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Fast Foreword, The Editor's Column, Fall 2022

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

For me, the biennial Getting Real conference has been such a rich and rewarding well of ideas, issues, and themes to draw from, as I continually rethink our editorial strategy—so that we are truly serving the documentary community with a robust palette of content from around the world. Getting Real has always spurred me to consider where we need to go deeper and further as a publication.

With that, five of the articles we commissioned here complement the spirit of Getting Real, from different angles. Mariana Sanson talks to the programmatic masterminds behind the conference—Abby Sun, Chris Boeckmann, and Jonathan Ali—about this year’s theme, Flipping the Frame, and the challenges of staying ahead of the curve and true to the essence of Getting Real as a filmmaker-to-filmmaker event. One of the pillars of the conference, Community, connotes for us how the underseen are empowering themselves and knocking down the doors to be seen. Judy Kibinge, founder and head of Docubox, the Kenya-based nurturer of East African work, participated in Getting Real ‘20, Wilfred Okiche talks to her about growing her organization despite the precarity of funding and distribution. Speaking to the Imagination pillar, Nora Poggi talks to a wealth of scrappy distributors about sustaining a forward-thinking spirit amid a foreboding landscape of streaming juggernauts. And, finally, one of the ongoing staples of Getting Real has been the keynote addresses, which have served as both catalysts and provocations for an ever-evolving community. Sudipto Sanyal talks to Indian documentary master Anand Patwhardan about his cinematic fight for a just, secular and democratic nation, while Patricia Thomson engages POV Executive Producer Erika Dilday about the series’ 35 years of shaking and stirring the public media landscape.

Finally, this issue is Bedatri D. Choudhury’s final one as Managing Editor. In our all-too-short 16 months as collaborators, she has pushed me to greater heights, breadths and depths as an editor, writer, manager, and human, not only through her formidable network of journalists and cultural critics but more importantly, through her brilliance and kindness. Thank you, Bedatri, for reinforcing the essence of teamwork: looking together in the same direction.

Yours in actuality,

Tom White