October 19, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of October 15

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 Steve Rose assesses the plethora of Trump docs as the midterm elections loom.  

Rather than a test for Trump’s presidency, this could turn out to be a testing time for documentary itself. The intention for these films to sway hearts, minds and voting intentions. But let’s also admit that Trump sells because outrage sells. Trump has caused such disruption and division, and so brazenly made everything about himself, he seems to be the only story in town.

From BOMB magazine, , filmmaker Penny Lane talks to filmmaker Lana Wilson about her new series, A Cure for Fear, which brought her into the world of phobias and psychiatry. 

I wanted to know about the performative elements. I wanted to know what that intense fear looked like. I also was drawn to the gray areas where it’s not as simple as, "This does or doesn’t work." More like—what does it mean if this works? What do our emotions consist of? When should we try to change them versus letting them be what they are?


Writing for MovieMaker, Remi Kessler talks about the making of his film The Advocates, which addresses the homeless crisis in Los Angeles.

When I began working on the film in May 2015, I did what any documentary moviemaker would. I researched, then researched some more, and then jumped into the field with both feet, but no camera. Building a trust and understanding for the lay of the land before picking up my camera mattered more than usual here. The position of people experiencing homelessness is vulnerable. Eventually I threw out my script and my six-month initial timeframe for filming, and decided to go where the stories took me, for as long as was necessary. To say that my producer and editor, Robert McFalls, wasn’t a fan of this choice would be the understatement of the year. Luckily for me, he stuck with it and ultimately pushed me to go deeper.

LeBron James just made his debut as a Los Angeles Laker, but he's been an LA resident for three years, and through his company, SpringHill Entertainment, he has produced five documentary projects for five different outlets over the past year, and he shows no sign of slowing down as the NBA season kicks off. IndieWire's Steve Green takes stock of SpringHill's pipeline.

Even before he sets foot on the court in an NBA game this season, LeBron James has had quite a year. Continuing a steady stream of film and TV projects through his SpringHill Entertainment and longtime manager Maverick Carter, the basketball megastar has amassed an impressive list of development partnerships across the media landscape.

With 25 editions of Romania's biggest documentary film festival under his belt, Astra Film Festival's founding director, Dumitru Budrala, talks about the event's challenges, goals and overall mission with cineuropa.

When we started the festival back in 1993, we started totally from scratch. Nobody knew anything about non-fiction cinema then, and the documentary genre was mistaken for TV science shows. The idea of having a cultural event organised by someone who was not at all connected with the state institutions seemed like an extravagance. Astra Film Festival was an innovative project in the context of the entire region of South-Eastern Europe, and those years were full of emotions, incertitude and challenges.

Realscreen covers new report on the Canadian documentary landscape.

While it’s now easier than ever to find documentary content, Canadian audiences still have a hard time sourcing local docs, according to Hot Docs’ latest study on Canadian documentary viewing habits. The new report, titled “2018 Documentary Audience Reach,” builds off of the organization’s 2014 report prepared by Communications MDR, and examines Canadian audiences viewing habits amidst changes in technology, culture and the market.

Get the 101 on how to use blockchain in film production and distribution on Film Independent's new blog.

Over the past few years there’s been a lot of discussion about blockchain technology as related to the production and distribution of digital media. And if you’re like me, a lot of this discussion tends to sail right over your head. But here’s some good news: it doesn’t have to.


From the Archive: November 2004 issue  "9/11 Docuganda: Figuring out the 'Fahrenheit' Phenomenon"

It wasn't that long ago that Bowling for Columbine had documentary filmmakers heralding the new "golden age" of docs. Now that Fahrenheit 9/11 has hit center stage, it seems that documentary is ready to take a significant place both economically and editorially in the world of ideas. But within documentary circles, this explosion of media interest and the sniffing around of studio executives is being met with a mix of suspicion and regret.


In the News

2018 Gotham Awards Nominations: 'The Favourite' and 'First Reformed' Lead the Pack


'Free Solo' Leads Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Nominations With Six; Michael Moore Set For Career Honor


Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy honored with The Eliasson Global Leadership Prize 2018


Five Independent Artists Bring Art and Science Together


DOC NYC Announces Inaugural "40 UNDER 40" LIST


Turkish Film Festivals in Flux amid Claims of Political Interference and Boycotts


Microsoft Co-founder, Vulcan Productions Chairman Paul Allen Dies at 65


Google Play Movies Might Soon Upgrade Your Movies to 4K for Free


WNET Will Launch All Arts, Streaming Platform and Broadcast Channel for Creative Expression