September 23, 2019

Essential Doc Reads: Week of September 16

From Orlando von Einsiedel's 'Lost and Found." Courtesy of National Geographic

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!

IndieWire's Erik Kohn talked to filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel about his slate of short docs he's making for The Nobel prize and National Geographic.

"It's not a financially stable way to work, but it’s lovely to be able to do something relatively quickly," he said. "You can find a story and shoot in a reasonable period of time and the edits don’t take long. 'Virunga' took a year to edit. With shorts, creatively it’' really satisfying because you can wrap it up."

Filmmaker's Matt Prigge's reports on the IFP Week's panel "Out of Bounds," which looked at experimental docmaking.

Any kind of nonfiction project is open-ended to some degree," Jonathan Bogarín said. "You're dealing with real people and you're developing and exploring and dealing with things as you go. What makes something seem out of bounds is if you make decisions that tell the story in non-traditional ways."

Writing for Realscreen, documentary producer Michael Cascio contends that a documentary's "success" in the small screen space is not solely defined by ratings.

So, if it's not always ratings, how do you determine what’s successful? I've tried to categorize the ways that I've witnessed industry leaders positioning their offerings in the marketplace, in addition to ratings or the size of viewership.

IndieWire's Tambay Obenson talks to BET+'s Devin Griffin about their strategy for the launch of this new streaming platform.

"The onus is on us to figure out how we identify, target and engage with folks who would love what we're creating, because we're moving to a world where things don't have to be niche anymore," he said. "It’' a matter of leveraging the tools that we have to collect eyeballs. What's really nice is that we don't have to collect them all at once, as you would have needed to under the traditional model. We're just trying to gear ourselves up to be able to provide the best entertainment options for our audience."

Writing for Peter Broderick’s Distribution Bulletin, filmmaker Keith Ochwat discusses the importance of partnerships in building your distribution infrastructure.

Power partners can take many forms: an advocacy group with 50 state chapters; a Fortune 500 company that supports causes aligned with your film; an Executive Producer that backs you financially and opens doors to more support; the organizer of a national conference of influencers.

Dear Producer’s Rebecca Green talked to Cinereach Producer Award-winner Jessica Devaney about her company Multitude Films, her nonprofit management skills, and the pros and cons of self-distribution. 

While independently producing, I realized pretty quickly the limits to scaling up. Working alone, I noticed how much it helped to systematize the parts that can be "rinse and repeat" in making documentaries. So much is unpredictable in documentary, but if you have an infrastructure in place and people doing the same roles and understanding how to run the same parts of the process in similar ways, it really takes out a layer of the work. With a stable core producing team, I could really start to scale up.

From the Archive, February 2017, "Hope amidst Carnage: 'The White Helmets' Profiles an Intrepid Syrian Rescue Team"

"When we began with this story, we considered making this a feature instead of a short. But we felt very early on, that we just couldn't spend two or three years making a film about the Syrian situation because it's so urgent and we really felt this story needed to get out as soon as possible."

In the News


Toronto International Film Festival Announces Award Winners


"Erde," "The Cave" Take Major Awards at Camden International Film Festival


Frederick Wiseman To Be Honored at Critics Choice Documentary Awards


Screen Australia, Al Jazeera Open Competition for Early Career Doc-Makers


SFFILM Unveils 2019 Vulcan Productions Environmental Fellowships


Andrews Berends Film Fellowship: Call for Submissions


International Emmy Nominees Revealed


Netflix Plans To Pay Bonuses to Filmmakers When Movies Succeed


New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones To Step Down


CNN Beats Journalist's Copyright Suit over Gilda Radner Documentary


Judge Declines HBO's Request To Throw Out "Leaving Neverland" Lawsuit