Great narrative movies focus on characters, whose names often appear in the titles. So we have “The Godfather,” “E.T.,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Dirty Harry,” and “Alien.” Similarly, nonfiction movies are usually about people as we see in Philip Bromwell’s “The Refugee Baker,” two-minute mini-doc featuring Mohamed Ghnaimi, a Syrian who emigrated to Cork, Ireland. Mohamed has a lot to say, but having him present it entirely on camera— the talking-head approach— might have undermined the drama. Bromwell avoids that possibility by capturing small happenings within the bakery. These clips—known as B-roll—tell a parallel story: the making of the bread.
You can apply this technique when documenting the life of a knitter, a plumber, a musician, or any other active person. There is always a context for the activity—the stage—that offers visual delights, such as the dough riding the conveyor belts in Bromwell’s movie.
Bromwell shot this TV report using an iPhone 8 plus. He also is the editor and narrator. You can see more examples of Bromwell’s work on Vimeo. You’ll find an interview about his using a smartphone for broadcast news here.
“The Refugee Baker,” produced for RTE (Irish television), was chosen as a Mobile Movie of the Week by the editors of this magazine.