Telling stories. Two simple words that mean a whole lot to emerging documentary filmmaker Nisean Lorde.
Lorde, who juggles her time between a full time job in marketing with a career in the arts, says what initially drew her to the medium in the first place was because she wanted to tell the stories of people she admired and respected.
“I’ve always loved documentaries and features,” Lorde says. “I love how in-depth certain pieces area … how they bring you into a certain subject.”
Instead of creating a straightforward news story that you see on any newscast, the Yonge and St. Clair resident wanted to delve deeper into issues, and create documentary films about a particular subject or person.
In a few short years, Lorde has succeeded.
While studying journalism at Ryerson University, Lorde interned at ABC Studios in New York City in 2004.
She worked on several investigative shows including 20/20 and Primetime during her two months in the Big Apple, and had the opportunity to further her love of such filmmaking.
Back in Toronto after her internship ended, Lorde went to work creating her own short documentaries.
Her first was a radio piece on American boxer Rubin Carter, who was wrongfully convicted for multiple homicides in the late 1960s.
The documentary was so successful that even six years later after Lorde created it, it is still being broadcast on radio stations across North America.
Overall she’s made seven short length films in less than 10 years. Along with the Carter radio documentary, Lorde has made five short profile-like features on such influential people as legendary rock vocalist and guitarist Bo Diddley.
In Lorde’s mind a good documentary film isn’t just entertaining but it is informative. Too may times documentaries focus more on the educational factor while losing the entertainment one, she says.
She sees her favourite documentary — When We Were Kings as an example of how to get that balance right.
Directed by Leon Gast the 1996 film tells the story of the 1974 heavyweight championship fight in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog Muhammad Ali.
It won the 1997 Oscar for best documentary film.
“It brought you into the story of Foreman and Ali,” Lorde says.
Her latest documentary focuses on Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Achampong who she says is the youngest and the only black candidate running for mayor in the 2010 municipal election.
“I read about Rocco in a newspaper … his story is a strong story in itself,” Lorde says.
Lorde met Achampong in February, and made the documentary in March.
She followed Achampong around the city as he campaigned for his chance to become Toronto’s next mayor.
The 19-minute long film was edited in Lorde’s home studio.
“I enjoy meeting my subject, says Lorde. “But I really enjoy putting it together.
“In my mind, filmmaking begins when you’re putting it together. You can have the best subject but if you don’t know how to put your clips, sounds … together, the best subject means nothing.”
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