Win £5k on FourDocs
By Charlie Phillips 18 November, 2008
A word from Becca down the documentary road at FourDocs on a great competition they got going on...
Pitch your doc film online by 28th Nov and the winner gets £5k to buy any camera they want
FourDocs linked up with Passat earlier this year, who provided a fantastic camera to Eva Weber, for her winning film Solitary Life of Cranes in the FourDocs Short Film Competition at BritDoc this year. They also want to support another visionary director, and are offering £5k of camera equipment to the person with the best online pitch for a documentary film.
You need to submit a visual clip up to 3 minutes which gives us an idea of the longer film you want to make. You can make something like a taster tape, introducing a character or scene, or you can do a photo montage and explain the story, make a mood board or animate a few key moments against a soundtrack. Just imagine that this is the only means you have available to communicate what you want to do - the kind of film you are hoping to make and what it might look like, so don't stick with talking heads!
You can pitch ANY KIND OF DOCUMENTARY FILM, any style, any subject matter, set in any country. It must somehow be connected to the theme of 'Beautifully Engineered' though, and entries must be in by 6pm 28th November. The winner will get £5k to spend on any camera they want. More info here and here
Oscar short list announced
By Hussain Currimbhoy 18 November, 2008
After the election party dies down, the Oscar party at our place is already warming up.
The Oscar short list has been announced over night. Check out the selection:
At the Death House Door by Steve James and Peter Gilbert
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) by Ellen Kuras and Thavi Phrasavath
Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh by Roberta Grossman
Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog
Fuel by Joshua Tickell
The Garden by Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts by Scott Hicks
I.O.U.S.A. By Patrick Reardon
In a Dream by Jeremiah Zagar
Made in America by Stacy Peralta
Man on Wire by James Marsh
Pray the Devil Back to Hell by Virginia Reticker
Standard Operating Procedure by Errol Morris
They Killed Sister Dorothy by Daniel Junge
Trouble the Water by Carl Deal
Really great to see British director James Marsh and his unforgettable ‘Man On Wire’ (but not surprising at all) on the short list. My money is on this one to win.
This was a Doc/Fest selection of course, but also really proud to that long term projects ‘The Betrayal’ and ‘In A Dream’ are recognised for their imagery and for being truly cinematic documentaries. ‘IOUSA’ also featured in our selection and is right on the money when it comes to American global melt down.
Though I must say I’m disappointed that ‘Thriller In Manilla’ didn’t get a mention out there or Ross McElwee’s ‘In Paraguay’. After a change in the Oscar’s eligibility rule book on what makes a doc ‘allowed’ in things seem to be harder for doc’s to get a look in. So films like ‘Stranded’ are left out, sadly, leaving the selection very American.
David Schisgall on Doc/Fest, The Fallen, more pics
By Charlie Phillips 17 November, 2008
One of the true highlights of the festival was David Schisgall's sensitively-shocking Very Young Girls and we were also delighted to have him and his team pitching a new project in the Meetmarket.
Now you can read David's thoughts about Doc/Fest on All These Wonderful Things. We aim to please, Mr Schisgall, thank you for those words. We particularly like the lines "The parties were typically British - a low emphasis on food with a correspondingly high emphasis on booze, with expected results." Good old Blighty, rule Britannia!
In other news, did you see The Fallen on the TV this weekend? If you didn't know, it won the Audience Award at Doc/Fest this year, which is so exciting for us - a 3 hour doc about the war dead isn't an easy watch, but Morgan Matthews is a special filmmaker and made this film continuously relevant rather than mawkish or alienating. I'm probably one of the most anti-Army people you could meet, but this doc turned my head a lot - the dead weren't portrayed as faceless 'heroes' but as people who lead valued and amazing family lives, and the point isn't that they died for any debatable political purpose but simply that they died, and left a horrible emotional legacy for those left behind. Truly wonderful documentary-making.
And you can see it here so stop what you're doing and watch it.
And finally for now, wondering what MeetMarket looks like? There's lots of new photos starting here on Flickr. And if you search carefully you can find a really horrible picture of me at one of the parties too.
Doc/Fest Trailer - it's good
By Charlie Phillips 14 November, 2008
So if you didn't see it before the films at the festival, here for your pleasure is the festival trailer. Isn't it good?
And before I sign off, we're chuffed to see ourselves in Indiewire here.
Live from CPH:DOX in Denmark
By Hussain Currimbhoy 13 November, 2008
Writing to you live from Copenhagen's CPH:DOX film festival - a city that has totally caught me off guard! This city of charisma and subtly is like the love child of Stockholm and Amsterdam after a drunken night together. CPH:DOX is a brilliant festival, but we already knew that. 160 docs, 10 concerts art exhibits and seminars make for a non-stop ten days of doc-talk and a good view of a very active filmmaking culture. Even the cab driver has an opinion on docs.
Michael Noer's 'The Wild Hearts' premiered last night followed by a rather raucous party in Copenhagen's ex-slaughterhouse district where we were surrounded by scooters and people climbing over each other in an effort to dance - literally. Though this was part homage to the film and part injections of Tuborg directly into the body. 'The Wild Hearts' is the second doc i've seen by Noer after the rather brilliant cyber-linked and cyber-cast 'Vesterbro'. This is a crazy, all-out testosterone driven doc that makes Jackass look like Diff'rent Strokes.
Jonathan Caouette's masterclass today, 'How to make a film for five hundred bucks' was excellent - though I still don't know how to make a doc for the price of a airfare to New York. Caouette and the aforementioned Noer are having a Youtube duel tonight that I must run to. This is a first for me! Though I imagine its like an iPod match, only the loudest applause wins.
Filipino doc-bending/drama perving auteur Khavn is here with Squatterpunk and The Muzzled Horse Of An Engineer In Search Of Mechanical Saddles (the still of two horses fornicating in the catalogue drew my attention, as does most anything with a horse in it these days thanks to Doc/Fest!). Its well worth a viewing if you don't know Khavn's films - even though he makes a few films a year this is one of his best.
I'm really keen on Burma VJs by Andreas Ostergaard (director of the classic Tintin et Moi). Its the best non-reportage investigation into the Burmese regime that I've seen on film yet. No doubt you'll be hearing a lot about this one. Also dying to see Birdsong by Albert Serra this Sunday - its being touted as 'Pasolini meets Werner Herzog in the story about the three kings'. What more could you ask for?
The thing most of us are excited about is the Patti Smith concert tomorrow night! I know she's suddenly about to make a whole bunch of new fans.
Stay tuned for the winners of the CPH:DOX awards tomorrow!
Klein Speech, Permissions Culture - More reaction
By Charlie Phillips 13 November, 2008
Few of you are asking when we'll be putting the films of the sessions online. Patience, patience, they're coming. But for now, get a bit more up to date with a full transcript of Richard Klein's keynote (complete with a photo of him that's a little unflattering!), which I'm told was an amazing event, a Guardian Review of the Theatrical Docs RIP panel, and Aggie V's analysis of James Boyle's analysis of our unfair and punishing UK copyright laws. Change them now!
And finally for now, courtesy of the Pixelwitch, here's our expert-skating festival director with DA Penne and Hegedus, all giving good face...
The world writes about Doc/Fest
By Charlie Phillips 12 November, 2008
For those of you who missed Doc/Fest or indeed those who were there but (er, like me) missed most of the films and sessions because you were too busy with work and play, there's a lot of information out there to help you catch up.
Broadcast have an excellent summary of commissioners' wishlists arising from their panels
Our friend Mullighan at Shooters tells you well about the films he saw (I'm so jealous he saw that Manics films, I haven't and won't get to see it, at least not for a while)
Nick F continued to write with passion in The Indy - I especially recommend his defence of Broomfield.
The guys from In A Dream (who also pitched in the MM and were really good people) have blogged on no less than CNN, whilst one of our photographers has a brief video of the ceilidh if you're not sure what this mysterious art is.
There's a lovely blog here from someone I don't know (get in touch whoever you are!) and meanwhile, Sean McAllister, who made possibly my favourite film of the festival, Japan:A Story of Love and hate has given over his blog to one of his main characters, Naoki, whose responses are appropriately both beautiful, sad and uplifting, just like his presence in the film. Meanwhile, Becca at FourDocs also writes about Japan... as well as the 'TV films' we showed.
You written about us as well? Please tell...
Lots of photos, and another guest blog
By Charlie Phillips 12 November, 2008
So before I hand over to another guest blogger, a nudge on your shoulder to check our Flickr photostream which has a whole torrent of Doc/Fest photos, some of people looking serious and some of people looking silly. In the latter category, here's me, awarding a prize to the winner of one of the Cross-Platform pitching awards...
I love that suit. Anyway, here's the next guest blog, in a post-festival stylage, courtesy of Ian Francis from 7 inch Cinema, one of the greatest film organisations in the UK. It's a privilege to have him here. And he's totally right about Sleep Furiously, if not the smell of Doc/Fest. We smell like roses, right?
Towards the tail-end of film festivals you get a particular fetid, weary sort of hum. Entering the Showroom on Sunday morning I could feel (smell?) the accumulated hours of watching, drinking and blethering, but there was still a buzz about the place. My day return from Birmingham was repaid tenfold within an hour thanks to Sleep Furiously, Gideon Koppel’s beautifully deliberate portrait of a Welsh village. Minutiae of farming life (I always wondered how they wrapped up hay-bales), snatches of Aphex Twin (the editor’s friend) and a scene cutting between a choir-practice and some waves that had me blubbing like a fool.
Apart from that there was a panel discussion featuring various graphic novelists in person and on Skype, and a film about Burroughs cohort Brion Gysin and his scheme to create a drug-free high with the Dream-Machine. The presence of students eating nachos seemed a good sign that the balance between industry and punters was being maintained. Before running for my train I managed to have a chat with Lorenzo Fonda, whose film Megunica is also showing at our festival in March. Being a nice bloke as well as a really good filmmaker, he gave me a flipbook to take home; the ideal Mr Benn-like souvenir from a strangely unreal day.
Thank you Doc/Fest! Enjoy your sleep.
7 Inch Cinema [www.7inch.org.uk]
And We're Done...
By Charlie Phillips 10 November, 2008
Doc/Fest 2008 is over, we're all done, we're happy, we're tired, we hope you had a good time.
Seemed from all your comments that this was a mighty fine Doc/Fest. For us on the inside, it's not easy to know how everything went down unless you tell us. I mean, I spent 2 days entirely in the MeetMarket so anything that happened on Friday or Saturday totally passed me by.
So I want to know how it was for you! Tell us everything you saw, heard, did. It's your thoughts and memories that will document Doc/Fest 2008, so bring 'em out.
And if you've got photos too, then email them to email@example.com with the subject photo2008 and/or upload them to Flickr and tag them with ‘Sheffield Doc/Fest 2008’.
Nick Fraser blogging on The Indy
By Charlie Phillips 08 November, 2008
There's blogging aplenty going on round these parts, not least on The Independent, where Nick Fraser is writing some great stuff.
And a big mention to to Agnes Varnum's Doc it Out - she's here and she's a-bloggin'.
And on the video side of things, have you seen our vodcasts ?
Are you writing, vlogging or similar about Doc/Fest too at the moment? Tell us!