March 30, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of March 26

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Ben Margot/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

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 IndieWire, Chris O'Falt investigates the role Facebook plays in helping indie filmmakers build community, and the results aren't pretty.

Until recently, indie filmmakers viewed building a Facebook community as essential to success. That's a belief they’d like to maintain — but it's now extremely difficult without an ad buy. And while there are other social media platforms, Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly users and a unique ability to combine visuals, text, links and two-way conversations with followers. For now, that’s an audience reach and level of engagement that can't be duplicated.

At Collider, Darren Aronofsky discusses his new docuseries One Strange Rock and environmental activism.

[One Strange Rock] is different from other portraits of the Earth right now because we were just interested in the science, and we approached it truthfully to the science. In science, you don't make a judgement beforehand. You just look at the systems that are in front of you and you're meant to observe, and then draw conclusions. It just is.

At The New Yorker, Naomi Fry reflects on the comedy of Garry Shandling, subject of Judd Apatow's new HBO documentary.

Patron saint of the lonely and the alienated, Shandling, in his comedy and in his person, showed that it was O.K. to hate yourself if you were hilarious about it; that, in fact, there was something honest, even honorable, about the endeavor; and that this honesty might even turn into something like love—for yourself, for others, for the world. Judd Apatow was Shandling's friend and mentee until the influential comic died of a heart attack in 2016, at the age of sixty-six. His latest tribute to the comedian—The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling—is a two-part, four-and-a-half-hour documentary, on HBO, which uses extensive archival materials to recount Shandling's life and legacy...

At Moviemaker, Christine Haroutounian reviews a new doc about the great Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Cut together with scenes from Uncle Boonmee and Cemetery of Splendor, along with extracts from many of his short film works, the approach of A.W. is also slow and melodious. Weerasethakul does not rush his creative process, which is a radical act in a world that demands perpetual novelty. The time to dream, however, is as critical as the time to act. Weerasethakul pushes for this balance as he admits he has to fight the urge to stay home with his partner and dogs.

At The New York Times, an obituary of Lawrence K. Grossman, head of PBS and then NBC News.

Lawrence K. Grossman, who as president of PBS doubled the length of "the MacNeil/Lehrer Report," its signature news program, then headed NBC News, where he dealt unhappily with budget austerity after it came under General Electric's ownership, died on Friday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 86. Mr. Grossman, a former advertising executive, transformed PBS over eight years. Despite his initial reluctance to spend the required money, PBS became the first broadcast network to deliver its programming by satellite.

From the archives, December 2016, "Stanley Nelson Makes History Sing"

Stanley Nelson has, for the past quarter-century, established himself as an indefatigable chronicler of the African-American experience, bringing to light the neglected stories of intrepid warriors who fought for their rightful place in the ongoing American narrative. From Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire, to Ida B. Wells and the daring legion of African-American journalists in the 19th and 20th centuries, to the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement, Nelson and his team at his company, Firelight Media, have created a living history of America's ongoing struggle to realize its democratic aims of freedom and liberty.

In the News:

'Laila At The Bridge' and 'The Raft' Are CPH:DOX Winners
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Cannes Shuts Out Netflix Films From Competition
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FX Wins Appellate Court Feud With Olivia de Havilland
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LeBron James, Stanley Nelson Team Up for Civil Rights Doc
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Morgan Spurlock Sued For Not Returning Funds on Female-Centric Docuseries Cancelled After Harassment Allegations
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