May 11, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of May 7

From PJ Raval's 'Call Her Ganda'

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, James Rose examines four ways that journalism is under attack around the world.

As journalists, society’s eminent storytellers, lose their jobs and their industry implodes, the privilege of whom actually gets to tell the story, to articulate immanence, is up for grabs. Governments, like corporations, have found ways to game the vacuum, ensuring their agendas and narratives are secured, unfiltered and unexamined, in the vaults of public fact. As a result, the ability of global citizens to make informed decisions is severely impaired.

From the Film Independent blog, Anthony Ferranti has polled a strong cross-section of docmakers for their insights into optimal gear for their process.

Story is king, but a king cannot stand alone. Which is why choosing the right equipment can have a significant impact on how you construct your narrative. There are a lot of things to consider here. I'm going to approach making these choices from several angles, all with the help of some very generous and extremely talented nonfiction filmmakers.

From Filmmaker, Lauren Wissot talks to PJ Raval about his latest film, Call Her Ganda, about the murder of a Filipina trans sex worker at the hands of a US Marine.

It's not a coincidence the subjects of Call Her Ganda are all women and trans women. In the Philippines, at the forefront of this movement were those who have been constantly subjected to violence and abuse due to increased militarization—not only women, queer women, trans women, and women-identified individuals, but also mothers, daughters, and sisters. But the Philippines has always had strong female leaders—there was a woman president long before the US had even had a woman presidential nominee. The Philippines also has one of the first openly trans congress members. So in a lot of ways the Philippines is much more gender-inclusive and progressive than "the West."

From, New Zealand filmmaker Dan Sadgrove talks about his life as a globe-trotting philosopher/filmmaker.

I always go back to this quote by Warner Herzog. He says, "filmmaking—like great literature—must have experience of life at its foundation." Go walk on foot, learn crafts and trades. Get away from cinema completely. All of my films are based on my experiences in life, so I think studying filmmaking didn’t do as much as being out in the world. The way I work—I'm not really sure about other filmmakers—but I get most of my ideas from just exploring. 

From the Archives: April 2017: "Center for Media at Risk Launches as Bulwark Against Global Political Intimadation"

There are a couple of ways in which this is a little bit different than any other quasi-similar endeavor out there. One, we're thinking globally. We're thinking, Why is it that the courts get involved in certain countries and harassment techniques [are practiced] in other countries? We're thinking across media platforms, so it's not just documentary. It's also journalism and it's entertainment and it's digital practice for as much as those can be distinct from each other. So not to get all of these different forms speaking with each other and practitioners in each of these different entities aware of what's going on across the board, I think, is a real mistake.

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