Monday Memo: 35th Annual Emmy Nominations Set


The film HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE from director David France was among those nominated for an Emmy for best documentary.

The film HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE from director David France was among those nominated for an Emmy for best documentary.

This week the nominees for the 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards were announced. Kevin Ritchie of Realscreen provided coverage of the news, as did Christopher Campbell of Nonfics.com. The ITVS blog made note of its nominated films, as did the POV blog.

Also this week, the Sundance Institute named the recipients of grants from its documentary film program. Writing for Realscreen, Manori Ravinran had some details on the topic.

In a series of posts at The Collaborative, Orly Ravid and Sheri Candler wrote a series of posts on preparing for independent distribution: you can find part one here, part two here and part three here.

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Monday Memo: More Oscar Rule Changes in Store for Filmmakers


This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yet more changes to the documentary branch.

This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yet more changes to the documentary branch.

This week Pete Hammond of Deadline reported that rule changes to the documentary category of the Oscars were results of an effort to pare down the number of films eligible for the awards.

Writing for Indiewire, Anthony Kaufman reported on the rise of VOD for docs with the concurrent decline of box office receipts. In a related piece, Indiewire’s Eric Kohn took a look at the VOD-friendly distribution strategy used by the action narrative film SNOWPIERCER.

At Filmmaker Magazine, Michael Murie provided a roundup of new developments in non-linear editing systems.

The True/False fest blog posted a panel from its latest iteration, this one on the topic “Beyond Pretty Pictures.”

Writing for The Dissolve, Jason Guerrasio interviewed director Steve James about his latest film, LIFE ITSELF.

At his What (Not) to Doc blog, Basil Tsiokos provided an overview of docs screening at the Outfest Film Festival, as well as those offered at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

The POV blog announced that the show had selected a new digital technology fellow in Brian Chirls. Also on the POV blog, Emma Dessau shared some advice for filmmakers considering using cloud storage services as a tool for collaboration.

Writing for Realscreen, Adam Benzine shared a report on the archival footage-dependent film LET THE FIRE BURN by director Jason Osder. Realscreen colleague Manori Ravindran examined the interactive doc FORT MCMONEY and the use of transmedia by a variety of doc producers.

At the International Documentary Association (IDA) website, Corinne Gaston shared five tips for digital distribution by filmmakers. Gaston also threw in a distribution terminology guide for digital DIY distro newcomers. Also at the site, Katharine Relth wrote about the breadth of films offered by the Los Angeles Film Festival, while Thomas White also shared his thoughts on the festival’s lineup

Daniel Walber of Nonfics.com penned a review of the film AIM HIGH IN CREATION! from director Anna Broinowski about fracking and the propaganda style of North Korea (yes, you read that correctly). Walber also shared a piece on a few docs screening at this year’s Japan Cuts, a film series put on by the Japan Society.

Back at the IDA site, Ron Deutsch took a look at the film GETTING BACK TO ABNORMAL about post-Katrina New Orleans, a film screening on POV tonight. Also at the site, Madelyn Grace Most recapped the international doc marketplace Sunny Side of the Doc. Finally, Amanda Lin Costa explored the new opportunities offered for documentary filmmakers by online publications.

Also at Nonfics.com, Christopher Campbell provided coverage of the nominations for primetime Emmy awards, whose ranks included the film THE SQUARE. In a separate post, Campbell made a solid case for why documentary filmmakers should not care about the Oscars.

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) this week announced the 19 new project recipients of its Bertha Fund.

At Indiewire, Sam Adams reacted to a proposed plan by Participant Media to track the ability of docs to inspire change in viewers

Writing for his blog, Zak Forsman shared the first part of his DIY DCP tutorial.

Finally, Simon Parkin of Technology Review reported that virtual reality might yield a reimagining of documentary journalism.


Monday Memo: Life Itself Reaches Theaters


This week the Steve James-helmed film LIFE ITSELF about the late film critic Roger Ebert reached theaters.

This week the Steve James-helmed film LIFE ITSELF about the late film critic Roger Ebert reached theaters.

This week the Steve James-directed doc LIFE ITSELF about the late film critic Roger Ebert hit theaters. In a post for the Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs interviewed Steve James; Eric Kohn of Indiewire did the same. At the Chicago Sun-Times, Mike Thomas also spoke with James. Adam Schartoff dedicated an entire episode of his Filmwax Radio podcast to speaking with James. Writing for Nonfics.com, Christopher Campbell gave the film five stars and called it “a perfect biography of Roger Ebert.” Back at Indiewire, Sam Adams rounded up some highlights from a Reddit AMA held by James and Ebert’s partner Chaz Ebert. At RogerEbert.com, Odie Henderson had another interview with James, as did Brandon Harris of Filmmaker Magazine. At the Sundance Institute’s website, James spoke with Nate von Zumwalt about the importance of film preservation. And at Ascap.com, Etan Rosenbloom spoke with LIFE ITSELF composer Joshua Abrams.

Premium cable network HBO announced that it would set aside Monday nights for doc airings. At Realscreen, Kevin Ritchie covered the news, as did Jessica Rawden of CinemaBlend. Rick Kissel at Variety also covered the development.

For Indiewire, Paula Bernstein spoke with documentary filmmaker Doug Block about why he was not as insistent on theatrical distribution for his latest film 112 WEDDINGS. Block also sat down for an interview with Jordan M. Smith of Ion Cinema.

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Monday Memo: Filmmaker Robert Gardner Passes Away


This week news broke that the documentary world had lost filmmaker Robert Gardner.

This week news broke that the documentary world had lost filmmaker Robert Gardner.

This week news broke that filmmaker Robert Gardner had passed away on June 21 at the age of 88. At the New York Times, Bruce Weber penned an obit of Gardner. The Documentary Educational Resources website also posted a note about Gardner.

Writing for the Washington Post, Anne Hornaday recapped some of the highlights from this year’s AFI Docs festival. At Realscreen, Manori Ravindran reported that HONEST LIAR from filmmakers Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom had won the festival’s audience award. The Week’s Scott Meslow shared a list of five docs screening at AFI Docs that could not be missed. And Patricia Aufderheide provided thoughts on the social issue docs that shined in Silver Spring at the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI) website.

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS) announced its new invitees; at Realscreen Adam Benzine reported on the documentary filmmakers among the group. Jonathan Sullivan did the same for Nonfics.com.

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