Documentary

A Hitch Hiking Documentary

UPDATE

October
The first Episode is about to be complete. Since working on the marketing and media sponsors for this project I have been busy in Johannesburg shooting on a TV series. Marc and Beer have been handling the post within UCT Campus and I am looking forward to seeing the project for the first time.

July
We’ve been able to secure a great collection of media sponsors. The next drive is toward advertising spots within these media channels.

The documentary will follow two guys as they (you guessed it) hitch-hike across South Africa during the World Cup. Along the way they will be meeting crazy, funny, interesting and hopefully opinionated people including a Rasta Community in the Transkei, a soccer team in PE and meet with the guy who drove the the Magic Bus in the 70’s…

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Encounter Encounters

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Being in the process of starting some panel discussions and looking for whats going on locally, I decided to pick up an Encounters Festival booklet and browse. WOW! The quality of films being shown at this years festival is really amazing. Films that won various prizes at Sundance this year are on among other truly unique and captivating films.

I think the stigma attached to documentary is slowly crumbling around us. Documentaries like Waltz of Bashier are so far removed from traditional doccie that I find it hard to even place in the genre. The films are artistic, intelligent, beautifully captured and have narratives that are fascinating!

Do you remember I wrote about a documentary regarding the copyright laws et al called RIP: a REMIX Manifesto. Its showing!! Among others that I would love to see including: Fokofpolisiekar Documentary; Tyson; Burma VJ (this was a great movie and I’ll want to see it again); The Invincibles and Afghan Star.

Encounters took a big financial knock this year when they lost some investors. But the tenacious okes stuck it out and found different funds from various sources including - funders, film organizations, and friends, among them Vivien Cohen and the Human Elephant Foundation, the Africa Centre and Isla Haddow-Flood, and the Carrol Boyes Group.

I thought I would mention that just to show that everyone is in a pinch at the moment but with some determination…you know the story!

If you are in Cape Town between the 2nd and 19th of July, congratulations, you may now go to the V&A Nu-Metro and induldge in some great contemporary cinema.

FIY:

SOUTH AFRICAN FEATURES

* DAUGHTER OF SPIRITS MOTHER OF MINE
* DAWN MATTHEWS
* FOKOFPOLISIEKAR "Forgive them for they know not what they do"
* FOR WHICH I AM PREPARED TO DIE
* HEALING POWER OF NATURE
      o DEEP FRIENDS
      o RIVER OF ASHES
* HHP
* THE INVINCIBLES
* KENTRIDGE AND DUMAS IN CONVERSATION
* THE LAST VOYAGE
* LUNCHBOX BULLIES
* THE MANUSCRIPTS OF TIMBUKTU
* NATURE OF LIFE
* REWIND
* SEA POINT DAYS
* TRIBES AND CLANS

SOUTH AFRICAN SHORT FILMS

* JITSVINGER: MAAK IT AAN!
* THE PIONEER Of PARAGUAY
* SOUL TRAIN

INTERNATIONAL FEATURES

* AFGHAN STAR
* THE AGE OF STUPID
* BURMA VJ - REPORTING FROM A CLOSED COUNTRY
* THE CHAMPAGNE SPY (MERAGEL HA-SHAMPANIYA)
* DEFAMATION HA SHMATSA
* ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
* FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRIT MEETS ACTION
* FOUR WINGS AND A PRAYER
* MUSIC FROM THE INSIDE OUT
* THE QUEEN AND I (DROTTNINGEN OCH JAG)
* RIP - A REMIX MANIFESTO
* ROUGH AUNTIES
* SACRED PLACES (LIEUX SAINTS)
* TYSON
* WALTZ WITH BASHIR (VALS IM BASHIR)
* WHO KILLED MAGGIE?
* YANDÉ CODOU, GRIOT OF SENGHOR (LA GRIOTTE DE SENGHOR)
* YOUSSOU N’DOUR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE

INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILMS

* BRONX PRINCESS
* FREDDY ILANGA: CHE’S SWAHILI TRANSLATOR
* SLAVES (SLAVAR)

Burma finds distibution home

At Sundance this year I had the fortunate pleasure of seeing an incredible documentary about the VJ’s (Video Journalists) in Burma who where getting news video out into the world under extreme circumstances, the film is called Burma VJ
If you don’t know yet, Burma is a Iron Clad state run by the military. No video is allowed to be taken, there is no such thing as free speech and if you are thought to be against the state you simply disappear. This is real. When the Monks from Burma, who are most respected as its is a Buddhist country, came to stand against the government the military stepped in. Hundreds of Monks disappeared, students rallied and where shot dead and no news crews where allowed in the country. The only way that the world could find out about what was going on was through a handful of journalists inside Burma.

They are guerrilla to the max. With little hand held cameras and a single satellite feed, they would shoot footage during the riots, gather information, smuggle tapes and then send it to a base in Europe. Their footage sparked outrage across the globe as many of you will know because you belong to social groups in protest of the massacre.

The film itself is a compilation of actual footage shot during the uprising and re-enactments that allow you to follow the story of one of these journalists. It is, to say the least, a gripping tale of bravery. Having to deal with insurmountable cruelty and injustice the Burma VJ’s have one calling - to contribute to the freedom of Burma.

Armed with small handy cams undercover Video Journalists in Burma keep up the flow of news from their closed country. Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, acclaimed director Anders Østergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage. Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. The Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages from the streets of Rangoon.

Anders is a soft spoken man who has a long history in documentary. He had originally wanted to make a personal story about one of the characters but the topic of Burma and the Monks was just to important to sideline. In the end you have a story that pulls you into the characters and also a topic so unbelievable it feels strange to think that it is real.

Burma won the Editing award at Sundance and also two awards at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). It was just a matter of time before it would find a distribution home. Finally it has…Oscilloscope Laboratories based in New York. The company now has theatrical and non-theatrical rights with DVD’s to be release in 2010. The first exhibition will be in July while HBO holds the broadcast rights.

Rehash.Remix.Revise

I wrote a post that included some philosophy about our Remix culture, this was never published because it got boring.instead:

I say our culture because we are the digital generation and this generation is creating new culture every day. The truth is though that our new culture is being disrupted and blocked by license/copyright holders, albeit sometimes for fair reason. However, after reading Lawrence Lessig’s ‘Remix’ I am convinced that the next decade is going to bring some major cultural shifts and the battle for new culture has only started.

This post is about a documentary that is being made in Canada called RIP: Remix Manifesto’ which underpins and brings to life all these issues and stories. Director Bret Gaylor is the creator of Opensourcecinema.org and traveled the world in order to create and investigate a Remix Manifesto. The snippets that I’ve seen are great. Entertaining, interesting and most importantly very relevant to anyone who uses the internet and participates in digital, so ya, everyone. There are already remix’s of the film by EclecticMethod which are awesome!

I am so happy he has made this doccie because is brings the topic into the space where most of the dissension is taking place, the net. When you visit the site you are cordially invited to contribute to this film by remixing it, adding music tracks and uploading your own video to be put into the film. This is not an invite that comes along everyday and will hopefully draw some interesting contributions. The film is licensed under Creative Commons and it will stay that way so your additions are safe in the public domain but may and hopefully will be mashed sooner or later. RiP talks to, amongst many others, Girl Talk about his experience in mashing music and becoming famous for it. Girl Talk has just brought out another CD and states on his MySpace “pay as much as you like for it”. It smells of Radiohead but without the marketing machine behind it he is a complete different beast.

Check out the site, add something, read ‘Remix’, listen to some Girl Talk and see what and where our digital culture is going and how much is at stake.

http://dev.osc.clients.raincitydev.com/shanghai-record-110-seconds“/> video platform video management video solutions free video player

Fahrenheit, Fries, Fox, & Fairness: The New Political Documentary

A small piece from a great conversation between great film makers on the topic of documentary. Take your time as its quite a lengthy piece but it has great insights and stories about getting films made and more importantly getting them out!

This interest has really brought to the fore what people expect of documentary. And it’s triggered a conversation that I’ve been having more and more, and that I believe we’re going to have today: What is it that we expect from a documentary and of documentarians? What do we think that is? What a great place this is now to ask these four different people to think about that with us: Julia Bacha, who edited Control Room, Jeff Gibbs, producer and composer of Fahrenheit 9/11, Robert Greenwald, the director and producer of Outfoxed, Morgan Spurlock, the director of Super Size Me.

Read Full Panel

Political Documentary. Stick it to THE MAN.

Excerpt from article regrading the trend of the Political Documentary. Focused on the success of Micheal Moore, the article touches on the trend of this genre. Although written a couple of years ago it gives some statistics and views that may keep you inspired to make that movie that pisses off “The Man”!

Given its reception, “Fahrenheit” will redefine further the unwritten rules about the boxoffice potential of nonfiction films that long have governed documentaries. But bucking the system is nothing if not expected from Moore, who drew fire from conservatives in March 2003 for blasting President Bush during his Oscar acceptance speech for “Bowling for Columbine.” Some distribution executives say “Bowling,” formerly the highest-grossing nonfiction film with a $21.2 million domestic boxoffice take, paved the way for the politically themed docus now flooding theaters.

Maybe ‘Bowling for Columbine’ started it, but I think filmmakers are making films that are meant to make a political statement,” Roadside co-president Howard Cohen says. “I think (Moore) may have started a trend where people believe that if you have a point of view, you can make a documentary and air the argument — (and) if you make it in a way that also includes entertainment, you may even get further.”

Read full Article

BBC Storyville Editor, Nick Fraser.

An excerpt of an interview with BBC’s Storyville Editor Nick Fraser. I have attached a link to the full interview and also to the top 50 Documentary earners.Nick is an insightful exec and has introduced many new directors onto the documentary scene. Always looking for something fresh and entertaining he was part of the Why? Democracy series and many other very successful documentaries.
He also has been to South Africa a couple of times and loves Swazi Land.

BBC Four: Is this explosion of documentaries that are getting into cinemas a trend you think will continue, and is it something that the BBC and Storyville can be part of?

Nick Fraser: Opinion is divided over whether this is a blip in popular entertainment or something that is likely to continue. I’m cautiously saying that it’s a long-term trend. Like I said, it started in America. Documentaries are shown in European cinemas, but they are heavily subsidised and, with some exceptions, they haven’t got large audiences. The breakthroughs come with films like Michael Moore’s, which have started to perform very well outside America.

You’re starting to find more and more people interested in the possibility of showing documentaries in cinemas. I don’t think you’ll necessarily have as many high-scorers in American cinemas as there have been this year, but I think you can expect a more steady flow of more moderate successes.



Instead of taking $60 or $120 million they may take $10 or $15 million, or even over $5 million. In Britain it’s slower, but you’re already starting to see cinema chains getting used to the fact that among all the homogenised offerings in the multiplex it’s good to have a documentary here and there. And the documentaries can be quite odd because that’s what people like to go and see.

As far as the BBC goes, I think the BBC has always been a patron of documentaries. It commissions its own documentaries and has a huge archive of its past successes. I think the BBC should not only come to terms with this development but embrace it and encourage the production of ambitious documentaries that go first into cinemas, or indeed are shown in cinemas at the same time as they appear on the BBC. It seems to me that the BBC is prepared to do this and I’m very happy about that.

Read Full Interview
Top 50