Communication is where a film lives and dies. It is essential for efficacy, for performance, and ultimately for translating a director’s vision to the screen.
To me communication is less about the art of talking than it is about the art of listening. I hired an all-female crew on Band Aid, which was deliberate on many fronts, one of which was rooted in this very issue. At the risk of over simplifying, women, by and large, are excellent communicators. Which is to say, they excel at the art of listening.
On our first day of production, I gave a brief state of the union (which was inevitably followed by a brief dance party, a must on day one…) in which I spoke about, among other things, the impact of words.
Communication was the key for writing, shooting and making the movie, particularly this one. Woodpeckers explores communication and language in a very specific level. First of all the writing process was about making contact and understanding the prisoners, getting to create relationships, not only for the script but also because I wanted them as actors too. It was also kind of a social experiment, where I was exposed to very dangerous situations and prisoners, were the only way to stand out and be safe was communicating with respect and openness. But the core of the story was the sign language, called woodpecking, this is the medium which the prisoners use to communicate between one cell and the other. As filmmakers we wanted to use it in the movie as real and accurate as it is in real life, also learning how to use it and discovering that the essential drive between us humans is communicating, expressing, and showing ourselves no matter what, where and how.