"Some audiences have this idea that documentaries have to make very clear and usually politically-based arguments. And that's the thing that I set out not to do. I think it's great that the film creates a dialogue over, 'What is documentary?' People question my point of view, they question the point of view of Brandon and the other characters," he says. "Hopefully they will start questioning other documentaries, too, and the notion of objectivity. Documentary filmmakers know that documentaries aren't objective in the least. But I think audiences still aren't entirely clear on that."
Meltzer credits both the Bay Area filmmaking community (particularly Frazer Bradshaw, Informant's director of photography) and his Stanford colleagues (including numerous former students) for helping him make the film. "San Francisco has a lot of people who are committed to working on things that they believe in for little or no money, out of passion. That can't be overstated," he says.
So what's next? Making Informant was so difficult, Meltzer confesses, that he thought it would be his last film. But then he heard about a group of exonerated men in Texas who've formed a detective agency to help other innocent people behind bars. "You can't pass up those kind of ideas," the filmmaker says. "You have to grab them when they come."
No doubt it won't end up being a simple story — but Meltzer will weave all of its threads into a captivating tale.
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