March 2, 2018

Essential Doc Reads Week of February 26

<em>Seventeen</em>: ‘a lyrical six minutes about teenagers in Scarborough’.

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!

The Guardian’s Charlie Phillips reflects on the power of short docs.

Online distribution has offered a big boost for the visibility of documentaries, and not just feature-length ones. In recent years, the most interesting innovations in the form have often been seen in the less risk-averse short-form length, generally defined as being under 40 minutes. Short documentaries remain neglected for critical appraisal, however, which is strange when you consider that many of Britain’s most historically notable documentaries – Night Mail and Housing Problems from the 1930s; the second world war propaganda film Listen to Britain; most of the Free Cinemafilms from the late 50s – are under 30 minutes long.


On the eve of the Oscars, IndieWire’s Anne Thompson profiles filmmaker Bryan Fogel, director of Documentary Feature nominee Icarus.

Icarus director Bryan Fogel is an unexpected documentarian, to say nothing of an investigative journalist. He started out in Hollywood as a standup comic and actor, but found early success as the creator of a hit Coast Playhouse and Broadway play, Jewtopia, which he grew into a touring company, a book, and a movie. He eventually came up with the “Icarus” documentary as his next career move.


Renan Borelli digs into The New York Times’ archives for 60 years of features on the legendary Agnès Varda.

 “I am the queen of the margins, but the films are loved. The films are remembered,” Ms. Varda said of her career. “And this is my aim — to be loved as a filmmaker because I want to share emotions, to share the pleasure of being a filmmaker.”


From Film Daily, Daisy Phillipson analyzes the pros and cons of WithoutABox and Film Freeway.

However, while Withoutabox might hold reign as the Goliath of the film festival world, the David of this story – Vancouver-based company FilmFreeway – remains a favorite by filmmakers and festival owners alike. But before we investigate this ongoing battle, let’s delve deeper into the history of the film fest market’s two biggest competitors.


From IndieWire, Aymar Jean Christian mulls over the ramifications of the potential repeal of net neutrality.

The repeal of net neutrality will kill the TV revolution few people are paying attention to. Most of the media interest in net neutrality has focused on how big companies like Netflix can reach customers without having to charge us more.


From The Archives, Spring 2016, "Short Docs Enjoy Longevity Online"

"It's giving opportunities to filmmakers," Charlie Phillips adds. "Rather than spending years making their feature doc and getting really frustrated—I mean, they can still do that—they can do their short and they can just make something creative and get it out there. It's also giving an audience that is hungry for documentaries the chance to actually see them. And to me that's really exciting."


In the News

'Last Men in Aleppo' Producer Gets Visa to Attend Oscars

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Independent Spirit Awards Volunteers Claim Exploitation

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Berlinale ’18: 'The Waldheim Waltz' Wins Doc Prize

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Awards Presented to the Best of Big Sky Festival Documentaries

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2018 Sundance “Breakthrough Filmmaker” Award-Winner Bing Liu Signs with Nonfiction Unlimited for Commercials and Branded Content

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BAVC Announces the 2018 National MediaMaker Fellows

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Netflix acquires 'Shirkers,' 'Zion'

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PBS Acquires Rights To Sundance Docu 'Dark Money'

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Discovery Management Shakeup: Scripps' Kathleen Finch Gets Big Portfolio, Rich Ross Out at Discovery

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