There he stood with his excellent manners telling me politely that he did not want to be in my film, or discuss his tragic case or for that matter have anything further to do with me, not now or ever. And for the next few months, cut me dead. Welcome to the cruel realities of the world of documentary making. It's supposed to get easier when you've won four Emmys.
That Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins are disappointed that religion hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur perhaps speaks to the fact that religion provides something of great importance to human beings, an importance that is beyond their grasp. Science provides the cold hard facts of life. Religion provides meaning. Even Dr. Krauss agreed that we make the meaning in our lives. Why can't that meaning come from religion?
I am about to screen my finished film for Andy Bouvier, his wife, Noella, and the victim, their daughter Julie. They will be learning for the first time what was going through the mind of a madman in the midst of that murderous psychotic break -- what he was thinking as he tried to stab Julie to death.
We had a small window of opportunity when Babz could travel and we took it. We couldn't wait, we couldn't plan -- we just followed what was happening now. Yes, it meant that we had to live with the unexpected and the unconventional story twists. But that's life -- which can't be forecasted before the cameras start rolling.
Growing whispery and weepy, Jimmy tells me his story. He murdered his wife and two daughters, aged 14 and 9, with an axe. "I don't want to live," he moans, "I'm a monster." In 25 years of making prison films I've never seen an inmate crack open this way. Most killers I have encountered rarely show real remorse.
I had come to the Sino-North Korean border in order to film a documentary about North Korean defectors. Since Kim Jong-un took office, the situation has been dire for those hoping to escape. If they are caught as illegal migrants in China, they will be deported back to the DPRK where they will face torture and imprisonment. Sook-ja had waded across the icy Tumen River several weeks before, carrying a bundle of clothes above her head. She didn't know how to swim and yet she had risked her life in order to find her sister who had disappeared in China. "I came all this way to find her, and... she's gone."