Documentary filmmaker and Canon Ambassador Marcel Mettelsiefen is no stranger to filming in dangerous territories. Starting out as a freelance photojournalist almost 20 years ago, the German self-shooter has covered conflict zones across the world. Since branching out into filmmaking, he has shot award-winning documentaries in some of the most hostile environments on the planet.
For the Netflix documentary, In Her Hands, Marcel and co-director Tamana Ayazi, spent more than two years documenting the journey of Zarifa Ghafari, Afghanistan's youngest female mayor. "The challenge with every documentary is that you bond with your characters in a very intense way," he explains. "Documentary filmmaking is sneaking into someone's life and gaining their trust by giving yourself fully to the story – 5% of the work is filmmaking, the rest is becoming a friend, a therapist."
Here, he explains his approach to a project, the challenges he faced while filming In Her Hands, and how it developed into something much bigger than he and Zarifa ever imagined when they started.