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