#Unmissable: Filming the Face of Doubt

Imagine yourself at the top of a ten-meter high dive, looking down at the water below. Would you jump?

Consider the feelings in your stomach, in your knees, in your neck, rising up inside you as you make your decision. So visceral is the response in our brain, that even just visualising this scenario can induce a physiological response.

In their documentary short, “Ten Meter Tower, Swedish filmmakers Maximilien Van Aertryck and Axel Danielson wanted to capture this compelling mental state on film.

And the result of this investigation is extraordinary.

Each response is so strikingly earnest. Each facial expression and physical posture are both obviously distinctive and undeniably recognisable.

“We’ve all seen actors playing doubt in fiction films, but we have few true images of the feeling in documentaries”, says Aertryck and Danielson to Nytimes.com.

Part of the credit for Aertryck and Danielson’s cinematic achievement is certainly due to their production design.

“Through an online advertisement, we found 67 people who had never been on a 10-meter (about 33 feet) diving tower before, and had never jumped from that high”, they explain.

“We paid each of them the equivalent of about $30 to participate — which meant climbing up to the diving board and walking to its edge. We were as interested in the people who decided to climb back down as the ones jumping.”

In this way, the two directors let their non-actors carry almost all of the emotional weight of the film, and the cast does not disappoint.

Each new potential diver is fascinating, and each new chance to jump is a strange combination of hilarity and suspense. The ineluctable central question — whether they will or will not jump — is the loudly beating heart of every scene.

All right. Let’s do this”, says the young girl, poised for a running start.

The man in yellow shorts says nothing, staring down, his toes gripping the board’s edge.

No [I’m not scared], my heart just tells me not to jump”, says the young man to his friend, arms wrapped around the railing.

The older woman in the blue swimsuit punches her fists downwards, exclaiming to herself, “No, I don’t have the guts”.

“Wait, what did we agree on, if you jump I jump?” says Frida.
“If you fall, I’ll fall as well, Frida”, says Linus.

Their reactions are so truthful that you really need to see it for yourself. And when you do, you will share an experience with these doubt-filled divers that no acted performance could have given you.


Marco Lemcke is a London-based, interdisciplinary Creative, who works on various projects for both traditional advertising- and digital-agencies, as well as individual clients. Find out more at: www.marcolemcke.com