October 27, 2017

Essential Doc Reads Week of October 23

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!

From IndieWire, Liz Manne, executive producer on such documentaries as Lucky, Heart of the Game and Fall from Grace, recounts her days at New Line/Fine Line, another toxic hotbed of sexual harassment.

What I realize now, and didn’t then, was that my exit contract from New Line—garden-variety corporate legalese that had nothing to do with my sexual assault or harassment—constituted the real crime against my person. It was a permanent gag (a chillingly apt term) that ensured my enduring status as chattel of a publicly traded multinational media corporation. One man assaulted and harassed me. But it was my fear of an army of corporate litigators that held me enslaved in silence for decades to follow.

From Salon, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson, whose Cameraperson aired on POV this week, reflects on the reactions to her film over the past year.

What a thrill it has been to see the incredible range of people who relate to this film. This was my secret hope in making it, but I first started on it out of a deep need within myself to question the many meanings and consequences of image-making over time.

In anticipation of a special screening of doc hit Kedi on National Cat Day this Sunday, Film School Rejects' Tomris Laffley, who shares a Turkish heritage with Kedi filmmaker Ceyda Torun, reflects on the film's unique appeal.

As a Turk myself who spent a decent chunk of her life in Istanbul, I have certainly enjoyed hearing my American colleagues pronounce the word kedi over the last few months. (They do a pretty good job, to be honest.) It felt like Ceyda Torun's documentary really spread a piece of my culture and background to people in faraway places that have never experienced it first-hand.

From The New York Times, Rachel Syme talks to Griffin Dunne and Annabella Dunne about their documentary about their aunt, Joan Didion.

Ms. Didion was also savvy about whom she chose as her documentarians. She had been approached several times by filmmakers, but she turned them all down, Mr. Dunne said. It was only when she felt that the movie could stay within the family that she allowed unprecedented access to her archive and granted her nephew a series of frank interviews in a process that proved personally wrenching for him. As a member of a family that has been particularly touched by loss and grief, Mr. Dunne had to experience past tragedies all over again in order to make the film.

From HipinPakistan.com, Saira Khan discusses IDA Board Member Senain Kheshgi's Web series Divas of Karachi.

Another thing which we feel the viewers will enjoy with Divas of Karachi is seeing Pakistan, especially Karachi, in a very different light. Quite often Karachi has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and so seeing these brilliant people enjoying their work and city as well as making a difference in some else's life will show that humor and fun does also exist in this part of the country as well.

From Film Comment, Nicolas Rapold interviews Errol Morris about his upcoming Netflix series Wormwood.

There's one obvious opportunity—it's longer. But it's really incredibly different. First of all, it's episodic, so you have, in some sense, six separate films which are joined together. There’s that ongoing issue of, how do you keep people interested, the necessity of constructing cliffhangers at the end of each episode to keep people coming back for more. And it allowed me to play all kinds of different games than I would have been able to play in something that was a straight feature. Maybe not impossible but certainly more difficult.

From Hyperallergic, Allison Meier reports on New Dimensions in Testimony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a unique oral history/AR project from the Shoah Foundation and the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC.

"[The Visual History Archive] is an invaluable resource, but we also saw how survivors can make a connection to people when they meet in person,' Josh Grossberg, public communications manager at the USC Shoah Foundation, told Hyperallergic. "Unfortunately, the survivors won’t be with us forever, so we wanted to find a way to maintain that connection in the most realistic way possible."

From the Archive, Spring 2014: "Challenging the Believing-Is-Seeing Mindset: Errol Morris on Donald Rumsfeld and 'The Unknown Known'"

"I've made so many movies over the years about characters who seem to be utterly clueless about who they are and what they have done," says Morris. "Whether it's Fred Leuchter in Mr. Death, or David Harris in The Thin Blue Line...a whole array of characters over the years. And probably first and foremost among them is Donald Rumsfeld, a man absolutely convinced of his own rectitude. There's this huge, yawning gulf between how he sees himself and what he's done, and the reality of who he is and what he's done. And that's really what the movie's about."


In the News

The World is Finally ready for The Hunting Ground Duo’s Next Doc


170 Documentary Features Submitted for Oscar Consideration


Tribeca Film Institute Announces New Partnership with Screeningroom for Its If/Then Short Documentary Program


Netflix to raise $1.6 B to Fund Content


Dennis Doros Elected President of the Association of Moving Image Archivists