Episode 138

Published on:

4th Sep 2020

Cinematography in Documentary Film

In the past, documentary cinematography has been in the shadow of narrative feature's, overlooked because of certain, perhaps unfair assumptions about the craft.

Well, that is no longer the case since the American Society of Cinematographers, as of this year, has an award for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Filmmaking.

And cinematographers, Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma, of the Academy Award nominated, Honeyland, were the recipients of that inaugural award. (Not to mention a host of other cinematography awards!)

And so we have today's episode which is entirely dedicated to the craft of documentary cinematography!

Topics Discussed

  • host Chris G. Parkhurst talks about what makes a good documentary cinematographer and where we can find them
  • what it's like working as a two person cinematography team
  • how the shooting style changed dramatically midway into filming due to an unforeseen shift in story
  • working without power in rural Macedonia
  • achieving the perpetual golden hour look of Honeyland


Additional Resources



As mentioned in the show, there is much more to my conversation with cinematographers, Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma. Too much to put into a single show!

To listen to the second part of that conversation head over HERE for your free download!


Trailer for Honeyland



Finding the star of Honeyland



Honeyland at DOCNYC



Sponsors & Thank Yous

Music Vine 15 PERCENT OFF!

Music Vine

Thank you to music licensing platform, Music Vine for contributing the wonderful music that we’ve used in this week’s episode.

We’ve used many music licensing platforms over the years for commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries and these guys are definitely different.

Their music catalogue is truly fresh, diverse, full of character, their search engine is as straight forward and user friendly and their licensing fees? Unlike anywhere else we have come across.

If you need any music for your doc project, we can honestly recommend Music Vine.

And make sure to use our promo code to get an additional 15 percent off of any subscription!!

PROMO CODE: doclife15


Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word



Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!

So where can you do this?




The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker Doug Block depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, Home Page. In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"

We had Doug on the show way back in EPISODE #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.

The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries. 

Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?

Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free APPLICATION.


° Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to Free Music Archive today!



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About the Podcast

The Documentary Life
Documentary filmmaker & host, Chris G. Parkhurst, inspires & informs you on how to best live and lead your own doc life.
Have a passion for making documentary films? Want to learn how to best lead a documentary life? Join award-winning commercial and documentary filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst, and special industry guests as they candidly share their filmmaking stories, insights, and experiences, for all to learn how to best lead and live their own documentary dream lives.

About your host

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Christopher Parkhurst