people resonate or be emotionally impacted with the story I have told, is the most rewarding experience ever.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this impact video.

When making this film, not only did I learn a lot about Danielle but about myself. How I work in collaboration with others, and how I take direction and control in a filmmaking environment.


What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

I want them to take away the meaning and message of this video, which is that some feel to hear. I want them to understand the lifestyle of a deaf individual and be impacted emotionally by Danielle’s story. I want them to remember this film, and let it influence their perception on the world.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

Message: Deaf people can hear too.

Stylistic Choices: To reinforce films intention: colour filters, subtitles.

Reflective Thinking: How does it affect the way we see deaf people?


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the video. How have things changed or not changed?

I believe the situation is still the same, deaf people still face the same issues as the ones presented in the film.


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Learn Sign Language! Do your part.


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video:



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