Heidi Morstang



The argument in this summary concerns intuition as creative decision method in observational documentary film practice and is based upon three films produced, directed, edited and published by the author: In Transit [2011]; Prosperous Mountain [2013]; and Pseudotachylyte [2019]. The films are created with digital technologies employing state of the art High Definition Video cameras, and digital post-production software . This summary will use reflection and analysis to make explicit three aspects of the documentary cinematic process of creation: image, sound, and edit. It will highlight where a space is created to facilitate intuition. The summary will revisit some processes of creation and production by identifying key moments of decision making where the act of film-making draws out new understandings of the topic. It will present an account of practice and insights to the possibilities of creating a poetic space in documentary filmmaking by identifying effective technical and rhetorical strategies for opening a space for intuitive interventions when constructing documentary cinematic narratives. In this endeavour, it will contribute to an enriched understanding of our environment and the place of humans in the world that benefits from creative practice. The three films focus on interdisciplinary interventions in expeditions to the Arctic and have their contextual relevance outlined below. The enduring interest in the environment is shared by the philosopher Arne Naess, and is inspired by a network of influences: Alexander von Humboldt’s view of the world as an interconnected entity; films by Flaherty, Herzog, Kossakovsky, Ponting and Tarkovsky inform the documentary methodologies; writings by Naess and Wells have informed the approach to landscape; Croce, Franklin and Kemp have informed the reading on intuition and the documentary impulse; and finally, the interdisciplinary collaborative projects in the Arctic by Martinsson and Holmlund, and the Cape Farewell Project have influenced the interdisciplinary approach. The common ground in the films is the dialectic that shapes the distinctive documentary cinematic expression that alters between lyricism and realism, and the tension that is created in the works by this specific articulation. Based on this, the three films create a constellation that may facilitate a poetic space for contemplation through the cinematic form, topic, content and critical context. There may be an intuitive way of using film and sound to evoke change within the material world; this is opening new possibilities for documentary film practice where complex philosophical, geopolitical and scientific aspects are brought to attention. In this way the films are intended to contribute to an existing observational documentary filmmaking practice that is already embedded in history of film by offering new insights and paradigms for future practice.

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