Documentary film director Gemma Brady talks to us about the power of storytelling and the profound impact stories can have when we relate them back to our own experience. Our neurological pathways are set up to learn from the stories that are told to us from a young age and throughout our lives. And when they truly resonate, we develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. Storytelling is a way for us as to connect to our universal humanity.
So, how does Brady bring out the best stories to tell?
She takes the time to build up trust with those in front of the camera because the best stories come from a place of authenticity. “Part of the work as a director when you’re telling real people’s stories, is developing trust between you and your subject,” says Brady “There can’t be an ounce of cynicism to that trust. It has to be absolute”.
When the elements are all in place: trust, authenticity and a skilled storyteller to bring the story to life, a powerful transformation can happen to the people who hear that story. This is because stories help us to navigate and understand the values systems and moral codes that make up who we are. They teach us to understand what makes us happy, sad, angry or fearful. Stories teach us about the human condition which is the start of a much larger journey toward understanding our place in the world.