Over the years I've had the opportunity to see a variety of documentary movies on widely divergent subjects. However, the one thing they all had in common, was their desire to convince the audience of the importance of their topic. Unfortunately the very nature of the genre sometimes seems to work against the makers, and far too often documenatries about even the most interesting subject matter wind up dull. For in their search for accuracy and authenticity many of them end up either being boring recitations of facts or endless interviews with experts. Film is a visual medium and unless there is something incredibly compelling about either the experts or the story they are relating, it can quickly become boring.
In watching Corner Of The Cave Media's most recent documentary, it's obvious to me that the the creative team, especially director/producer/writer Brad Bernstein understand this and take great pains to avoid falling into that trap. It's no wonder Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story has not only been made an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), but been scheduled for three public screenings: Thursday September 6 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 9:45 PM, Saturday September 8 Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 9 at 9:30 AM and Saturday September 15 Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 10 at 4:30 PM, with the premiere coming on opening night of festival.
On the surface, a documentary about an illustrator of children's books, poster artist, and creator of various works of art doesn't sound like the most stimulating of subjects. Perhaps if it were about somebody aside from Tomi Ungerer it might not have been very interesting. But, not only is the story of Ungerer's life and career fascinating, Ungerer himself is a wonder. On top of that, Bernstein understands that even a documentary about a single person needs to have motion; our focus wanders if we stare at the same thing for too long. So while we spend a great deal of time over the course of the movie with Ungerer, the interviews with him are broken up by animation sequences created from his art work, and by transporting the audience backwards and forwards in time using archival film footage, still photographs, and samples of Ungerer's work from various periods in his life.