Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 8 Episode 2, 'Into the Dalek,' Lets Peter Capaldi Show Off Some Darkness Review: 'Doctor Who' Season 8 Episode 2, 'Into the Dalek,' Lets Peter Capaldi Show Off Some Darkness Telluride Review: Ethan Hawke Discovers a Brilliant Mind in 'Seymour: An Introduction' Telluride Review: Ethan Hawke Discovers a Brilliant Mind in 'Seymour: An Introduction' Indiewire's Real-Time Oscar Odds: First Reactions To All the Festival Premieres Indiewire's Real-Time Oscar Odds: First Reactions To All the Festival Premieres Amazon Pilots Ranked Best to Worst (Season 3): Whit Stillman & Steven Soderbergh Compete for Your Votes Amazon Pilots Ranked Best to Worst (Season 3): Whit Stillman & Steven Soderbergh Compete for Your Votes Telluride Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Carries Uneven WWII Drama 'The Imitation Game' Telluride Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Carries Uneven WWII Drama 'The Imitation Game' Telluride Review: Nick Broomfield's Powerful 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' Puts a Serial Killer in Unique Light Telluride Review: Nick Broomfield's Powerful 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' Puts a Serial Killer in Unique Light Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be 'Power of Love,' 'Song the Zombie Sang,' 'Florence' or 'Kitty's 9 Lives'? Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be 'Power of Love,' 'Song the Zombie Sang,' 'Florence' or 'Kitty's 9 Lives'? Review: ‘The Two Faces of January,’ Starring Oscar Isaac and Viggo Mortensen, Is Not Your Typical Patricia Highsmith Adaptation Review: ‘The Two Faces of January,’ Starring Oscar Isaac and Viggo Mortensen, Is Not Your Typical Patricia Highsmith Adaptation Venice Review: Al Pacino Excels in Barry Levinson's Otherwise Troubled 'The Humbling' Venice Review: Al Pacino Excels in Barry Levinson's Otherwise Troubled 'The Humbling' Venice Review: South Korea Gets a Firm Critique (As Does the World) in Kim Ki-Duk's 'One on One' Venice Review: South Korea Gets a Firm Critique (As Does the World) in Kim Ki-Duk's 'One on One' Telluride Review: Reese Witherspoon Finds Nature, Catharsis in the Sentimental 'Wild' Telluride Review: Reese Witherspoon Finds Nature, Catharsis in the Sentimental 'Wild' 7 Reasons ‘Party Down’ Is Your Next Must-See Series (That You’ve Hopefully Already Seen) 7 Reasons ‘Party Down’ Is Your Next Must-See Series (That You’ve Hopefully Already Seen) Review: 'Intruders' on BBC America Finds Suspense in Interwoven Stories, But Loses It in Action Review: 'Intruders' on BBC America Finds Suspense in Interwoven Stories, But Loses It in Action Watch: Mira Sorvino on Speaking 5 Languages, Comedy and Her Role in BBC America's Drama Series 'Intruders' Watch: Mira Sorvino on Speaking 5 Languages, Comedy and Her Role in BBC America's Drama Series 'Intruders' Watch: Terry Gilliam and Ralph Steadman Get Animated In Exclusive Clips from Johnny Depp-Starring 'For No Good Reason' Watch: Terry Gilliam and Ralph Steadman Get Animated In Exclusive Clips from Johnny Depp-Starring 'For No Good Reason'

INTERVIEW: Doc-Making "On the Ropes" with Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen: Part I, Butting Heads,

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire August 18, 1999 at 2:00AM

INTERVIEW: Doc-Making "On the Ropes" with Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen: Part I, Butting Heads, Blow-Ups, and Big Deals
0

INTERVIEW: Doc-Making "On the Ropes" with Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen: Part I, Butting Heads, Blow-Ups, and Big Deals

by Anthony Kaufman




"On the Ropes," a Special Jury Award winner at Sundance '99 is Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen's documentary about three struggling young boxers and their dedicated trainer. It's case and point for the challenges and choices in making and releasing non-fiction work in today's market. Burstein and Morgen met while graduate students at NYU's film department and decided to embark on a documentary project that would feel as dramatic and plot-driven as any narrative feature. Shot mostly on a Beta SP camera borrowed from NYU, the filmmakers followed their subjects for around 2 years, gaining access to their most intimate moments in and outside the ring. The result is emotional, heartfelt and a big hit with the critics, who have given the movie the necessary quotes it needs to pull in those doc-weary audiences, from Details ("The indie knockout of the year") to GQ ("absorbing, crisp, fascinating") to Mr. Ebert himself ("Heartbreaking").


In this two-part interview coinciding with the film's release from WinStar Films, Burstein, an experienced editor, and Morgen, director of the prize-winning Oliver North documentary, "Ollie's Army," outline some of the issues that face today's documentary filmmakers. In this first part, they discuss the difficulty of collaborating -- with each other and their acclaimed editor Nancy Baker ("Streetwise," "Harlan County USA"), the differences between DV, Hi-8 and BetaCam, the video-to-film transfer and lastly, their dealings with Hollywood to make a fiction version of "On the Ropes."


indieWIRE: You were able to bring in a high level of talent for your project. How did they get involved?


Nanette Burstein: As for Nancy Baker, we just called her and said, do you want to do this? We sent her a sample tape and an assembly of selects -- which was the arc of each character's story separated. She really fell in love with it, so she agreed to do it. And Jennifer Fox, who was our executive producer, I had actually worked for her on "American Love Story" and edited one of the shows. In fact, I started shooting the film while I was editing for her. I'd go in and edit for her at night and shoot during the day.


Brett Morgen: Nancy was really a coup, because "Streetwise" and "Harlan County" are two of our favorite films, and we thought she was part of the old school of doc editing, sort of the Grande Dame. Her credits are just phenomenal. So we're young, not neophytes (this is my third film), but we wanted to bring someone to the table and we were both floored that Nancy wanted to work with us on it. But it was tough

This article is related to: Interviews