The film world remains roiled by digital technologies that are still transforming the way documentaries are made, funded, marketed and viewed. What follows is an interview with Thom Powers, programmer for documentaries at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Stranger Than Fiction series, as well as artistic director of the DOC NYC festival, about the changes being wrought by digital, and the state of documentaries in 2013. Click here for the 2012 State of Docs.
Rahul Chadha: Do you think that 2013 saw significant changes in the overall state of docs?
Thom Powers: One way to answer that question is to think about how docs are reaching audiences. Looking back on the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, I think of three notable docs that sold to relative newcomers. One is THE SQUARE that sold to Netflix. Along with its acquisition of THE SHORT GAME, Netflix has announced itself as a staking more ground in the doc space. They hired Adam Del Deo, a filmmaker who collaborated with Jim Stern on docs like EVERY LITTLE STEP and SO GOES THE NATION and is now looking at new titles to acquire. Netflix has made a big impression with what they’ve done in fiction television with House of Cards. They’re talking about doing the same for documentary.