Trust: the fifth element of the documentary

Trust is the most important thing in a relationship between a filmmaker and a person in the film (showcased in Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival). They do not like to use the word “subject” of the movie, so they try to avoid it.

Accepting the thing that the movie will expose your situation and it will be about you, means accepting to open the door of home, life and privacy. To be honest, it is easier and maybe possible only with the crucial thing – trust.

That’s how Juliana and Sheyna explained their relationship. It was built through the years and it brought the filmmaker in the life of persons who are in the movie. She was with them for a while, during hard and delicate situations. That made connections between them stronger

For the person in the movie, it was not easy to let someone in, especially while you are in such a situation, trying to solve a delicate problem in your family – with your child. But “opening the door” was an important step.

“We built trust and that is very important”, both of them were repeating while talking about the film making the process.

Trust was seen in the fact that they respected boundaries in privacy and feelings of the person the movie is about.

“When Sheyna says – no more, that’s that. At the end of the day, it is Sheyna’s call”.

“That was teamwork. We have done that together. And when it comes to editing, she had to believe me”, Juliana shared her impressions.

But how it all started?

Juliana heard Sheyna on the radio. It was an emergency. Sheyna was desperately asking for help.

“I somehow found her number and asked her – can I just follow you for some time?”, the filmmaker Juliana Schatz explained the very beginning.

“If it is something that will help my child and take her back home – yes”, Sheyna accepted.

“I am in crisis. There was a fire in every single room. And I said – ok, let’s do it together. We can help next family who might come to this process”, Sheyna shared her feelings.

They have made together the documentary film “Waiting for Tearah” which was screened at Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in Washington D.C.

Sheyna is the mother of a disabled child. Tearah is one of Sheyna’s three children. When problems with her behaviour started, Sheyna had to start looking for some help.

“It affects families, not just kids.” Sheyna shared her experience.

She was fighting for her daughter in every single way. The power of that struggle was still in the air while they were talking about it in the full but silent room.

Tearah, her daughter, was far away from the home for the six months because the health care system in her state, Connecticut didn’t provide them with an adequate solution. With the lack of systematic solution and plan for such things, the mother was the one who was trying to find the best way for her child navigating through a process which included a lot of people and places.

Juliana was there with them as well when Tearah was coming back home come after 180 days.

The doubts were present but also was the goal. “This is private, I can’t show you this. But it’s important, so I have to.”

Talking about the reasons for starting such a journey, Sheyna had her motivation very clear.

“I wanted to bring awareness. I wanted to take my daughter home.”

The applause after this movie and the story was endless and thunderous.

To learn more about Journalists for transparency, visit j4t.org

By Ana Curic, Young Journalist.

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