Hi Marj! Your notes were so super helpful. Good to be here.
My name is Tom Hall and I am Director of Programming at the Sarasota Film Festival in Sarasota, FL. I am excited to finally stop lurking in the public forum and become a part of this site. Needless to say, I am honored to be here and hope that our festival will continue to grow as a place for non-fiction artists to share their work with an appreciative audience.
I also write a blog on the indieWIRE blog network called THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO, which tends to languish this time of year as the pressures of the festival get more intense and strip away any time I have for writing, but I do hope you'll check it out. Anyway, If I can offer any feedback or you want to give me your thoughts on any subject, please do not hesitate to let me know. Thanks for having me here!
PS- That Oscar is real, but it is not mine. One day...
Always great to welcome a lurker, Tom – don't be shy about publicising your blog (the address is in Tom's profile)
Oh, hell, let's just make it real easy for everyone. It's a great blog and Tom is truly one of the great festival programmers around, bar none (and Sarasota one of the most fun festivals for filmmakers, especially if you like glitzy parties with grilled shrimp and mojitos and the like).
Welcome, Tom. Hope you'll hang out here a lot.
I was just surfing the web trying to find info on documentary filmaking when I came across this site. Looked like it might be a good place to get some advice/feedback on an idea I've been kicking around for a long time.
My background is that of an (amateur) historian although I do have an advanced degree in the discipline. I've been studying a major character from 19th century European history for years and have a very strong conviction that he would make a fantastic subject for a documentary. I have it from a very reliable source that absolutely nothing has ever been done on him in the U.S. and that whatever European documentaries have been made are of poor quality.
On the plus side, there is a surprising amount of primary source, photographic and illustrative material right here in the U.S. But obviously in order to do the kind of quality job I believe this person is entitled to, a lot of the work and filming would have to be done in Europe.
So, once again, I would love to get some advice on how to get a project like this going or if it would even be possible for someone like me who has no background in filmaking or production (i.e. should I start with a far more scaled down project on another topic and see if I can even get that made?). I know I have a great idea here. But I realize that sometimes that is not enough.
Hello! i am new here+. I am researching nature/envornmental documentaries worldwide, and I don't know where to start. I want to know the names of the biggest/most important/most famous ones in countries like Italy, Greece, Denmark, Could anyone help me?
Google "environmental documentary festival" and you'll get an instant list of useful titles.
Hi! My name is Suzanne Wasserman. I'm an historian and film maker. I am the Director of The Gotham Center for NYC History at the CUNY Graduate Center. I'm in the middle of making my 3rd documentary film called The Sweatshop Cinderella. It's about the Jewish immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska. My other films are: Thunder in Guyana (2003) and Brooklyn: Among the Ruins (2005)
I'm happy to join The D-Word. My experiences in the doc film world have been wonderful. I've been so busy the last few years between the Center, family and making films! Now, I'd like to become more active in the doc film makers community.
Welcome, Suzanne. And greetings for the second time today (Suzanne and I are old friends and had coffee this morning).
Suzanne has the great idea of holding occasional work-in-progress screenings at the Gotham Center for docs that are centered on some aspect of NYC history or have a heavy NYC flavor or character. It will be a great way for a filmmaker to get feedback from its core audience (and not just other film folks) and to start building an email list of core supporters early on in the process.
She'll be in touch soon with a general announcement, but I'm sure she would welcome anyone interested with a doc that fits to contact her directly: SWasserman@gc.cuny.edu
My name is Hande. I have been in documentary production/distribution/marketing business since mid-90s. I am curious what filmmakers are thinking about the state of documentary distribution and distributors.
You've come to the right place, Hande... welcome! I recommend you read through the old threads in the areas you're interested in, there is a wealth of information therein.
Hande be prepared for some tough talk.
Yeah, Hande, you might want to stop in at the Doc Bar & Grill for a few good drinks before trying to reason with the torch-and-pitchfork crowd over in Marketing And Distribution...
And then after you try and reason, take thee to the Parking Lot and rage to your heart's content. Welcome, Hande.
Hello everyone. It was suggested I join the D-Word from James Longley after contacting him. My name is Christopher Feder and I am serving with the US Army in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I joined because I am making a Documentary of my deployment and there is no better place to go then where film makers go. I spent about 5 years in the business in the mid 1990's. I worked my way up from a 4th Electrician to Best Boy Electric and Dolly Grip. I left the industry in 1998 to pursue a different career. Now, 10 years later I find myself back in the "PA" spot on the call sheet. How this business has changes, particularly the technology end of it. The Digital, HiDef and lower price consumer cameras have really changed the business. I am eager to learn and â€œre-learnâ€ as a much as I can to make this production work. Just a little background, I am making a documentary of this deployment to show the people what it takes to support war. This production DOES not involve politics and does not take sides to the war in Afghanistan. What I am doing is documenting a â€œBehind the scenesâ€ look into â€œone soldierâ€™sâ€ tour of duty and his life at war. I have a lot of questions and welcome positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. Thanks for allowing me to be apart of your community.
Great to have you join us Christopher. But you've only gone half-way in the process towards full membership, where you'll have access to many more discussion topics, including the technical ones. Proceed to www.d-word.com/users/apply. And keep safe, ok?
Christopher – nice to have another Philadelphian join us. Hope you stay out of harm's way.
Hello all. I am a UK/US filmmaker based in Barcelona, Spain. I earn my bread & butter as a camera operator & editor for broadcast projects & am slowly building an independent platform called shotcuts with my partner Laura to begin producing our own films.
I have Ben Kempas to thank for introducing me to the D Word community, he has had many great things to say about the community & I look forward to meeting some of you in the future.
Many thanks to you all for welcoming me & all the best.
Hah, who says we're welcoming you? I've known you for 10 years now, so do I really have to...? Ah well, welcome Jim. :-)
To all others: Jim Loomis is a very good friend. We worked together on a number of projects, including "To Be A Nation Again". He is the cinematographer and editor of the high-profile documentary, The Madrid Connection
Well, glad it only took 10 years for my persuasive co-host to rope you in here, Jim. Oh, wait, we've only been around for 8 years. My bad.
Hello! I am Mukul, a cinematographer and documentary film maker based in Bombay, India. I just found this space and it sounds great. Looking forward to interacting with people working in the field of independent documentary making and exchanging ideas on technical and other issues related to our field.
You're very welcome, Mukul. We have at least 25 members in India BTW. What project are you working on at the moment?
I'm based in the hills south of Modena, Italy, near to the Tuscany border. I've been working for the last year and a half – more like two, come to think of it – on a film in Bombay about the Dharavi redevelopment project, a pilot slum rehab project, as writer and co-director, with some responsibilities for camera and location sound. So it was a pretty exhausting experience! Just back now in Italy and thinking what to do next. I got into documentary serendipitously after a photostory I did about village demolitions in the west bank caught the attention of a South African producer who contacted me to make a film about it. That was in 2002. I acted as director during the shoot on location in Israel for that – as a first timer I was completely out of my depth. The result wasn't something I was totally happy about, but it made me determined to make a film about the Bombay slums, a subject I've been photographing and writing about for many years, which led to the production of this recent project. So, I'm here to meet fellow documentarians and get a feeling of how the industry works.
Welcome, Mikul and Rob. Rob, feel free to register for full membership which gives you access to many more discussion topics.
Hello all, I am just finishing a feature length doc on Asian massage parlors in RI, where prostitution is legal. Please check out my trailer on youtube and tell me what you think.
Also here is my new website
Check out the characters and all the info, but don't use the form email, I am having some problems getting that to work.
OK, now that I have introduced myself, off I go to the forum because I need some help!
Welcome, Tara. Congrats on getting that far with your film.
In reply to Leah Warshawski's post on Thu 13 Mar 2008 :
Leah, we meet again! Welcome. I see your project in Rwanda was (is) successful!
My name is Daniel Velazquez and I am a freelance filmmaker who's been earning a living in Miami, Florida as a shooter on all kinds of different projects for the last 5 years or so. Before that I AC'd, gripped and so on...
My favorite projects to work on are always documentaries, because of the great fulfilling experience one gets from researching and learning about specific subjects. So on that note, I was recommended to join the D-Word by Carmita Lasso, whom I've known for years (also my loyal AC AND my lovely partner :-} ) and thought it could be a good tool to connect with like minds. So far, from what I see I'm happy!! There's too many commercial projects and "reality" crap going on down in Florida so I am constantly looking for doc work or travel/cultural shows to jump on.
I recently 'DP'd' my 1st HD documentary about the wine culture in Mendoza, Argentina and it was a great experience. Only 3 crew members (Director/Producer, DP/AC/Grip/Sound & a PA) but somehow we made it happen!!! It is being edited right now so I can't wait to have a trailer to show you guys.
I'd been accepted into the California Institute of Integral Studies for their master's program of "Philosophy, Cosmology & Consciousness studies" but decided to concentrate a bit more on my professional passion. Though that gives you an idea on subjects that I'd love to tackle on documentaries.
Looking forward to hangin' at the D-Word...WORD!! :-P
Look forward to having you hangin' at D-Word, too, Daniel. Welcome.
My name is Shirley Morris and I am a cross-over from the graphics world. I was a graphic designer and art director for my own company for about 20 years. My first job in film was for NTA as an apprentice editor (glorified splicer). I have been creating family video biographies for the past few years and currently am working on the most wonderful project "Cowgirls Saddle Their Own Horse". It is a documentary about rodeo cowgirls early in the 20th century. I just got my new website up, www.thecowgirlmovie.com. I would love for you all to visit and let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome.
I am a novice regarding the film making process, funding, just about all of it and I love the fact you're all here!
Well, we love the fact that we're here, too, Shirley. And very glad that you've found us.
I'm Melissa HIbbard. I've been producing independent docs with my filmmaker husband Hamid Rahmanian for 8 years now. We're kind of an army of two I guess you would say. I'm currently producing a new feature-length narrative doc about a center that works to pull girls of the the margins of Iranian society and helps them overcome their troubled pasts. We followed 5 girls for 18 months. It's a pretty big project for us. It's called FINDING HOME. Hoping to get a trailer up in the next week or so.
My website is:
I look forward to getting into the middle of this wonderful resource.
Hi, I'm Theresa Tall. I had a great idea for a doc series that I think can help a lot of people. I have no idea how to get started so I'm going to be doing a lot of posting! You all seem very optimistic and open, so I'm excited to be a part of this forum and am excited for the time when I can give back to other beginners like me! Thanks, Teetall.
Welcome to The D-Word, Melissa and Theresa!
Yes, nice to have you join us Melissa and Theresa. Theresa Tall – now that's a great name!
It's Annie Howell here (hi Doug), I'm glad to be officially registering at D-word. I'm part of a graduate program in documentary at The New School in New York, and I attempt to make films as well when I'm not chained to my office, helping students, teaching, or working with faculty in preparing for The New School's MFA in Doc (coming soon...). I'm happy to be here. We're hosting a screening of Cynthia Wade's FREEHELD on Friday night the 11th, so I'll be posting that event here soon.
Have you been to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (OK) or the National Cowgirl Museum (TX)? I worked on a project called "American Rodeo: Heart of the West," but it only scratched the surface in terms of rodeo cowgirls. Good luck with your film!
Whoopeee Cowgirlsâ€¦Makes me think of one of my favorite tunes by Dan Hicks called â€œIâ€™m an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)
Nice to see you finally got here, Annie. Welcome aboard.
Hello! My name is Andrea and I'm in my last year of documentary film school at American University (in Washington, DC). I am currently working on my thesis film, which will look at long distance commutes in the DC area. What a great community!
thanks, andrea. welcome.
Hello, everyone. I've been making films for about six years, but it's only been very recently that I've begun to work with the documentary form. An exciting opportunity fell into my lap by chance, and several others have followed in quick succession. I soon found myself making a string of medically-themed documentaries, without ever really having consciously set out to do so. In just a few short months, believe it or not, I've completed short pieces about: 1) a professional dancer who elected to have a tattoo of a passion flower installed on her chest after breast cancer and a double mastectomy, rather than undergoing reconstructive surgery or receiving prostheses; 2) a small arts project at an unconventional and progressive center for the social reintegration of adults with mental illness; and 3) the trials and challenges faced by survivors of traumatic brain injuries. I've been very, very lucky, and feel as though I'm finally beginning to find a way to make an adequate living in this profession.
I work alone, and in a city/area where there is very little serious cinematic activity. As such, there is really no one around with whom I can "talk shop." I'm looking forward to being a part of the community here, and to having many fruitful and interesting discussions with other members.
welcome, jarrod. you'll want to register for full membership to get the benefit of all the discussion forums. you're only halfway there: www.d-word.com/users/apply
Like Jarrod, I have sort of fallen into doco making. I recently won a small grant to make a doco about teachers who transition (from male to female) in the American School System. I am working out of a university, and similarly feel like I am having a tough time talking shop and working over issues with like-minded professionals.
I am going to be a bit of a one man band, carting my P2, mics, tripod all over America to see these teachers and their communities.
I would love to be in touch with other documentary professionals, and I have a heap of questions with regards to filming children (or at the least, minors), filming / using material on the internet (ie: text on personal websites and public forums), and also approaching television networks re: using news footage.
I have been concentrating on the Pacific Northwest and will head up to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming later this Spring and then to Texas and Oklahoma. Everywhere I go, I find at least another dozen stories I'd like to include!
I'd like to see American Rodeo, is it available?
In reply to Rohan Spong's post on Mon 7 Apr 2008 :
Rohan--I work alone too, so I know how challenging that can be.
I've worked with children pretty extensively, and I'm more than willing to help you in any way I can with any questions you might have about shooting them.
Welcome aboard, Rohan. From one more one-man band (at least shooting-wise) to another.
Rohan, look at UNICEF's guidelines. They're actually quite good.
After years of recommends I have finally gotten my act together and joined D-Word! Seems like there's so much posted that I'm going to slowly wade my way into the community as an "enthusiast" and see what everyone else is up to – maybe even start posting?
I've been working mostly in post production for about seven years in New York, concentrating mostly on long-form docs. Without getting too into what I've done in the past, I'm currently on board helping produce and edit a feature doc on the international criminal court in Sierra Leone, as well as co-producing and co-directing a piece about a painting village in China.
On the subject of the latter, I expect to be reaching out to those of you who have had experience shooting in China.
Thanks and looking forward to interacting with the community.
Glad you finally held your nose and signed up for The D-Word, Franciso ;-) Welcome.
In reply to Shirley Morris's post on Mon 7 Apr 2008 :
Shirley, if you go to Oklahoma City, visit the National Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center especially their Image Archive. "American Rodeo: Heart of the West" is located in the History of Rodeo Gallery. (I think I learned more than I wanted to know about bulldogging and other rodeo events).
What is a painting village?
Hi I'm new here, my name is Karen and I'm a web designer that prefers to design for documentarys, I like to help people get their message out.
Hi all, I am Earl. I am no one, but I have a documentary project that has been dropped in my lap. The story is about how a city and 3 groups will come together (or not) and combat prostitution. The City Police, City Hall, and Community. The community has petitioned the city, the city charged the police, and the police are reacting. What we want to show (besides the prostitutes) is how these three will solve this problem. Suppression, Prevention, and Intervention. I have more details.
Like I said it has been dropped in my lap. Where do I start? What do I need, who do I need? I need to shoot this in June and July. for viewing in Fall. I need to crew build. Needs to be broadcast quality.
All thoughts are welcomed and needed!
In reply to Earl Franklin's post on Thu 10 Apr 2008 : Hi Earl, of course you're someone! I wish I could help ya on the filmmaking end, I could help ya with a site for your project. I can you there are groups on Yahoo where you can recruit a crew.
I hope I'm posting correctly!
Welcome Earl and Karen! Glad to have you with us...
Earl, if you could explain slightly more about how this project has been "dropped in your lap", that would be helpful. You certainly have a very compelling story, but I think most producers would want to know if you have access to the three groups you are talking about – the police, city hall, and the community. Making documentaries is mostly about getting access first. The story is always there, but unless someone lets you "in", it's hard to go from there. However, it certainly sounds like you might have that access. Explain more...
Well I have met with the police. I have DIRECT access, willing participants, it was "dropped in my lap" by the police. They are the ones that want to document the story. The city manager has asked them to be creative in showing the problem with the cities prostitution because the community has rallied. The police want to create the documentary.
wow, earl. never heard of the police wanting to make a doc. that sounds absolutely incredible. if i weren't already working on three separate docs, i would jump on your story in a heartbeat. perhaps you can start looking around for a producer by posting on the Public Classifieds page. and start asking more production questions on the Mentoring page. if i think of anyone else, i'll let you know. best of luck!
Hi all, my name is Nikos and I am a doc filmaker from Greece. I am a member of the Anemon production team (www.anemon.gr). What goes on here, then?
Just tons of discussion, Nikos. If you fill us in more about your doc background, you may want to register for the full membership . Right now you're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
In Response to Melissa Dopp -
Thanks, I'm planning on visiting Oklahoma and the National Cowboy Hall Of Fame this summer. Would you believe one of the three women bulldoggers from the 1920's was a concert pianist?
In reply to Jo-Anne Velin's post on Tue 8 Apr 2008 :
Jo-Anne – thanks for the tip :)
Hello, I'm heading to HotDocs for the first time. Any films that I "must" see?
I have a background as a screenwriter and director of short film and theatre. Two years ago this month I launched a doc project, Overdrawn!, about the predatory lending practices of the major national banks, focused on overdraft fees. We were lucky enough to get interviews with Ralph Nader, Joel Bakan ("The Corporation"), and Rep. Maloney (D-NY), whose Consumer Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act is struggling for passage.
It's finally in pretty good shape and I moved back to LA last month to start looking for a distribution deal for it and to work on other projects. Glad to have found this great community!
My film's website is www.overdrawnmovie.net if anyone cares to take a look at the trailer.
Good to have you here, Karney. Of course you do realize you're only halfway done with your film, don't you? ;-)
i am new to this site and was asked to introduce my self. My Name is Roland and I am an aspiring cinematographer who owns a music recoding and video production studio. I am currently working on a documentary about my tribal elders plights and our current history, and was told by a friend that i could probably learn a lot from this site. I am looking for helpful assistance and suggestions in all fields.
Meaning a film isn't finished until it's distributed, or have you seen the latest cut? ;)
welcome Roland! you can definitely learn a ton of great info from this site. for better feedback, try posting very specific questions in the Mentoring Room .
My name is Gita Pullapilly and I am a film producer in Boston.
My film director, Aron Gaudet, and I are working on a documentary in Bangor, Maine called The Way We Get By. We are in post-production on it now at WGBH in Boston, where we are Filmmakers in Residence.
I am very happy to join this group and look forward to participating in online discussions.
Here is a brief synopsis on our film, The Way We Get By--
The Way We Get By is a story about three elderly people battling their greatest fears and finding a reason to live. The film examines the lives of three Maine Troop Greeters as they put their politics aside to keep a promise to support the American troops. The storyâ€™s three characters must overcome tremendous obstacles– health issues, emotional losses and financial difficulties– to live a life on-call, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, traveling to the airport to greet complete strangers. To date, the Maine Troop Greeters have greeted over 600,000 troops, as 75% of all soldiers and marines heading to and returning home from Iraq, fly through Bangorâ€™s tiny airport.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Welcome, Gita. Good to have you and Aron as new members. And all the best on the finish of your doc.
Gita, Hi – I just emailed you a private contact... sounds very interesting.
Hey Everyone, it's been a while since I've posted anything here. I recently relocated to New Orleans, and I'm hoping to get more work as a shooter here.
If anyone needs a couple 24P Panasonics and an operator please hit me up. I'm trying to get my feet wet here so lo-budget gigs are no problem. My first local gig was shooting for Woody Richman (F9/11, Trouble the Water) in March and hopefully he'll give a good reference :P
my name is Charlotte Meyer and I am NOT a filmmaker (I have only directed one film – at least 10 years ago – a 4-min-short at school :-)). But I work in the documentary film business, at Discovery Campus in Munich.
Discovery Campus is a documentary training initiative dedicated to international coproductions of high-quality documentaries for a large audience (www.discovery-campus.de).
We are planning to launch an online cooperation platform (July 2008) for the international documentary film business, called "Docu-Link" – and, here we go: I am the online project manager!
I am looking for lots of ideas, suggestions, remarks in the fields of Docs & New Media, multimedia, platforms and – as soon as we have launched the site – Docu-Link, of course.
As I mentioned earlier to Donata, the name for your new platform is already taken by an email list for documentary makers in the U.S.
Charlotte and I have already started talking about a possible collaboration between their new portal and our forum. Stay tuned...