Couple 3 Filmmaking Handbook

The Couple 3 Films handbook is a living document that outlines the values, guidelines and protocols we aim to enact in every project we work on. It is a constantly evolving text and lives in a shared, collaborative format, publicly accessible here. We encourage its dissemination and adaptation into other settings and disciplines.

This document emerged from a fruitful collaboration between filmmakers from Couple 3 and a marine science laboratory known as CLEAR (Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research, https://civiclaboratory.nl/). Dr. Max Liboiron, Director of CLEAR, was the focus of a short documentary called Guts which Couple 3 Films shot in 2018 and which was released by The Atlantic in 2019. As part of the early discussions about making the documentary, Dr. Liboiron asked that the filmmakers go through the same training process that any of the new CLEAR members would encounter, and thus for the filmmakers to become full members of CLEAR in conjunction with their documentation of the lab itself. As a result of this direct engagement with the values that guide CLEAR, the filmmakers from Couple 3 came to reexamine their own filmmaking practice, first as a critical reflection on “extractive filmmaking,” then as a more general examination of relations and values in the film industry at large.

As a result of this encounter with CLEAR, this document— which draws heavily from the introductory text of CLEAR’s own lab book— was created to serve as a framework for the film production work we do. It is meant to remain as a living document, updated through frequent interaction and dialogue. While this guide is primarily meant for anyone involved in Couple 3 productions, it may also be useful for partners to understand how we work, for other production companies as inspiration for their own handbooks, and for those generally interested in how all cultural production is based on values.

Couple 3’s foregrounded values are Equity, Humility & Solidarity, Supportive Openness, and an orientation to Process. The handbook outlines what each of these terms means to us.