My understanding of being a documentarian

There is a common language that we all speak: stories. And I believe stories can change the world. But I don’t see myself as a storyteller, more as a host. I want to document the good that is out there and create a space for these stories to be heard, so that they can shape society.

Hi, I’m Felix. I discovered my fascination for non-fiction cinema through a documentary film project in 2013. In the following years I auto-didactically learned more filmmaking skills. Since 2015 I have also been working as a freelancer on several productions. From 2016 to 2024 I studied directing at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg with a focus on documentary film.

My work is defined by creating an intimate stage for strong and hopeful protagonists, giving the audience the opportunity to experience them through a deep, personal closeness. In other words: Let’s listen to what they have to say, as if they were our neighbours.

What needs to change is the journalist’s role within a story. I believe our role is facilitator instead of interpreter, catalyst instead of judge. […] The only way we can report the “truth” is by allowing people to share their stories, by asking our audiences to meet people where they are, and to absorb information, ideas, and voices that take them out of their comfort zones. […] Journalists need to talk less, listen more, and realize that reporting does not mean digesting for your audience. […] Give audiences a chance to do it themselves. Our future depends on it.

Erika Dilday

Empathy requires an understanding of the other. I try to make documentaries that have substance, that connect people, that really make you feel connected to the world of the protagonists – regardless of their origin, colour, social or cultural status, etc. For me, that process is empathy – and it starts with listening.

Research is the careful study of a given subject, area or problem. It is very important for me to fully understand my protagonists and their world in order to be able to listen and work with them in an empathetic way.

Anthropology is the science of humanity, but what I mean by that is more philosophical. Who are we and what is our life about? What kind of world do we want to live in?

“Then said I, wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor mans’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”

ECCLESIASTES 9:16

So, I prefer the cinéma vérité style for my documentary work. Simply perceiving the beauty of life and letting life just live, letting the camera roll to show it directly to audiences. This is also where my audiophile approach comes from, because life is full of sound and our ears are the doors to our souls. Sound is the carrier of emotions. The story can much more perceived in an authentic way, if the sound and the ambience of a certain moment of life gets at minimum the same value as the image.