August 31, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of August 27

Rithy Panh's Graves Without a Name will screen at TIFF this year.
Essential Doc Reads is a weekly feature in which the IDA staff recommends recent pieces about the documentary form and its processes. Here we feature think pieces and important news items from around the Internet, and articles from the Documentary magazine archive. We hope you enjoy!

Daniele Alcinii, news editor at Real Screen breaks down the 27 documentary films set to screen at TIFF.

An extensive slate of documentaries will be in the limelight during the 43rd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, with 27 feature films set to screen as part of TIFF Docs across the city. As we approach the start of the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, realscreen has collected all available trailers and clips of this year’s feature documentaries. Read part one and part two.

From Talkhouse, filmmaker Dean Fleischer-Camp discusses the implications of making a fictional documentary in the era of fake news.

Touring the country with the film, I experienced a lot of heated Q&As. In some ways, I was prepared for it – the film’s classification as a documentary is provocative, but I believe in the value and even necessity of provocation. Without it, art forms stagnate. What I wasn’t prepared for were those who had emotional responses to my usage of a stranger’s footage. I kind of assumed everybody accepted that if you post a photo on the internet, it’s pretty much fair game for any artsy troublemakers who come along, to say nothing of the multi-billion-dollar data-mining industry. As several glowering, red-faced audience members informed me, however, this is not the case.

IndieWire's Eric Kohn writes about Arin Krumley's microbudget “Apocalypse Now” filmed at Burning Man.

Crumley had no interest in a script. Instead, he planned to attend Burning Man 2008 with a group of peers documenting their own experiences, then film recreations to build a semi-fictionalized narrative around them. “I had this process I’d tried in the past, which was to live life, experience things, reflect on those experiences, and synthesize that through media in as much real time as possible,” Crumley said. 

Clarence Tsui contemplates the films that shaped a pivotal part of the late-sixties on Cineaste.

And for one week in the French capital this spring, I witnessed how films and videos were deployed to evoke and amplify the internationalist aspects of 1968, in a timely riposte to the xenophobia advocated by right-leaning political strongmen around the world. From the Cinéma du Réel documentary festival at the Centre Pompidou to a multimedia exhibition at Nanterre, programmers and curators tried to reshape the simplistic representation of May 1968 as merely a display of bourgeois belligerence from beautiful, beret-wearing bohemians, as Bernando Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003) and Michel Hazanavicius’s Redoubtable (aka Godard Mon Amour, 2017) would like us to believe.

In the New York Times, Michael Kellen reflects on teaching critical thinking through documentary films.

A key goal of our Capstone program is to expand students’ awareness of the larger world, which, despite the internet and technology, many of my students lack. I teach in the Scholar Academy, a school-within-a-school at Wekiva High that takes high-ability students and helps them become first-generation college applicants by requiring rigorous Advanced Placement courses. Film Club helps me cultivate that global awareness in the classroom.

For RealScreen, Daniele Alcinii recaps a pitching panel from the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

A seasoned development executive, Paramount Network’s Senior said one thing he’s learned since stepping into a broadcaster’s chair is that producers have a better chance at landing a development deal if the focus is on selling one idea at a time. “I sold shows for 20 years, and made them. I used to be guilty of [pitching] five ideas – it was a numbers game. Now that I’m a buyer, I only buy from people who come in with one idea. When they pitch it, it’s as if the show is going to happen even if I don’t buy it – I need to see the passion behind the idea.

CNBC's Todd Haselton follows up with Magic Leap's VR headset.

Magic Leap has built up a lot of buzz for itself over the last several years through its claims that it was developing a revolutionary headset that would usher in the next era of personal computing. The start-up attracted more than $2 billion in funding before it even had a product to sell.

From the Archive—Spring 2011: "F for Faux—and for Fair Use: The Copyright Conundrum of Staged Docs"

As primetime television continues to phase out scripted fare in favor of more inexpensively produced "reality" programming, and as documentaries become more and more accepted by moviegoing audiences as a suitable alternative to budget-busting studio franchises, 2010 may be remembered as a unique year in which both producers and filmmakers were forced to consider the amount of subjective license that documentaries are afforded in the depiction of their chosen subjects and subject matter. At what point does a "documentary" cross an increasingly blurry line and venture into the territory of "unscripted entertainment?"


In the News

IFP Head Joana Vicente Named Executive Director and Co-head of TIFF


SFFILM Names the 2018 Documentary Fund Recipients


Lili Hinstin Named New Artistic Director at Locarno


Camden International Film Festival's 2018 Lineup Announced


Facebook Launches a New "Watch" Program for Original Content


California Net Neutrality Bill Move Forward