January 12, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of January 8

Frederick Wiseman. Courtesy of Zipporah Films.

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!

At Slate, Frederick Wiseman explains to Sam Adams why he's finally making his entire film catalog available for streaming.

"The honest answer is that I think any movie looks better on a big screen. But I'm excited to have the movies available, because not everybody can watch them on a big screen, and they're not easily available on a big screen. So given that, I'm pleased that people will have a chance to watch them on their home television sets or their computers, or however they want to watch them. Better they see them than not see them."

At Vulture, Nicholas Quah previews the 12 podcasts he can't wait to hear in 2018.

Can 2018 match the particularly strong year that podcasts had in 2017? If so, it'll be because some of the shows on this list really took off. These are 12 of the most anticipated podcasts scheduled to drop in the first half of the year, with two big trends standing out: There are a lot of collaborations, and as always, there remains a lot of true crime.

At POV, former Executive Producer Cara Mertes shares four tips to making a successful documentary series.

As a young programmer, I advocated for the first broadcast of [Tongues Untied] on WNET in New York in 1990, then watched its national broadcast on POV transform the discussion about public television and its role in platforming a fuller range of voices that comprise the American experience. The controversy that followed forged the mettle of Marc and Ellen's approach, and put POV on the map. It changed the national dialogue and proved the potency of creative documentary beyond a doubt. So, with high hopes for the next 30 years of POV, I wanted to pass on some of the principles honed there.

At Poynter, Daniel Funke shares the best examples of "video fact-checking" from around the world. 

While last year American news outlets made the dreaded pivot to video at a perilous rate in a half-baked attempt to make up for lagging pageviews, fact-checkers around the world have increasingly used the medium as a complement to their work. Only metrics will tell whether or not these efforts are successful, but at least one study suggests that video as a format for fact-checking may be more effective in changing people’s misperceptions.

At Vulture, director Nancy Buirski speaks to Miriam Bale about "the Oprah effect" on her doc The Rape of Recy Taylor.

"I was thrilled. But there was a part of me that wasn't surprised. Because [Oprah Winfrey] said, there is someone you should know from history, leading into it. And when she said it, I was thinking there is only one person who would warrant this kind of attention, in light of the climate that we're in and the movement that is developing. If we're talking about a historical person, this is the person we should be talking about. So, when she said her name, there was a part of me that said, finally. It just felt inevitable. But that's not to say I wasn't thrilled and jumping up and down."

At The New York Times, Jonah M. Kessel on how China used a Times documentary as evidence against its subject.

The use of my film as evidence against Mr. Tashi gets at the heart of one of the thorniest issues that can plague foreign journalists: How do we justify instances when our work — aimed at giving voice to the voiceless and holding the powerful to account — ends up putting its subjects at risk or in danger?

From the archives, September 2016, "Listen Up! Dispatches from Podcast Movement 2016"

This past summer, the 3rd annual Podcast Movement Conference was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Gathered were podcasters from all kinds of backgrounds and levels of podcasting expertise, from novice to professional. As a nonfiction media-maker, film professor and public radio devotee, I've been keeping tabs on the upsurge in podcasts. And I've been giving a lot of thought to the crossover between documentary filmmaking and audio storytelling. When my summer plans unexpectedly changed and I was unable to attend in person, I took advantage of the Virtual Ticket: access to every keynote speech and breakout session (82 sessions in total).

In the News:

2018 Cinema Eye Honors Awards Announced
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DGA Awards Documentary Nominees Announced
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BAFTA Awards Nominees Announced
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Chicken & Egg Pictures Announces Breakthrough Filmmaker Award Recipients
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Sundance Adds New Code of Conduct Policy For All Festivalgoers
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SFFILM and Vulcan Productions Announce New Fellowship
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Sundance '18 Unveils Panels and Off-Screen Events Lineup
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Discovery Communications is Moving to New York
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