News & Events

September 2008

Featured Alum: Sean Lewis

Sean Lewis

DI Class: 2004

Thesis Film: In the Pit

Current Job: Cameraperson and Editor for True Vision Productions

Sean Lewis works for True Vision Productions in London, England. Since 1996, True Vision has won many prestigious awards for its documentaries, including 7 Emmies.

Q: How long have you been with True Vision?

I have been at True Vision since I arrived in London 3 years ago.

Q: What drew you to True Vision’s approach to documentary?

I have an enormous amount of respect for the films True Vision makes. I believe that the campaigning documentary is incredibly powerful to enact change.

Q: What sort of projects have you been involved with at True Vision?

I’ve worked on the following films:

I4I: 3 Minute Wonders (Online Editor)

Dispatches: Undercover in Tibet (Covert camera design and technical supervisor)

Dispatches: China’s Stolen Children (Covert camera design and technical supervisor)

Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children (Editor, cameraperson)

Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy (HD production coordinator, cameraperson)

Evicted (Assistant editor, cameraperson)

A World Without Water (Assistant editor)

Q: What are some of the most valuable experiences that you took from the Documentary Institute?

The most valuable things I took from the Documentary Institute would be: 1.) How to construct a good story, 2.) Finding good characters and learning how to get the most out of them, and 3.) A good historical base (it is always good to know what others have done before you).

Q: Are there any moments that you filmed during a project that stand out for any reason?

I am always grateful when we get one of those very intimate scenes with a contributer. I always take pause and think ‘these people are allowing me into their lives in a way that they may not let their own family’.

Q: True Visions films deal with some huge social issues. What has it been like on a personal level delving into such issues and how has it affected you?

You cannot help but be affected by these films. Unfortunately, when you are shooting you have to compartmentalise the emotions that come rushing forward. When I was filming Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children we had a moment when one of the children had a broken leg. The staff being ignorant oafs proceeded to manipulate the fracture. Vaskey (the child) was wailing the entire time, her screams literally echoed of the walls. As an undercover cameraperson I could not step in and throttle the staff as I would have wanted to, so I had to carry on filming. This scene in particular shocked the public here and in every country Abandoned was shown. In the end, the outrage was targeted to enact change. You can watch Abandoned in its entirety here and see what the film has accomplished.

Q: As a cameraperson and editor, what are the relationships you have with the subjects you are filming like?

I always develop a relationship with my contributer. I personally feel that if they are going to be open and honest with me I should do the same. That is not to say I refrain from challenging them.

Q: What has been the most inspiring project you’ve worked on thus far?

Abandoned and I4I _were my favorites (Murka’s film is my favorite).