Saturday Doc Links

Recovering from writing one article and starting to think about getting my SCMS paper together.  But I just wanted to mention two documentary links that are well worth checking out:

  • Agnes points to an NPR interview with Pat Aufderheide, in which Pat discusses “the future of documentary.”  The interview addresses a number of recent issues, including the controversy over the Oscar qualification process and the role of new technologies and institutions in making documentaries available to a wider public.  The host, Michael Felling, spends far too much of the interview trying to belabor the (false) point that Michael Moore is not a documentary filmmaker, but Pat handles his arguments rather well, pointing out that documentary doesn’t claim to be objective but to tell stories “honestly.”    More than anything, however, the interview made me incredibly nostalgic for the E Street Theater in DC where I used to catch all my documentaries on the big screen.  Also, if you haven’t read Pat’s most recent book, Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction, it’s well worth checking out.
  • A.J. Schnack has a nice list of the top 25 festivals for documentary films.  Given my experiences with Silverdocs and Full Frame, I was a little surprised not to see them ranked higher, but I’ve only attended those festivals as a spectator and not as someone working in the industry.  In general, the entry provides a great overview of what festivals can do to make themselves better venues for promoting documentary films.


  1. Pat Aufderheide Said,

    March 2, 2008 @ 11:14 am

    I just loved the list, and I thought it was deadon, with the exception that I would have moved Sheffield up; I only went once, last year, but was so impressed with the forward lookingness of the programming. To have Silverdocs, a new festival, rank right behind the established behemoths (two of which are not primarily doc fests but the major markets!), is quite something, and I think well earned; last year Silverdocs drew a record number of industry players, as well as showcasing innovative market strategies such as Filmanthropy (Leonsis’s term for closer collaboration with paying partners in the nonprofit sector). The big news for me was seeing where True/False is in the rankings; I’m going to put it on my calendar for the future.
    Say hi to my friends at SCMS Chuck, I’m so sad I ended up with a stupid scheduling conflict that I had created by failing to integrate two electronic calendars. (Can I just say how much I hate my university’s choice of Lotus as a mandatory platform?) And thankx for the plug for my new book!

  2. Chuck Said,

    March 2, 2008 @ 11:42 am

    Good point about Silverdocs becoming so successful in such a short amount of time. Many of the other festivals are far more established, so that’s a testament to their success in building something significant. I’m hoping to get back up to DC for this year’s version (or subsequent versions) if I can work it into my budget.

    I’ve heard great things about True/False as well. Sorry you’ll be missing SCMS.

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