Archive for September, 2008

Sheffield Programmer offers tips to documentary makers…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

As you may have noticed, the judges of our bursary scheme are looking for strong visual ideas that stand a good chance of being selected at film festivals. We want to help you get your docs made AND seen by folk far and wide, so they need to get played. This means you’d be wise to understand what festival programmers look for when selecting films from the mountains of entries.

I asked Hussain Currimbhoy, the newly appointed programmer at Sheffield Doc/Fest, to offer up some hints for improving your success of making a film that gets picked and played. Here is what he wrote me kindly for your consumption: (more…)

Bridging the Gap scheme

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Bridging the Gap is a brilliant scheme which funds 10 minute cinematic documentaries from people with experience, but without a broadcast credit.
They shortlist 12 projects, which are then developed over several months with a series of masterclasses and experts, this year including Marc Isaacs and Nicolas Philibertand.

Then in December everyone must pitch their film to a panel, and seven are chosen. These people each get an £8k cash budget to make their film, and lots of other in kinds support too. It’s run by the Scottish Documentary Institute, who I really rate for their passion and commitment to the art of documentary.

The theme this year is FUTURE and you can find out how to apply here.

I saw most of last year’s films on the theme of HOME at Edinburgh Film Festival this summer. The one I found most endearing was Lindsay Goodall’s Irene, a portrait of her nan, who is feisty with a fast fading memory due to Alzheimer’s. It was filmed with humour and evidently benefited from story development, which often lacks in short docs. Her mentors helped craft the observational documentary into a structured piece about the leaving of her home-is-where-the-heart-is to move into a residential home. A few from this slate have been selected to play at this year’s Sheffield Doc Fest.

If you want to watch some now, several of the older Bridging the Gap films are streamed on the newly spruced Docscene website. I just watched Alice Nelson’s A Difficult Case, a strangely lovely story about internal voices and a brain tumour, which shows how different an ‘extraordinary’ medical story film can look from the conventional television approach. Alice Nelson is one of Scotland’s leading documentary talents, and was nominated for a BAFTA for her subsequent 3MW series Losing Myself.

FourDocs: the future, apologies and airport cocktails

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Hello – I’m just back from a holiday, that should have started with an Excel flight, except they went bust the day before I left. Cue 28 hours of delays and long airport bar bills, until a substitute flight actually took off. Most annoyingly they kept delaying the fight without revealing reasons – first 7 hours, then 5 more, then the next day etc. I understand it was a logistical nightmare on a grand scale, but it’s so much better when people are straight with you about the state of play, instead of fobbing you off.

So, I would like to personally say sorry sorry sorry for the fact that FourDocs has not been reviewing and posting your films for a quite a long while, and the fact that links from the old site are not working at the moment. (more…)

Gonzo and American Teen announced for London Film Festival

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

The line-up for London Film Festival was announced at this morning’s press launch, after an exhausting list of sponsor thanks. The 2 documentaries I most immediately want to see, having already read much about them, are Alex Gibney’s Gonzo and American Teen.

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S Thompson uses Alex Gibney’s forensic skill of finding and weaving archival material together, to illuminate his contradictory life and gonzo approach to writing. Johnny Deep narrates from Hunter’s own words, a wise move following his apt casting as Hunter in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The film was immediately more profitable than his previous, Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side. It plays as the Documentary Gala choice. (more…)

Pitch us your idea and win a £5k camera!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

As we’re drawing a close to our 3MW My Home Town competition, I’m sure you’re wondering what we’ve got up next for you. Well, we’ve teamed up with Passat, who sponsor documentaries across Channel 4, and sorted out a pretty amazing prize, and a new type of competition.

Instead of submitting a finished 3 minute film, we want you to pitch an idea for a longer documentary that you want to make, loosely based on the theme ‘beautifully engineered’. However, you need to make your pitch online! What we looking for is people who think filmically, so this is not the place to just talk us through your idea.

We want to see your style and flair, or meet your character, or understand a little of what the film might feel like. Rather than a taster tape, what we’ll be looking for is a visual mood board that will convince us that you’re a creative director with vision and a story, who needs to be let loose. Then, in November we’ll pick the best pitch, and give them £5 000 to spend on equipment to get the film made. How does that sound?