Is there anything you can accomplish in a documentary that you can’t do in a narrative feature film?
To me, it’s really satisfying to respond to real life and how real people live. Some people say that they don’t care if it’s real or not, as long as they’re entertained, but it matters to me if it’s real. Obviously there are editing conventions that make—you might put one scene later than it actually happened—but it’s really important to me that there’s an emotional truth to the story I’m telling.
What’s the last best documentary you’ve seen?
I was on the jury at the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. We gave the award to ‘American Promise’ which I really loved. It’s thirteen years in the life of two kids, about family and race in America, and it’s very honest. They had no idea when they started where it would go.
Could you see yourself making something of a similar scope?
I’m trying to get back into the mode of filming Jasper [her son] because he’s really such a compelling presence. Of course, everyone feels that about their child. But what you can’t predict, which is something that comes across in ‘First Comes Love,’ is that something that can seem so insignificant at the time can take on such resonance over time. I can see myself making another film just about him, because he’s so interesting. Of course I can’t be the only one that’s interested, which is true in general of a personal film – you have to be sure that you’re not the only one who cares.