The Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) approached us with the question whether we could help them with the development of a series of interviews to reveal a different perspective on the current Islam debate.
Professor Maurits Berger, lawyer, Arabist and one of the leading figures in the Netherlands regarding the Islam in the West, and professor of Arabic language and culture Petra Sijpesteijn provided us their vision and ideas regarding the interviews and introduced us to different topics.
The whole concept behind the series revolved around the idea of creating short , ‘documentary like’ interviews that could easily been showed outside the university and were small films themselves. The interviews should also react to each other, almost like the interviewees are engaged in a dialogue.
Looking at the current rise of documentary in commercial work, series and popular TV formats, it is obvious that the documentary as a concept has been rediscovered by the mass. Although the word ‘rediscovered’ implies that documentary had disappeared for a while, we believe that this wasn’t the case.
In fact we believe that documentary reflects the current Zeitgeist where people are able to access much more information than ever before and are also aware of this opportunity. Hence the need for ‘summarized’ and ‘real’ information is strong and therefore provides new opportunities for documentary. Whether it is a sustainable bank in the Netherlands or a large internet provider, they all seem to integrate a documentary type of feel in their communication.
The strong will and need for stories and information that could be seen as amusement but at the same time instructive provided much useful information regarding the way we ‘consume’ visual storytelling. Although the interviews are eventually a combination of a ‘talking head’ and stock, the development of this concept and our research towards the form and style has been an interesting one.
The revival of the documentary is in some way not true since the documentary, as a concept, has never been vanished. This is certainly the case if we talked about documentary and cinema. But for the development of the interviews we emphasized on the use of documentary in marketing strategies and popular TV programs in the Netherlands such as Tegenlicht and Nederland van boven.