Some highlights of the headlines pertaining to documentary for the last week and some commentary here and there, too:
On my Twitter account this month, you will find a daily tweet featuring a woman documentary maker in honor of Women’s History Month. Last month I did something similar for African American documentary makers. Next month I might do something with environmental documentary.
12 Art & Design Documentaries You Should Queue: An interesting list of documentaries about art and design. Yes, Exit through the Gift Shop is on it. Older documentaries are not on this list, though.
In news about festivals, The Union is opening Tribeca this year.
Lots of great stuff about women’s work in documentary. The Women of !W.A.R. opens at MOMA. Documentary Depicts Disenchanted Army ‘Poster Girl’. Documentary opens ‘The Female Closet’ (by Barbara Hammer!). Natural Women documentary to be shown. A Powerful Noise will be shown, as will The Fact of Asian Women.
This was an interesting move: Oscar-Winning Documentary Director Mass Mailed His DVD–Did He Help Save Dolphins in the Process? The Cove director mailed his DVD to the residents of Taiji, the area where the dolphin hunting occurs. According to the article, the director worked with a Japanese group that asked to do it.
Here’s a headline to a blog post that caught my attention: Countdown to the Oscars: Documentary Nominees Choose Ideology Over Reality. A line that sticks out: “Significant issues with documentaries that were nominated makes [sic] it glaringly obvious that propaganda trumps facts and reality, even when it comes to documentaries in Hollywood.” According to this author, Exit through the Gift Shop raises some questions about its documentary status because it might be more of an art film. Inside Job is an “alleged documentary.” So is Gasland, according to this post’s writer. The post calls the Oscar feature documentary category “a farce.” Overall, the post is a right-wing attack on supposedly left-leaning Hollywood and its highlighted documentaries. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that this reductionism bugs me, a lot. So when will our discussions of documentary become less partisan and less binary and overall become more about discourses, about conversations? When will we get away from the fact versus fiction “debate?” Or the objectivity (reality) versus biased (propaganda) “debate?” We cannot separate reality and ideology; our own ideologies create our realities. Objectivity as people seem to understand it is impossible. Everything comes from and with a point of view, and just because we disagree with something does not make it propaganda. Propaganda is a form of documentary. Art can be part of documentary. So many wonderful things can be a part of documentary, so why do these supposed “debates” continue to come back to whether people agree with its perceived truth or not?