Sam Nuttmann is a Seattle documentary maker. His domestic abuse documentary, Shout, will be shown in Reno on Oct. 26 (see Upfront, page 8) under the sponsorship of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He is currently working on documentaries about Ethiopia. His website is at www.session7media.com
What got you interested in making documentaries?
The domestic violence film was actually my first film, my first major film. I had dabbled in video before, but really it was a matter of seeing this need. I met with the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network, and they greatly needed new media for their organization, for fundraising. So I knew that I could deliver what they were looking for, and it was a project that, of course, I had a personal involvement with, so that was really the catalyst for what I do now.
Tell me about that personal interest.
My sister was shot and killed by her husband in 2002, so I had a very personal involvement with domestic violence because of that.
I think there are some people who would rather stay away from the subject, having had that experience. Was it cathartic for you?
Yes, I can see why somebody would probably have a difficult time dealing with it after something like that, and I must say that had this opportunity [arisen] a year after the event, it probably would not have seemed like a great thing for me to do. But enough time had passed where I had always wanted to get more involved with domestic violence advocate programs. … I don’t know, it just seemed right for me. It was something that I had the resources to do and the desire to do.
What was the process of creating this documentary like?
You know, it was overwhelming. I met with several people from Domestic Abuse Women’s Network and talked a lot about what the film should contain. It was sort of working with them to see what they needed and then me spending time thinking about what I needed personally to discover through the process and just sort of finding a middle ground where it contained all the information that they needed for an educational film but also gave me the information that I was looking for.
Was it what they expected?
According to them, it was above and beyond what they expected, and they said that it really does touch on all of the information points that are important for one to know about domestic violence. But also, because of my personal story, I think it adds a different level of emotion rather than just having a clinical study of domestic violence.