Masterclass with Documentary Filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa

Current Documentary Cinema student, Anusha Datta, offers a sneak peek into their interactive session with Loznitsa and his art

28 April 2022

Following acclaimed documentary filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa’s recent visit to the Tisch Film & Television School at TAU this month, current MFA Documentary Cinema student, Anusha Datta, offers a sneak peek into their interactive session with Loznitsa and his art. The masterclass was conducted over four days where the prolific filmmaker screened his films and broke down sequences, elaborating on the process of ideation to screen. His film ‘Babi Yar. Context’ was one of the works we had the privilege to view a screening at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv.


One of the first lessons that you learn in the field of documentary cinema is the notion of debunking “Objectivity”. This concept is evident in the exactness and intricacy that are visible in Loznitsa’s films, as a result of his fundamental training as a scientist and mathematician. Each session spent with Loznitsa was an enriching experience; he offered a gospel of truths about the field, stating that “cinema is a language of patience and precision”.


Sergei Loznitsa at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv


Sergei Loznitsa’s critical opinions as a Ukrainian filmmaker have received significant media coverage. The authenticity of his works reflects his true nature and identity as a “cosmopolitan” member of society. While his 2014 documentary ‘Maidan’ celebrated Ukrainian Independence in the face of corruption, the 2021 film ‘Babi Yar. Context’ reflected on the historical narrative of the events that led to the war and the veiled incident of the massacre of 33,771 Jews by the Nazi over a two-day period in Kiev, Ukraine. His films are not merely visual depictions of history, but he articulates a rather thought-provoking narrative of human society, group dynamics and people’s attitudes in the face of war; making us contemplate WW II even further.


The Masterclass also included sessions where he viewed assignments filmed by the students and spent considerable time highlighting nuances on improving our craft as storytellers. As aspiring directors and editors of the documentary craft, it was nothing short of a privilege to spend an intimate yet brief acquaintance with one of the most celebrated directors of our time.


Anusha Datta, Sergei Loznitsa and Maria Choustova 


I’d also like to acknowledge the visit made by Film Producer, Maria Choustova, who is also Loznitsa’s partner. Her presence and insights at our sessions were beneficial in many ways. Having successfully created multiple projects together, one can appreciate the outcome of effort and collaboration that makes films authentic and unique. Lastly, a special thanks to our Head of Program and Filmmaker, Ran Tal; who made this Masterclass Workshop happen.


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