A few weeks back I watched about 45 documentaries in a short time. Part of that viewing was judging for a film festival, and part of that was doing some catchup on recent titles. When watching that many documentaries in such a short period, I noticed some patterns. Drones Drone footage is fun to create… Read More Some Observations from Recent Documentary Viewing
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Documentary production processes differ greatly from the more streamlined (factory?) approaches of mainstream fiction media. Without the written script, paid actors, and deep budgets, documentary makers face many variables that might advance, pause, or change a film’s progress. Some of those variables might even halt the film’s production altogether. Learning about what happens on other… Read More Book Goes Behind the Scenes of Oscar-Connected Documentary Productions
Sometimes an interview question seems so simple that it belies the cultural depths that inform it. A question like this appears in Andrew Jarecki’s The Jinx: The Life and Murders of Robert Durst (2015). This six-episode HBO series retraces the unsolved murders linked to Durst through archival footage, reenactments, and interviews, including with Durst himself.… Read More A Simple Question Belies Depths in ‘The Jinx’
Kartemquin Films’ Trick Bag: A Black and White Film tackles a tough subject: race issues in 1970s Chicago. Their 1974 short film shows a series of interviews among people across Chicago during the early 1970s. These people, mostly youth, gather at parks, on street corners, and in people’s homes. Race issues dominate these interviews, though… Read More Constructing Conversations about Race in ‘Trick Bag’
Come Worry with Us! is Helene Klodawsky’s 2013 portrait of the Montreal-based group Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. This beautifully shot documentary reveals a band in transition. It focuses mostly on Jessica Moss and Efrim Menuck, whose new son Ezra has forced them to re-examine their careers, their gender roles, and their lives. As a… Read More ‘Come Worry with Us!’ Brings a New Sense of Style