If you are a filmmaker or aspiring, you’ve probably received a variety of advice such as taking a class, networking, finding authentic stories, overcoming fear and rejection, etc. But how often have you been advised to take care of yourself, particularly when your film covers a dire topic? Heidi Yewman, the director and producer of the debut feature documentary, Behind the Bullet, believes the emotional well-being of the filmmaker is not discussed enough in the industry. Yewman found herself emotional during the making of her film, which profiles four individuals who divulge the impact that shooting someone has had on them.
“When I’m interviewing somebody, and I found this true when I was interviewing for the book as well, you’re taking on a lot of energy, and you’re seeing this trauma being told to you, and you can’t help but take on that energy,” the Columbine graduate told So Booking Cool. “And so, I found coping mechanisms throughout the process of like ‘if I just take on this energy and this sadness, and it just stays with me, it’s going to crush me.’ And so, when I would get done with an interview, I would go in my car, drive away a few blocks, and then just cry.”
Behind the Bullet, the film, which was released just last month has garnered praise from Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, and was officially selected by five festivals including the 2019 Slamdance Festival (Utah); Cinequest: Film & Creativity Festival (California); and the upcoming Dumbo Film Festival (New York). The documentary started as a book that Yewman wrote in 2009, titled Beyond the Bullet: Personal Stories of Gun Violence Aftermath (DASH Consulting, INC.) but it is quite different from the film.
“The book is a series of nineteen stories of people who have been impacted by gun violence,” Yewman said. “So it’s people who either lost a loved one to gun violence or they had been shot and survived, and they tell their story in their own words. I was really interested in this topic and it became apparent that I wanted to know what happens to you when you’re on the other side of the gun and you shoot somebody. How does that impact you? That’s the question I was trying to answer with the book.”
Check out the interview to learn more about Yewman, Behind the Bullet, filmmaking, why this documentary is so important to her, and whether she plans to expand the conversation on gun-deaths through the lens. For more information, visit Behind the Bullet online. See the trailer below!