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Ross Kauffman, ‘Born Into Brothels’

Sundance alum

Kauffman and collaborator Zana Briski brought their then-unfinished “Born Into Brothels” to Park City, Utah, for the Documentary Composers Lab in August 2003. By way of explaining his experience there, Kauffman provided the following excerpt from his journal, dated Aug. 4, 2003, 12:15 p.m.:

“Sitting here on the grass next to the chairlift looking up at the mountain. Yet another beautiful day here at Sundance. … (Now) I am on the chairlift. A bit bumpy for writing, but my handwriting is so bad that it doesn’t make much difference.

“I am not the type of person who usually feels lucky … but these past days I am feeling extremely fortunate.

“We are into our first full day of the documentary composers lab. Zana and I met with our composers this morning, along with our advisers, Vikram Jayanti and Miriam Cutler. I have never learned so much in such a short amount of time. … A composer’s idea about a scene can and does inform the way that scene could be edited, thus changing the meaning of that scene and giving the film a new and different direction.

“It is all about discovery through process, and discovery through true collaboration. And the only way to truly accomplish that is to be in a safe and secure place where trying and failing is just as important as succeeding. I have tried to create that atmosphere in my editing room, but to find it with a group of people so supportive is not only more productive but a real gift.”

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