The International Documentary Association (IDA) on Friday, June 27 named the films particpating in the 16th annual Docuweeks program. Writing for the Documentary Channel, Christopher Campbell took a look at the selections, with RICKY ON LEACOCK, a film about late direct cinema pioneer Richard Leacock jumping out at him. And at the LA Times, Julie Makinen rounded up capsule synopses of all the films.
Some recaps of Silverdocs, which ran June 18-24 came in this week, the most comprehensive arguably offered by Basil Tsiokos on his What Not to Doc blog. Tsiokos broke up his coverage into two posts, viewable here and here. Filmmaker Magazine’s Rania Richardson also had a wrap up, and Aviva Kempner on The Wrap blog wondered aloud why Cannes could not be more like Silverdocs in supporting female filmmakers.
Jonathan Caouette’s new film WALK AWAY RENEE was getting attention from a few different corners of the web. At the POV blog, journalist Tom Roston interviewed the director on his first feature-length film since 2004’s TARNATION. At Filmmaker Magazine, Howard Feinstein shared his thoughts on RENEE, and also spoke with Caouette. And this week’s Docutopia post, penned by Anthony Kaufman riffed on TARNATION as the expected bellwether for a rash of new personal docs conceived in the digital age.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on June 29 named 176 people it had extended invitations for membership to. Jennifer Merin at About.com did the legwork and sussed out just how many of the invites went to doc makers. Among those receiving golden tickets were directors Marshall Curry and Lucy Walker, both of whom have previously been on the receiving end of Oscar nominations.
The IDA this week also had a recap of its June 15-16 Doc U panel Shooting Overseas, which provided some of the nuts and bolts advice for doc filmmakers taking their productions to foreign lands.
Back at the POV blog, Emma Miller teased out some tips for doc filmmakers from the 9th annual Games for Change conference, which ran in New York City June 18-20.
Realscreen last week reported on a new partnership between the New York Times and the UK’s Channel 4 Britdoc Foundation to issue grants to filmmakers for new short docs as an outgrowth of the Times’ Op-Doc program. The announcement was made at Good Pitch Europe, and the grants will initially support 12 new films.
The Tribeca Film Institute turned to filmmaker/animator Ellie Lee to mine her for some helpful advice on running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Most of which boils down to the fundamental idea that crowdfunding your film takes a lot of work, and filmmakers should be prepared to treat it as a full-time job. And with a somewhat more negative approach, Faith Fuller on the Filmmaking Stuff website spelled out the top five mistakes that documentary filmmakers make when attempting to fundraise (don’t forget to actually ask someone for the money!).
Variety’s Elsa Keslassy on June 23 reported on a number of the new digital distribution platforms and release models that documentary filmmakers have been taking advantage of to maximize their profits and viewing audiences.
On a related note, About.com’s Jennifer Merin used the outreach campaign for the film GRANITO as a case study for how these things should be done. The film, with the backing and aid of POV, used a myriad of channels to reach its prospective audience including a mobile app, a discussion guide and a high school lesson plan. The filmmakers also used social media platforms, including Facebook, to generate interest in their film and keep their audience engaged.
Indiewire this week examined the commonalities between the films SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and THE IMPOSTER, which the publication described as fine examples of mystery docs. (If you have any plans to see either of these movies, I would recommend reading as little about either of them beforehand to preserve their magic.)
The nonprofit Harmony Institute, which describes itself as dedicated to “revealing the influence of entertainment,” on June 27 wrote a post about its attempts to measure the influence of documentaries. The institute’s approach relies on a combination of chatter culled from Twitter, news reports and Google searches. However, this approach would fail to account for something as significant as the release of the West Memphis Three, which was the direct result of the Paradise Lost trilogy of films made by directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. The institute has laudably made their methodology public, and is inviting comments on its approach.
The True/False festival this week hashed out some details on some of the response the great film THE KING OF KONG received in the video game community. And, as these discussions always do, the topic inevitably turned to the mutable nature of Truth. Director Seth Gordon even goes so far as to make a RASHOMON reference.
For those interested in interactive documentary and transmedia, Indiewire got author Andrea Phillips to share some of her secrets about transmedia storytelling, distilling them to four approaches.
Christopher Campbell has this week’s theatrical releases, which include music docs KATY PERRY: PART OF ME and NEIL YOUNG JOURNEYS (and yes, your decision about which one of these films to see speaks volumes about you).