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Michael Lumpkin on Why Docmakers Need to GET REAL

By KJ Relth

In a recent interview with TheWrap, IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin was asked to discuss the current boom in documentary filmmaking. Excerpts from his interview were published in the piece Is This the Death of the Big Screen Documentary?, in which filmmaker Joe Berlinger also weighs in on how technology and contemporary distribution methods have been both "a blessing and a curse."

"An individual can pretty easily and cheaply put their film online; whether anyone sees or finds it is another matter," Michael Lumpkin, executive director of the International Documentary Association, told TheWrap. "There are more opportunities over the last several years—there have been a constant parade of new platforms to watch movies online. But I think for filmmakers, not enough of those opportunities are actually financial opportunities."

Lumpkin noted that his organization has seen a continual uptick in the number of documentaries submitted for awards consideration, which is their best measurement of the number of films that come out in the genre each year.

Like so much in the docmaking profession, the future of documentaries on the big screen is murky. Recognizing this concern, the International Documentary Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has developed GETTING REAL, an unprecedented 3-day national conference for documentary filmmakers. GETTING REAL hopes to ignite what is desperately needed in the documentary community: a frank public conversation about the state of our industry that will lead to action and change. Held from September 30 to October 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, the conference will feature a curated selection of compelling topics including filmmaker pay, transparency, equity funding, ethics, and public media utilizing formats designed to be interactive, dynamic, and productive.

Learn more about the conference and register at

Read the full article on TheWrap.