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Essential Doc Reads: Week of Sept 28

By KJ Relth

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! 

Dan Mirvish at Filmmaker Magazine lays out eight different strategies for dealing with piracy:

"As independent filmmakers, we have a more nuanced relationship with the pirates. As 'gifted and misunderstood artists,' we want to share our art with the world. So, the more people who see it, the merrier! And, as 'content creators,' we want to expand our personal branding and rack up our hits, clicks, tweets and swipes. However, as 'entrepreneurial producers' building sustainable careers, we want to make money from our films. Furthermore, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our investors to make sure we get paid every time someone watches them."

Hyperallergic speaks with filmmaker and art historian James Crump about his upcoming documentary Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art:

"I think filming the sites, some from the air, gave me a much greater sense of the magnitude of the projects, their enormity, and the danger involved and the nearly impossible feats these artists performed to get their respective works completed in unforgiving circumstances. Who today would risk their lives for their art like the artists in the film who literally did? I now better understand the frustrations and contradictions of recording the works with film, given the enormous technological leaps with digital and lens-based technologies that allowed us to make a truly immersive and experiential cinematic experience."

Indiewire went to NYFF Convergence to cover how content marketing campaigns are marrying creative freedom with meaningful brand communications to tell stories that matter:

"Garfield asked the directors how they managed to balance the commercial aspect, documentary aspect and sponsor's name in the films. Kauffman admitted that finding out that a corporation does something good actually makes it easier and more inspiring to make a film -- every film is a balancing act, not just this film, and they were all on the same page that the message was good and positive for this film. Davidson said that he felt a responsibility to make it, and the passionate people working at the hospital inspired him to make the film. Both films seamlessly showed how Toyota helped these people, without much obvious brand marketing."

Variety interviews Raney Aronson-Rath on the eve of her inaugural season as FRONTLINE's new executive producer:

"We found the appetite for Frontline has only grown as the digital landscape has exploded. The appetite for the reporting we do on our digital platforms to the short films we’re doing for our Facebook and YouTube channels. And we’re still producing these remarkable long-form films. There’s an incredible feedback loop between what we can publish iteratively and our films. There are no silos at Frontline. Our digital team works with our filmmakers and our filmmakers work with our digital team. They’re always in touch and they’re always talking. You won’t see us publishing for publishing’s sake. You’ll see us publishing intentionally and with thought. We don’t rush. I’ve always said you never need to apologize for not publishing; you only need to apologize when you publish too quickly. That’s baked into our DNA."

From the archives, June 2004 -- When documentary and fiction breed to create a better truth: 

"The history of documentaries as a film genre is a history of addressing the question of what constitutes the representation of social reality. The narrative film, however, is an attempt to create an imaginative conception of what is called reality. The blurring of these forms—documentary and fictional narrative—is a creative and interpretive challenge that filmmakers have been concerned with since the inception of cinema in the late 19th century."


In the news:

British journalists face five years in Indonesian jail for visa violation
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Phil Lord and Chris Miller Adapting 'Serial' Podcast for Television (Really!)
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Laura Poitras takes documentaries into the future with Field of Vision
read more