Arnold - The Age of Portraits

In recent years, there has been a slew of portrait documentaries about some of the world's most famous sports, music, and film stars. In this session, we delve deep into the engine room with director Leslie Chilcott, who is behind the popular Netflix series about one of the world's biggest stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold (2023) is a three-part series that stands out as one of the more successful, honest, and nuanced in the genre. It not only highlights the main character's obvious victories in bodybuilding, acting, and politics but also delves into childhood traumas, MeToo scandals, and an affair with a housekeeper that resulted in a son.

How do you gain the trust needed to tell a comprehensive and honest portrait when you hold an extremely powerful and famous person's legacy in your hands? And how do you tell the story of such an extraordinary life in a way that the audience can understand and relate to?

Leslie discusses the specific tools she used to build trust with her iconic main character. From finding a shared sense of humor and spending hours in conversations recorded only on audio, to choosing the perfect lens and framing to make interviews feel particularly intimate. All this to capture the essence that makes the portrait something more than just a glossy image.


This session is created in collaboration with our program committee members Nynne Duvå Hall and Katrine Seidelin.