September 14, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of Sept. 10

From Irene Lusztig's  "Yours In Sisterhood," screening this weekend at Camden International Film Festival. Courtesy of Women Make Movies)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!

Filmmaker Magazine releases their 25 New Faces of Film list for 2018.

Since I first worked at Filmmaker 10 years ago, I have been passionate about the 25 New Faces list, its importance and its ability to transform the career of filmmakers who truly deserve it. The list has also spawned an event that is an antidote to the big festivals — no distractions, no competitive vibe, no industry presence — and, at a time when social media makes us feel like we’re all closer together, creates an environment that allows filmmakers to truly connect.

Paula Bernstein writes on the 40th anniversary of IFP week for Filmmaker Magazine.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, IFP Week through its various incarnations has served as an unofficial rite of passage for filmmakers, helping to launch the careers of some of the most original and acclaimed voices in independent film and television.

In Realscreen, Frederick Blichert covers the state of documentary acquisitions at TIFF.

New distribution channels and ancillary markets were in the spotlight at the TIFF Doc Conference panel “What do sales agents and film representatives want?” on Tuesday (Sept. 11). The panel, hosted and moderated by TIFF’s international documentary programmer Thom Powers, explored the strategies used by buyers in identifying promising projects as part of the 2018 TIFF Industry Conference. The main focus of the panelists was on the diversity of platforms for non-fiction projects, and the availability of secondary markets to exploit intellectual property.

Realscreen's Selina Chignall reports on the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)'s gender parity and inclusion pledge.

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) has signed a pledge to ensure gender parity and inclusion ahead of the opening of its 31st edition this November. Launched at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the 5050×2020 Pledge for Gender Parity and Inclusion in Film Festivals requests that film festivals around the globe promise to bring greater transparency and parity to the industry by “undertaking a strict series of measures on transparency and accountability.”

For Hyperallergic, Dan Schindel writes on the live readings of unpublished letters in Irene Lusztig's Yours in Sisterhood.

The conceit of the movie Yours in Sisterhood is simple: People read unpublished letters written to Ms. magazine between 1972 and 1980. These people live in the same towns from which the letters were originally sent. Information on the original senders beyond that postmark is unknown both to them and us. Sometimes the performers simply read their letters; other times they muse on or respond to the words. Director Irene Lusztig arranged for and filmed over 300 such readings in 32 states, and then winnowed them down to around two dozen. Within the parameters she’s established, the documentary, screening this weekend at the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF), finds many different ways to prod at and muse on feminism now versus in the 1970s.


The New York Times' Sam Roberts notes the passing of Andre Blay, the man credited for putting films on videotape. 

Andre Blay, whose innovative idea of marketing Hollywood movies on videocassettes sparked an entertainment industry bonanza and a revolution in television viewing, died on Aug. 24 in Bonita Springs, Fla. He was 81.

From the Archive—March 2005: "Brandon Tells Her Story: Back in the (New) Day of Social Issue Films"

"What was so unusual for the Women's Movement and filmmakers like myself," says Liane Brandon, recalling a period when both were just starting out, "was that the lives of ordinary women had not been the subject of documentary films. When I asked distributors why, I was told, 'Who cares?'" But Brandon did care. A founding member of New Day Films, the New York-based collective of social-issue media makers and distributors, she made her first important film about sex-role stereotyping, Sometimes I Wonder Who I Am, in 1970, and followed it with Anything You Want to Be (1971), Betty Tells Her Story (1972) and Once Upon a Choice (1980), among other later social-issue films.

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