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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Fall 2016

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

The first Getting Real conference in 2014 bore all the resonance and impact of a stunning first film. Billed as a filmmaker-to-filmmaker event, the conference inspired and galvanized the documentary community into taking action about the issues that concerned us most. The demand for the next Getting Real was immediate.

And so, after two years of planning, traveling around the country and beyond to listen to the concerns and goals of the community, and creating a program that would build upon the foundation that was laid in 2014, Getting Real returns—not as a sequel, exactly, but more as a sui generis happening. Taking Art, Diversity and Sustainability as the driving themes, the Getting Real team—led by Ken Jacobson, Simon Kilmurry, Amy Halpin, Katy Chevigny, Chloe Sosa-Sims and Jai Tiggett—has created a three-day docupalooza that promises to forge a stronger, wiser and more emboldened community.

Think of this Getting Real issue of Documentary as not a house program, but a tangential document that addresses the conference both directly and obliquely. Kicking off the series of articles, Suz Curtis talks to the aforementioned programming team—Jacobson, Chevigny, Sosa-Sims and Tiggett—about their process for developing Getting Real ’16 and their hopes for this edition. Addressing the Art pillar of the conference, Lauren Wissot interviews Robert Greene about his latest film, Kate Plays Christine, and the elasticity of cinematic nonfiction, while Akiva Gottlieb rounds up a cross-section of international and specified festival programmers to discuss their strategies for testing the parameters of the documentary form. Weighing in on the Diversity strand, Caty Borum Chattoo and Leena Jayaswal transformed their personal perspectives on interracial marriage and biracial parenting into MIXED, a film about biraciality in America, 50 years after the Loving v. Virginia decision passed by the US Supreme Court, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws. Chattoo shares what she and Jayaswal learned on their cross-country production journey. Addressing Sustainability, a fair number of filmmakers, facing prohibitive cost-of-living situations in the Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles, have transplanted to more affordable locations to carry out more sustainable careers. Lauren Wissot talks to a handful of filmmakers about the pluses and pitfalls of living and working in flyover country.

As we count down to Getting Real ’16—and as we go to press with this issue—check for more content. Caty Borum Chattoo, wearing her educator’s hat, will share the findings that she and her team at Center for Media & Social Impact gathered on the documentary career; filmmakers Laura Nix and Tina DeFeliciantonio talk to us about their ongoing efforts to make sustainability a front-and-center issue for the private and public sectors to tackle; and we will spotlight a special convening of Asian American filmmakers.

Yours in actuality,

Tom White