Treating Docuseries as Narrative Films with Cinematographer, Alan Jacobsen
Play • 27 min

Docuseries are gaining more popularity due to the initiative of some filmmakers to use the storytelling format. Alan Jacobsen is a cinematographer who works on narrative and documentary projects with an authentic, natural eye and sensitive curiosity. His camera work is masterful, intuitive and intimate, capturing the sensory story in each powerful frame. He studied film at New York University and minored in architecture and urban studies, which gives him a full spectrum of how to think of a frame in a scene. After school, he worked for several years as a technician in the electrical department until he found documentary cinematography as a place to develop his full potential. Alan gained recognition in 2018 for Strong Island, which was nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary and won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Merit in Documentary Film.

Here is what you’ll learn:

  • What made Alan Jacobsen want to break into the film industry.
  • A summer camp where he did TV production and fell in love with cameras and photography.
  • His pivot towards documentary cinematography after working for several years as a technician in electrical departments.
  • How his knowledge of architecture helps him appreciate forms, shapes, balances and symmetry.
  • Differences between lighting in documentaries and narrative films.
  • Marshall Curry’s technique of thinking of a documentary scene as if it were a narrative scene.
  • Alan's favorite movies; Nashville by Robert Altman, Medium Cool by Haskell Wexler, and Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio.
  • Why working with your idols is not the best idea.
  • Alan's preference for movies that trust audiences enough to give them a role in storytelling, where they not only receive, but contribute. 

To learn more about Alan, follow him on Instagram, or visit his website.

Interested in knowing more about the show?


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Facebook: @KinoSociety


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