Articles Tagged Documentary

Docurama on the Rise

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At the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Steve Savage and Susan Margolin, the two minds behind New Video, a New York-based entertainment marketing and sales company, watched as tickets for documentaries were snatched up left and right. They witnessed audiences line up to get into sold-out theaters. They saw documentary after documentary screen with standing room… Read more »

The Many Meanings of “Fair Use”

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So your documentary has commercial interest and high revenue earning potential. And you’ve secured all of the agreements, releases, and licenses for the film, except for one piece of vintage footage that’s not quite in the public domain (material which can be used freely by anyone because it was created before 1923), but it’s “pretty… Read more »

What if nobody "gets" my film?

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Dear Doc Doctor: Nobody seems to like my film—they say it’s unclear and hard to follow. Why aren’t they getting the story? If people are “not liking your story,” you have to accept it. If people are “not getting your story,” you have to work on it. Knowing the difference… as priceless as a packed… Read more »

The BBC Bully

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Nick Fraser’s career has been a constant battle between “what I will and won’t do for television,” says the 57-year-old series editor of the BBC’s international documentary showcase “Storyville.” A kind of documentary filmmaking godfather, Fraser is able to fund dozens of films each year, but he’s waged a war on media bias—whether that’s what… Read more »

Where Are We Going?

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The question on everyone’s mind is, Will it last? Documentaries are the hot cultural phenomenon at the moment, and in a society where change is tantamount to breathing, one cannot help wondering if the next “it” thing will simply overtake their sudden and ubiquitous popularity. This is a discouraging thought, as documentaries have a value… Read more »

Double Vision

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The so-called “Film Brat” generation of the middle to late 1970s has been blamed for, or credited with, many things regarding independent filmmaking—from sparking off a studio-sanctioned Golden Age (Scorsese, Coppola) to ushering in a studio-sanctioned Dark Age (Lucas, Spielberg). But whatever the myths or merits of that motley band, there’s no denying one salient… Read more »

From Idea to Story

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Suppose that you’re thinking of doing a documentary film about Elvis Presley, or a diner in your home town, or images of Islam in American popular culture. Something about the topic has caught your interest, and you think you want to take it to the next level. First, ask yourself what it is about the… Read more »

Sundance Institute Documentary Program

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What is the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund? It’s a fund to support documentaries in the US and internationally that deal with contemporary human rights issues, social justice, civil liberties, and freedom of expression. It used to be the Soros Documentary Fund. How long has the fund been with Sundance? It’s been here for two years…. Read more »

Distributor FAQ: Wellspring Media

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What is Wellspring Media? Lidell: It’s one of the only independent film distributors that has the capacity to distribute theatrically, on television, domestically, internationally, and on home video. It’s the successor company to Winstar and Fox Lorber. Guirgis: We also have a department that co-produces documentaries between acquisitions and international sales, so basically we raise… Read more »

Beth Harrington

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It’s been said that every filmmaker secretly wants to be a rock star, and vice versa. Beth Harrington has been both. In what she calls “a former lifetime,” she performed with Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. She’s since worked on an array of documentary programs, from NOVA to Frontline to Health Quarterly. But her… Read more »