We’re proud to say that our film Melbourne: A Guide to Living will be screening as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. As we get close to the date of the festival we answered some questions for Documentary Drive about our film and what inspired us.
Why the spoof route over a more traditional format?
Sam: Chloe and I really hit it off through our shared love of comedy. I hadn’t met anyone else with such a pure love of comedy; the need to workshop every little joke in daily life until the punch line is just right, even over the simplest pun. The Melbourne film is actually a sequel to a guide to London we made a few years ago and it was essentially a format which allowed us to string together a number of different sketches, comedy bits and erroneous facts about the city. We actually both have a real interest in serious documentary film making, but I guess the instinct to make something funny is there in both of us and it would probably always derail any attempt we made to be serious.
Chloe: Yeah, I guess it’s just simply that our main interest lies in making comedy films, and the mockumentary style is just one way of doing that. I’d love to make a serious documentary some time, but I think that even then it would be focused on a niche topic or something which had some inherent humour to it.
When people think documentaries, they don’t usually think “Yes, comedy gold!” How do you see the two genres fitting together and why do you think it works so well in your films?
Sam: I don’t think it’s a surprise that there’s been a huge surge of fly-on-the-wall style mockumentary comedy since “The Office.” But I think our style of comedic documentary developed out of a different tradition led by people likeArmando Iannucci andChris Morris with shows like “Brass Eye,” “The Day Today” and “Time Spiral.” Whereas in “The Office” the joke lies between where David Brent sees himself and where the audience sees him, with shows like “Brass Eye” the joke lies between the ridiculous assertions being made and the absolute authority with which they’re told. The joke is almost on the audience, you’re either in on the joke, or the joke is on you.
You want to see who will get it and who won’t even question it. It’s also a way of highlighting irony and hypocrisy or sending up authority and pomposity in real life, and so grows out of that satirical tradition as well.
I think it works well because as others have said before, you’re looking for the ‘right’ audience. You don’t want everyone to get it, so that those who do can enjoy it even more. There’s a satisfaction in that light bulb moment when you realize it’s a joke. You’d be surprised by how many people still take the films as absolute fact and don’t even question what they’re being told, even the most blatant ridiculous lies.