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New Year's Resolutions for Documentary Filmmakers

by Erica Ginsberg, Executive Director, Docs In Progress

Welcome to 2014 Docs In Progress friends.

It's a new year.  One in which we'll be celebrating 10 years since we began our first work-in-progress screening.  We are starting 2014 out with a fresh coat of paint at the Doc House, a new Program Coordinator,  a new film project for our Executive Director, and a host of popular returning and new programs.

One of these new programs will be a series called "10 Things You Need to Know About..." This will be a monthly program -- and occasional blog entries -- on various topics of interest to emerging documentary filmmakers.  While our first face-to-face program at the end of the month will be on budgeting, we thought we would kick things off this year by following our New Year's resolution to blog more.

So here we are living up to our resolution, by challenging you with  recommended resolutions tailored for documentary filmmakers.  We won't overwhelm you with 10. But how about 5?

 

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Five Ways to Give Constructive Criticism

by Erica Ginsberg, Executive Director of Docs In Progress

Docs In Progress was founded upon the principle of helping documentary filmmakers through the power of constructive criticism.  Since our very first work-in-progress screening in 2004, we have welcomed the general public to be a part of this process by facilitating a feedback session following the screening of documentary rough cuts.

 

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Glick's Picks: The New York Times, Op-Docs, and the Futur...

By Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in Film Studies and American Studies

[caption id="attachment_3290" align="alignleft" width="110"] Op-Docs logo, New York Times Website[/caption]

The New York Times’ continual push into the realm of nonfiction video is strategic and highly innovative. For a paper that for 160+ years has made its name and reputation on the printed word, it's a new form of capturing events, expressing critical opinions, showcasing familiar journalistic personalities, and revisiting old stories. And while videos are currently placed outside the paywall so that users can access them even if they don’t have a subscription, they are a striking way to attract people to the website and  generate revenue through integrated advertisements.

 

 

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AFI DOCS: Some final thoughts: Erica Ginsberg

Since my previous blog called Reserving Judgment on AFI DOCS got people talking (even referenced in a Washington Post article about festival director Sky Sitney), I wanted to close the loop and share a few final thoughts on this year's festival now that I've had a few weeks to think about it.

 

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AFI DOCS: an Intern's Perspective: Samantha Ammons

We continu.

Taking part in the AFI DOCS Festival was one of the best surprises of the summer thus far! I started the week sitting in on the Docs In Progress Peer Pitch, which is a day that filmmakers can screen their documentaries and receive feedback from fellow filmmakers and observers. The next few days I participated in AFI DOCS events and screenings in Washington DC and Silver Spring. It was first time at any film festival and I learned so much about filmmaking and developed a greater appreciation for documentaries. On the third day of the festival I spent the whole day at the AFI theatre in Silver Spring watching films.

 

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AFI DOCS: an Intern's Perspective: Hannah Myers

After getting quite a bit of feedback on our post Reserving Judgment on AFI DOCS (including it being linked to in a Washington Post article on Festival Director Sky Sitney), the Docs In Progress crew was out in force at this year's festival to check out the films and what had changed with the festival.  We were especially excited that two of our summer interns, Samantha Ammons and Hannah Myers had a chance to attend, and we asked them to write a little about their experiences which we'll be sharing in the coming days.  First up: Hannah. 

 

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Reserving Judgment on AFI DOCS

by Erica Ginsberg

Change is hard.  We constantly experience it, resist it, and eventually adapt to it.  (If you don’t believe me, how many “New Facebooks” have you complained about in your status update, but never actually quit Facebook as a result?)

There is a new change those of us in the DC documentary community are facing, which has become the subject of many a status update, listserv posting, or water cooler conversation.  And that all relates to a certain all-documentary film festival in our own backyards.  The festival formerly known as Silverdocs.  Or more accurately formerly known as the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival.

That festival is being reborn this year as AFI DOCS.  Or more accurately AFI DOCS Presented by Audi.

 

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Les Blank and the Art of Listening

By Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in Film Studies and American Studies

[caption id="attachment_2887" align="alignleft" width="180"] Les Blank and Werner Herzog, circa 1982, image from website: Cinephilia and Beyond[/caption]

Les Blank was an adamant listener, a documentarian with an insatiable appetite for the aural texture of American culture. Perhaps most widely recognized for his partnership with Werner Herzog, Blank’s shy demeanor and adventurous spirit made him the perfect silent partner to chronicle the musings and production efforts of the German filmmaker. Whether gazing at Herzog “eat his shoe” as part of a bizarre bet made with then-novice documentarian Errol Morris, or picturing his grandiose effort to lug a steamship across the Peruvian jungle in Burden of Dreams (1982), Blank’s unflinching lens captured Herzog at his most erudite and arrogant.

 

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Fellows Corner: Cheryle Franceschi

ine emerging documentary filmmakers are currently participating in Docs In Progress’ inaugural Fellowship Program. As part of this eight month program, we have asked our Fellows to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their projects through our blog.  

First up is Cheryle Franceschi, a local producer who specializes in environmental education projects through her company Por Eco Productions.  She is at work on a documentary about Maryland’s first state forester.

 

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Glick's Picks: Perspectives on “Place” in Documentary

Guest contributor Josh Glick, a Film Studies and American Studies Scholar from Yale University, reflects on place-based documentaries past and present.

 

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