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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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A message from Executive Director Erica Ginsberg


Meeting and working with Docs In Progress flipped a switch,

so to speak, and they gave me the confidence and solid

direction I needed to become a documentary filmmaker.


It may be hard to believe, but those are the words of Sam Hampton.

This beloved Docs In Progress educator, mentor, and colleague once faced the same question many of our alumni do: Can I do this?  Can I really make a documentary film?  Am I a filmmaker?


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Our Favorite Election-Themed Docs

Just in time for Tuesday's U.S. General Election, we decided to shine the spotlight on a few of our favorite election-themed documentaries.  Executive Director Erica Ginsberg and one of our favorite Documentary Appreciation Salon Facilitators  Joshua Glick both offer up their votes.


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Glick's Picks: A look back at George Stoney's ALL MY BABIES

Guest contributor Josh Glick, a Film Studies and American Studies Scholar from Yale University, recently had a chance to reflect on the seminal work of the late great George Stoney.


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Erica's roadtrip hits Wisconsin (or is it the other way a...

The last stops on Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg's roadtrip into the world of midwestern film communities continues...


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Roadtrip Report from Chicago

Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg continues her journey through the midwest to learn more about film organizations and communities with a stop in Chicago.


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Roadtrip Hits Cleveland

The continuing adventures of Docs In Progress Executive Director Erica Ginsberg as she travels through the midwest en route to the 2012 NAMAC Conference and stops along the way to learn more about film communities in different cities.


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