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What should have made the Oscar Shortlist?

Nominations for the 2015 Academy Awards will be announced on January 15. But the race for Best Feature Documentary has been on for a while since the Academy announced the 15 films which had been shortlisted from 134 which had been submitted. While many expect the final race to come down to a competition between Life Itself and Citizenfour, we asked some members of the Docs In Progress community what they wish had made the shortlist. Feel free to weigh in in the comments below.



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Narrating the Nation: Past and Present

by Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Yale University

The 10-part Showtime documentary series, The Untold History of the United States (2012), and the theatrically released documentary feature, Citizenfour (2014), are interesting for the ways they give shape to recent and more distant events and for how they push conventional boundaries of collaboration.


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Who's Idea Was This? Second Thoughts from a New Filmmaker

by John Filson

Are you a new filmmaker, or aspiring to be? Do you feel a tug on your heart to make positive change in the world, and want to use the power of film? This note is for you.

It can take a long time to call yourself a “filmmaker” in front of other people. I’m still in the denial stage, and quite comfortable there. My interest in making documentaries stems from the way well-made films have always gripped me like a vice and lit a fire in my belly that made me feel unstoppable. That collection of emotional imprints over the years is surely a big reason I aspired to make social change my profession. 

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Glick's Picks: Roger Ebert and LIFE ITSELF

By Guest Contributor Josh Glick, Assistant Professor of English and Film at Hendrix College, Mellon Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University in the Integrated Humanities

Watching Life Itself  (2014) in Washington D.C.’s E Street Cinema, I felt director Steve James’s recent portrait of the late Roger Ebert strike a personal chord. As a wide-eyed teenager attending a summer program at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 2001, I was fortunate to be exposed to the writing of Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, and Manny Farber as part of a broader menu of cultural criticism. Reading film reviews helped me to cultivate an appetite for all kinds of movies. Now, as it’s my job to teach others a critical awareness of how moving images shape and are shaped by the world around us, I have come to appreciate how it is often the written word that coaxes even the most reluctant spectators to become eager viewers.

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Fellows Perspectives: Amy Oden

Throughout the year, we’ll be featuring each of our Fellows as guest bloggers where they will share their thoughts on their films, filmmaking, or anything they think would be of interest to the documentary community. This month we hear from Amy Oden about her latest documentary project which offers a different take on commercial sex work within the context of globalization.

“Don’t start thinking that you’re better than someone else, just because you have a different job than they do,” I said to one of the interns at my day job last week.  You could file the comment under “unsolicited life advice,” but it very much resonates with and originates from my experiences filming workers in the commercial sex industry in the Pacific Rim.

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by Erica Ginsberg

AFI DOCS is back for its second year under its new moniker (I give it one more year before we stop saying "The festival formerly known as Silverdocs.") While the namechange isn't the only thing which changed, this year's festival (taking place from June 18-22) looks like it is bringing back some of what we loved about the Washington DC area's one and only documentary film festival. Call it AFI DOCS 2.0.


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Fellows Perspectives: Michael Blain

Throughout the year, we’ll be featuring each of our Fellows as guest bloggers where they will share their thoughts on their films, filmmaking, or anything they think would be of interest to the documentary community. Michael Blain shares his blog today while in the middle of production and a Kickstarter campaign for his film  Can't Take It No More!


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10 Years, 100 Mundane Days, 1 Amazing Night

Below is the transcript of the speech given by Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg at Decade of Docs, Docs In Progress' 10th anniversary program held May 20, 2014 at the Jack Morton Auditorium at George Washington University.


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Congratulations Decade of Docs Award Winners

On Tuesday, May 20, Docs In Progress celebrated its 10th anniversary at a special event called Decade of Docs.  As part of the evening, the organization gave out awards to Docs In Progress alumni and community members.


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Decade of Docs Award Nominations Announced

Docs In Progress is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Tuesday, May 20 with Decade of Docs, a special evening for the Washington DC area's filmmaking community. This event will honor the past 10 years of Docs In Progress and the filmmakers we have helped to nurture while also looking forward to the future.  Ten years and more than 1000 filmmakers later, Docs In Progress is honoring the achievements of its community with a series of awards for alumni of its film programs, as well as a special award for Sky Sitney for her contributions to the Washington DC documentary film community during her eight years with the Silverdocs/AFI Docs Film Festival. Sitney will also join filmmaker Doug Block (51 Birch Street, 112 Weddings, The D-Word), Documentary Center Director Nina Seavey, and StoryCodeDC's Felicia Pride for a special panel discussion on the future of documentary film and filmmaking. 


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