December 2005

The Anywhere Effect

Jem Cohen’s Chain stars undirected footage of the real world

A couple of years ago, I decided to take a break from New York, and headed out to Tempe, Arizona for graduate school. I imagined I was moving to a quaint little college town perched along the edge of the Sonoran Desert, dotted with vernacular straw bail houses, maybe, or adobe ranches.

Docurama on the Rise

A look at the company that has become the master of docs on DVD

At the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Steve Savage and Susan Margolin, the two minds behind New Video, a New York-based entertainment marketing and sales company, watched as tickets for documentaries were snatched up left and right. They witnessed audiences line up to get into sold-out theaters. They saw documentary after documentary screen with standing room only.

Kara Walker at REDCAT

8 Possible Beginnings or the Creation of African-America

At the opening reception for Kara Walker’s multimedia project “Song of the South” at downtown LA’s REDCAT Gallery, the artist adopted the eerily detached voice of a little girl playing with her dolls. “Help us!

The Many Meanings of “Fair Use”

How and when to get permission, even when it seems unnecessary

So your documentary has commercial interest and high revenue earning potential.

Is documentary the new memoir?

A sociologist’s view from the couch


I am a sociologist who conducts historical research on race and social policy, so my work has something in common with a documentary filmmaker’s attempt to uncover some version of “the truth” (however defined).

Do I need a business plan?

Plus, the Documentary Doctor tells you how to say no to a project gracefully

Dear Doc Doctor:
I’ve been asked for a business plan for my documentary. I thought those types of things were only for fiction films. Do I really need to write one?

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