As the competition got under way, how hard was it to stay objective and not to root for some of the competitors, given how you had gotten to know them all so well?
I am making a film - I have to remain objective. You always grow close to the people you make the film with. They grow close to us as well. But they know we are there to make a film. And that we have to remain objective. What I know I am doing all the time is watching and knowing whether or not I have all the elements I need to tell the story. And what you always want is variety - winning and losing. So for me, for instance, when Brogan [McCay] watched I just kept filming her - knowing that what I was seeing was a remarkable study of graciousness in defeat by a ten year old. And I knew that that was a magic moment - and in many ways more interesting and moving than if she had won. So I knew that it was great for the film. Sad for Brogan but wonderful to see how she dealt with it.
In a project like this, are there personal lessons you take away from the sacrifices the parents make for their children to pursue the dancing or the graciousness in which the children deal with adversities?
Many lessons and I hope they are all there in the film. I make films about life and about people and about how we all lead our lives. JIG took me into a world I knew nothing about and so I was looking for universal truths, things everyone would find interesting. And yes for me I suppose it became more of a study of family life than about dancing per se. You ask yourself as you watch these children and parents if your own child had a talent like that would you be willing to make the sacrifices.. not just of money but of time and devotion.
After being in these peoples lives for a period of months and getting to know them fairly well, what is it like to walk away and stop documenting their lives? As a documentary maker do you ever find yourself curious to know what is going on in the life of past subjects you have documented?