Posts tagged Documentary

A History of Documentary + Technology
If you didn’t check it out last year, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and IDFA’s DocLab created a fantastically visual history of documentary in Moments of Innovation. It’s an interactive site that covers various histories of innovation in documentary such as location-based documentary, beginning with Sanborn fire insurance maps in 1867 and ending with Arcade Fire’s music video, The Wildnerness Downtown, or participatory documentary, beginning with the brownie camera and ending with #18daysinEgypt. 
They explain:

We are interested in history, in connecting the dots between our latest endeavors and those conceptual pioneers and technological prototypes that came before them. We consider innovation both in the creative application of new technologies and in the creative impulse that lead documentarians to invent new technologies.
We are interested in continuities and disruptions, in tracking down origins and inspirations. Although our theme is evolutionary, we do not assume that recent instances are better than earlier ones – they are different, and our goal is to recall those earlier instances, to learn from and to celebrate them.

FJP: Totally interesting to explore. And feel free make suggestions for innovative moments to be added. And here’s an LA Times review.

A History of Documentary + Technology

If you didn’t check it out last year, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and IDFA’s DocLab created a fantastically visual history of documentary in Moments of Innovation. It’s an interactive site that covers various histories of innovation in documentary such as location-based documentary, beginning with Sanborn fire insurance maps in 1867 and ending with Arcade Fire’s music video, The Wildnerness Downtown, or participatory documentary, beginning with the brownie camera and ending with #18daysinEgypt. 

They explain:

We are interested in history, in connecting the dots between our latest endeavors and those conceptual pioneers and technological prototypes that came before them. We consider innovation both in the creative application of new technologies and in the creative impulse that lead documentarians to invent new technologies.

We are interested in continuities and disruptions, in tracking down origins and inspirations. Although our theme is evolutionary, we do not assume that recent instances are better than earlier ones – they are different, and our goal is to recall those earlier instances, to learn from and to celebrate them.

FJP: Totally interesting to explore. And feel free make suggestions for innovative moments to be added. And here’s an LA Times review.

The pro‐life perspective is that if you show a woman that she has an 11‐week‐old fetus and she sees the movement, and that convinces her to keep the fetus, then isn’t that a good thing? Whereas a pro‐choice person would say she didn’t come in and know she was going to get a sonogram; there is no medical reason for it. So why are you offering a sonogram except to convince a woman not to have an abortion, which is what she really wanted to do?

Documentary filmmaker Raney Aronson as quoted in a fascinating case study in journalism ethics (by the Knight Case Studies Initiative at Columbia) called Frontline’s “The Last Abortion Clinic”: What’s Fair in a Video World?

Abstract:

This case takes students behind the scenes into the making of a news documentary for Frontline, produced at the PBS affiliate in Boston (WGBH). The case tells the story of the making of “The Last Abortion Clinic,” a 2005 documentary by producer Raney Aronson and her team. The documentary combined a legal story (developments in the abortion debate since Roe v. Wade) with personal stories—interviews with women in clinics who had confronted the abortion question in their own lives. It focused on the state of Mississippi, which had only one abortion clinic remaining. The case chronicles the evolution of a documentary from idea to finished form. Along the way, it highlights numerous editorial, logistical and ethical decisions Aronson faced in her quest to tell fairly a complex and value-laden story.

Read the PDF here.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music
Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.
These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.
Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Your Low Cost, No Cost & Creative Commons Guide to Licensing Music

Andreas Silenzi, Managing Director of the Free Music Archive, has a very handy Google spreadsheet that lists sound sources you can explore for your next media project.

These range from those with Creative Commons licenses to ones that are simply free to use to others that have rather nominal charges but are generally royalty free.

Check it: Free Music Archive Guide to Online Audio Resources.

Welcome to the Morgue

A few floors under Times Square is the “Morgue,” a New York Times archive repository of clippings and photographs dating back to the 1870s.

The archive holds 6-8 million physical photos, according to Jeff Roth, the morgue’s manager, about 98% of which have never been digitized.

"It’s an incredible collection of forgotten history," says the documentary filmmaker Katerina Cizek in the video above. Cizek spent a week in the morgue to gather materials for HIGHRISE, an interactive series created by The New York Times’s Op-Docs department and the National Film Board of Canada that explores the history of vertical living.

Haven’t seen it? We recommend you start exploring it now. Want more information about the multi-year series? Visit the NFB.

The funny thing is that there was a period of time where Hollywood films sucked. Really, really bad, you know? Just a lot of violence, a lot of gimmicks, and people just got tired of it. Then the reality show is not really reality. So documentary got more and more popular and the Oscars are really pushing right now, pushing for documentaries. And people are much more sophisticated. They realize that documentaries are not only educational, they also have entertainment elements.
Christine Choy, film professor at New York University in an interview with the FJP on the changing climate of documentary distribution in the video-on-demand world. 
So internationally, you have to envision before you make the film. Before you make the film, who’s the market you’re talking about? Schools don’t teach that shit. These kind of things, unless you do it, it all becomes very abstract.

Christine Choy, a film professor at New York University speaking to the FJP about the ever-changing and increasingly complex world of distribution for documentary filmmakers. She went on to explain how important envisioning your market is: 

Well, international film markets, each country is different. Japan for instance does pay a lot. I would say probably 450$ a minute. Okay? But it has to have something in relation with Japan. So if you do an international market you have to have a financial and business plan before hand. I was just filming Ghana. Ghana doesn’t have any money. China has money. So, the content of the film you can’t do anti-China, so the content of the market is closely related. I did a film about the Nanking Massacre but the title is In the Name of the Emperor. So you have “emperor” and educators want to buy it but they don’t like the title. Are you willing to change the title? I said yes. But they ultimately are too scared. Too scared to show the film, so they didn’t purchase.

And language is important. America is the only country where people do not like to watch documentaries with subtitles. Europe, yeah. Southern European countries, it’s mandatory to have subtitles. Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Netherlands but not Italy, not Poland, not Yugoslavia for instance. They product simultaneously could have multi-languages. They signed a deal, the southern European countries. If I produce a film in France, you have an English version. That’s why they always have an M&E track. [“Music and Effects” track, contains all sound except dialogue.]

What are the Top 100 Grossing Feature Docs of All Time all about?
Stats show that the top 100 documentaries are pretty even when it comes to content and genre. It’s no surprise that biography is slightly in the lead (29/100). These numbers are very significant however, because it shows that there’s no “golden formula” for what documentaries will become box office hits. What matters is the quality of the story you tell and the audience you’re telling it to.—Gabbi 

What are the Top 100 Grossing Feature Docs of All Time all about?

Stats show that the top 100 documentaries are pretty even when it comes to content and genre. It’s no surprise that biography is slightly in the lead (29/100). These numbers are very significant however, because it shows that there’s no “golden formula” for what documentaries will become box office hits. What matters is the quality of the story you tell and the audience you’re telling it to.—Gabbi 

PRESS: IN THE FLESH

maxwellcollins:

Here are some images from my recent series featuring portraits of employees from The Buffalo News printed on top of collages of newspaper.  

Statement

'Press: In the Flesh' is portrait series featuring photographs of all the different characters involved in the 24-hour business of print journalism including all the editors, writers and photographers that make a daily newspaper possible. 

What makes this body of work unique is that the subjects are printed directly on top of the newspaper they contribute to, adding another dimension to the image that not only speaks to the individual, but infuses them with the product they work so hard to produce. 

As we embark deeper into the digital age, the security of the printed word continues to waiver, which will allow these portraits to act as an artifact in the future of how newspapers were once produced.

FJP: Thanks for sharing, Max. It’s fantastic.

Oh the Irony: ‘Rewind This!’ Documentary About the VHS Will Premiere Exclusively on iTunes
Via IndieWire: 

"After watching ‘Rewind This!,’ we immediately recognized the parallels between the rise of the VHS movement and the birth of the digital space," said FilmBuff’s Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman. “Both revolutionized the ways in which film buffs could discover and consume movies.”

Bonus: Go here to read the awesome review for Rewind This! The film will be available September 10th on Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Xbox, Sony Playstation, Cinemanow, and Vudu. 

Oh the Irony: ‘Rewind This!’ Documentary About the VHS Will Premiere Exclusively on iTunes

Via IndieWire

"After watching ‘Rewind This!,’ we immediately recognized the parallels between the rise of the VHS movement and the birth of the digital space," said FilmBuff’s Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman. “Both revolutionized the ways in which film buffs could discover and consume movies.”

Bonus: Go here to read the awesome review for Rewind This! The film will be available September 10th on Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Xbox, Sony Playstation, Cinemanow, and Vudu. 

Of the TOP 100 grossing feature documentaries of all time, 39 have a celebrity/political figure’s name in the title.
This is a significant statistic, because there were other movies about celebrities that didn’t have their name in the title. Of course, the title is the fulcrum of the entire marketing campaign and it’s what you remember the most! 
Also, Justin Beiber: Never Say Never is the 4th highest grossing documentary ever. I’m ashamed of all of you. — Gabbi

Of the TOP 100 grossing feature documentaries of all time, 39 have a celebrity/political figure’s name in the title.

This is a significant statistic, because there were other movies about celebrities that didn’t have their name in the title. Of course, the title is the fulcrum of the entire marketing campaign and it’s what you remember the most! 

Also, Justin Beiber: Never Say Never is the 4th highest grossing documentary ever. I’m ashamed of all of you. — Gabbi

Duct Tape Surfing

From the there’s-something-in-our-eyes department, via Pozible:

Duct Tape Surfing started when Ty said he could surf with me (Pascale) taped to his back.

I have been in a wheelchair for 18 years after a car accident left me a T4 paraplegic. The first time I saw the ocean I was mesmerized and just wanted to live by the water. My two sons have grown up surfing, and watching them has made me want to get in the waves with them. It wasn’t until Ty’s suggestion that I could feel what it’s like to be a surfer.

Since December we have been surfing a lot, using a backpack bought from K-Mart and a roll of duct tape; we even made the front page of the Sunday Mail!

Learn more about Pascale and her surfing adventures on Facebook.

Disney Docs
Did you know that 4 of the top 15 grossing documentaries of all time are associated with Disney? The films include Oceans, African Cats, Earth, and Chimpanzee. — Gabbi

Disney Docs

Did you know that of the top 15 grossing documentaries of all time are associated with Disney? The films include Oceans, African Cats, Earth, and Chimpanzee. — Gabbi

Documenting Documentaries
Did you know that of the TOP 25 grossing feature documentaries of all time, that 5 were directed by Micheal Moore? The films are Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Roger & Me, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story. Moore is a director and producer of documentaries, as well as an activist. However, he’s also a controversial figure and his style of documentaries showed the world that documentaries weren’t just “talking heads,” they could be funny, entertaining and dramatic as well. — Gabbi

Documenting Documentaries

Did you know that of the TOP 25 grossing feature documentaries of all time, that were directed by Micheal Moore? The films are Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Roger & Me, Sicko, and Capitalism: A Love Story. Moore is a director and producer of documentaries, as well as an activist. However, he’s also a controversial figure and his style of documentaries showed the world that documentaries weren’t just “talking heads,” they could be funny, entertaining and dramatic as well. — Gabbi

I think I am a late bloomer. I think I’m getting less in my own way.

Errol Morris, documentary film maker and writer, to the Boston Globe.

The Globe profile focuses on the 65-year-old Morris’ involvement in and defense of Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, “a unique documentary in which the squad leaders of Indonesia’s mid-1960s mass killings confront their crimes by reenacting them for the camera.”