The Observant Eye of Owen Diplock

December 18, 2017

As a filmmaker, or any creator, finding your style - your niche - can prove elusive. It evolves, stemming from your influences and shaped through practising your craft. What you love from other people's work may be similar or completely different from what you do - you find this out from watching, learning, then doing. 


Owen Diplock, a cinematographer from Cheltenham, has found his chosen style - observational documentaries. Learning to be observant, sensitive, unbiased within the documentary medium is noble and exciting aim, making Owen's natural style/niche/voice an exciting proposition, informed by some brilliant influences, forefathers, whom he references below. If you have even a smidgen of interest in film, documentary or storytelling, you need to check them out. 


Owen is a proper cineaste, possessing a great sense of his own influences, while clearly being practised enough to execute his own impressive film work. We are super excited to see what Owen does next, some of which he talks about below. But before that, take a look at Owen's website to catch a glimpse of some of his fantastic work so far:



Hi Owen. Give us a little info about you and your work.


I'm a 21-year-old cinematographer with a love for observational documentaries. I'm a recent Film Production graduate from the University of Gloucestershire and I'm currently working as a Junior Creative for Unit One Films based in Cheltenham. 



Why do you think the documentary format appeals to you?


I enjoy the unpredictability of documentary work. Sure, you can plan your visual approach to a T and discuss with your crew what to do if something unexpected happens, but having just a single chance to capture something is exciting, and many of the best ideas come from thinking on the spot. The fact that the entire narrative of your film can change from pre-production to post highlights the wonderfully flexible nature of the format - you rarely get that opportunity when working on a narrative film. 



Do you think you have certain subjects or themes you like to explore with your work?


I don't seek out specific themes when creating or finding projects to work on, but I often find myself exploring areas that I don't know a lot about. By doing that, I end up gaining a broader perspective on the world by learning about lots of specific areas and, hopefully, become a slightly better human being in the process. 



Who are your influences?


, three of the originators of the observational documentary format. In the 1960s, they moved away from the dull, formal documentaries of old to create dynamic, Maysles Brothers and the Frederick WisemanI am greatly influenced by my filmmaking heroes: unfiltered  exposés such as Salesman, Titicut Follies, and Gimme Shelter. Wiseman turned 87 this year and recently released his 42nd documentary Ex Libris: New York Public Library. That's the dream, isn't it - to still be creating incisive films at that age, as well as 50 years after your debut. 



Are you hoping to continue to create film work?


Definitely. I recently completed shooting a documentary following a young breakdancer training for and competing at the 2017 UK B-Boy Championships; it's currently being entered into festivals. With regards to new work, I'm planning a short documentary observing the owners of a 30-year-old kebab van based in Cheltenham, and I'm always on the lookout for engaging documentary work to get involved in. 



Finally, do you have any pieces of wisdom to pass on to other young creatives out there?


Keep yourself immersed in work that you admire: I, for example, watch a tonne of observational documentaries. If you surround yourself with enough of what you love and what you aspire to create, the chances are that something will rub off on you. 


Thanks Owen!