November 3, 2017

Essential Doc Reads: Week of October 30

Comedian Issa Rae. Bret Hartman for The Washington Post, via Getty Images.

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 The New York Times, comedian W. Kamau Bell argues that net neutrality is crucial for both artists and activists.

The exchange of information and ideas that takes place on the internet is more important now than ever. To protect it, we need to keep the current net neutrality rules in places. We need them to ensure that people working to make the world better can reach their intended audiences. We need them to ensure that artists everywhere continue to have a platform through which we can discover their work. Right now, the internet is a level playing field. The question the Trump administration needs to answer is: Why would you want to change that?

At Filmkommentaren, Dok Leipzig festival director Leena Pasanen announces a quota for female filmmakers.

"It would be easy to blame others, say that we are just the receiving end, and the problem is in funding and production. There surely are structural issues, and we need a proper research to look into the problem. But it is also our duty as one of the leading festivals to push for the change. For the film selection of 2018 and 2019 the head of the selection committee Ralph Eue and I have decided to put a quota in our German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film for female filmmakers. I'm well aware that there will be strong voices against this quota, also from women filmmakers, but I can only say, sometimes you need strong decisions to break the tradition and push for a change.  We cannot have another year, without female voices in German competition."

At Realscreen, a Q&A with Beth Hoppe of PBS asks where the TV industry is headed.

"The good news for everyone is that people love video content and lots of it. And I think the good news for PBS is that in a more fragmented media environment, brand will matter more than ever. We’ve worked hard to ensure PBS is a trusted and valued brand that audiences know will deliver content of the highest quality available across PBS stations and a wide array of digital and mobile distribution platforms including, AppleTV and Roku, among others."

At The New York Times, Canadian doc filmmaker Barry Avrich wants a second shot at making his film about Harvey Weinstein.

Mr. Avrich said on Wednesday that he will rework his documentary, Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project, in the wake of sexual harassment and rape allegations against Mr. Weinstein. “I have a moral obligation to edit and expand my film, and not just by tacking on an 11-minute ending about him as a sexual predator,” Mr. Avrich said by phone from Ottawa.


From the archives, February 2005, "Doyennes of Doc TV: European Television"

The women interviewed for this article have been in the documentary business for a long time. They come from different cultural backgrounds and have contributed to the development of the documentary genre by virtue of their personalities and enthusiasm. But what does it take to do the work of a commissioning editor, and does gender play a role in the way these women go about their jobs?

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