Making a film about creativity, he found himself wrestling an enigma

What’s the common thread between a glass-working artist, a celebrated chef, a singer songwriter and an entrepreneur who works with NGOs?

It’s creativity. But what, exactly, is that?

“It’s a bit of an enigma, even though it’s been such a big part of my life,” says documentary filmmaker Roger Ungers. “So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to hear other people’s perspectives on where their creativity comes from, how they harness it in their lives.

Singer/songwriter Henry Brett in Roger Ungers’ documentary Finding Creativity.

“We all have a very different way that we approach creativity, or discover it. I wanted to break it apart and learn about it from other perspectives.”

The result is the documentary Finding Creativity, showing at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival this month – it was originally due for a live screening, now it’s online.

Ungers says he decided early on in the project that he didn’t want to take the cliched line of talking to traditional “creatives”, a painter, for example. He wanted to cast a wider net.

He found Holly Grace, the glass artist, via American Netflix reality TV show Blown Away, which pits glassblowers against each other competing for a cash prize. He realised it would be both visually stunning, and a door into a very physical, tactile form of creation.

Chef Coskun Uysal, in contrast, drew from a rich, ingrained tradition of Turkish food that came from his mother.

As Ungers pulled the stories together and wove them into the documentary, he sought practical ways to summon creativity – even if we can’t quite say where we are summoning it from.

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