documentary film

How to improve documentaries – here's the truth

How to improve documentaries – here's the truth

Audiences have become obsessed with filmed tellings of the truth, even if they’re not always all that truthful, but there are some familiar traps documentaries fall into that remove luster from the genre and threaten to make them more like schlockumentaries.

To avoid these pitfalls in the future, I propose the following doc-ing guidelines:

Sundance Watch List: FAMILY PORTAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE

Sundance Watch List: FAMILY PORTAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE

If you think your home is chaotic and your family connections complex and emotionally fraught, consider the household of Olga Nenya, the subject of Julia Ivanova’s FAMILY PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE, which will be featured in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Documentary Competition. In a small Ukrainian Village, Nenya is single-handedly raising…

Documentary as grown up genre – THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA

Documentary as grown up genre – THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA

Isn’t it great when a film surpasses your expectations, and in fact makes you think more about the world, and about filmmaking itself? I went to see the new documentary THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS (Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith) and it’s a full blown, knock out blockbuster. Documentary so often suffers from the bastard stepchild image, the geeked out brainiac who won’t shut up about human suffering. Yes, yes, we need those films too – but when I walk out of a doc saying, “WOW! That was a political thriller right up there with ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN,” well, then I’m glad to see the bastard child growing up into a big bad contender – just as engaging, just as nail-biting, just as tear-inducing, as something that tens of millions of dollars made.