This post is about the making of another all-time classic sports documentary: Senna; the compelling story of Ayrton Senna, the most charismatic of all motor-racing drivers. Filmmaker Asif Kapadia creates the narrative of this film entirely from archive material; and as a result of this documentary-making process, Senna effectively tells the story of his Formula 1 career in his own words. It’s a truly remarkable piece of storytelling: gripping, enthralling and tragic in equal measure. Kapadia explains in masterclass interviews how he made the film.
Asif Kapadia: the masterclass
After the success of Senna, Kapadia made another archive-driven documentary film: Amy about Amy Winehouse, which explores another fascinating life that ends tragically so young. He talks about both these films in the masterclass interview below. His recollections of the difficulty he encountered when trying to secure the trust of pivotal characters around Winehouse, and the issues he had to overcome regarding the verification of detail he was being told about her life, are particularly interesting to any young documentary-maker. As Kapadia explains, we as the audience already know how both these stories end: Senna and Winehouse. His task as a filmmaker is to reveal the personal journeys that lead to these distressing conclusions.
Then, in 2019, he made a film about arguably the most gifted footballer of all time who is a football genius but also a flawed individual.
Podcast interviews with Kapadia about the Maradona film: