We’ve been thinking a lot about POV in the past months. The magazine is 25 years old and I’ve been the editor for the past 15. We’ve matured and widened our focus over that time, but the question is inevitable: should we revamp again? The answer is yes.
With this issue, we’ve begun the process of remaking POV. As a documentary magazine, POV has to be relevant to its readers. And its readership should expand. One way to do that is to commission essays that confront and analyze topics that are part of our contemporary critical discourse.
For POV #107, we’ve created a new subject heading: Current Affairs. The three articles in our new section deal with the Syrian Civil War, the effects of globalization and the revival of interest in psychedelic drugs. Many documentaries have been made about these topics, and our writers—Daniel Glassman on Syria, Judy Wolfe on global trade and Zoe Cormier on psychedelics—tackle the subjects while reviewing important docs that have dealt with the themes. We feel they’ve broken new ground for POV — and kudos to them.
Just as some documentaries tackle the critical issues of the day, others take us to foreign climes. Liam Lacey, one of Canada’s finest film critics, has recently returned to Toronto from Spain. We asked him to inaugurate our new Letter from Abroad section with a look at the documentaries and the culture of the country he just spent two years exploring. The result is “Sketches of Spain,” an article that we think Miles Davis would have enjoyed reading.
Documentary is an art form with a colourful and creative past. It’s our feeling that not enough people know about the great films and photos that have enriched the world in previous decades. In our restructured POV, you can expect to see more pieces about photographic icons and documentary masters. Jocelyne Clarke’s insightful look at the French documentary legend Raymond Depardon offers readers a rare article on a great photographer and filmmaker. Clarke compares Depardon’s hard, incisive filmmaking to that of Frederick Wiseman: both are fearless verité directors. It’s appropriate that Geoff Pevere, a superb writer on film and popular culture, has weighed in with a humanistic analysis of Wiseman’s inaugural and intensely controversial masterpiece, Titicut Follies.
We are also pleased to increase one of our longest running columns, Policy Matters. Filmmaker, writer and former POV publisher and editor Barri Cohen is an expert on governmental institutions and practices. We’re expanding her column from one page to two or three, depending upon the subject. Cohen knows so much; her writing will be more understandable and accessible with greater space to analyze how our documentary practice really works in Canada. We look forward to a longer Policy Matters with even richer content. In this issue, Cohen looks at the historical disconnect between CRTC chairs and innovative filmmakers. Though Mme. Joly is responding to some of our industry’s concerns, the funding docs and fiction films through governmental intercessions remains a major issue.
POV has always concentrated on the new films being produced each season. Our pieces are informative without being overtly critical. We strive to give our documentary auteurs the chance to explain why and how they have created new, important films. Now redubbed Doc Premieres, this stand-by of our magazine will, of course, continue. In this issue, POV stalwarts Pat Mullen and Adam Nayman return to our pages with features on three of the finest films of the fall season.
In “Gentle Giants,” Mullen—our intrepid associate online editor—gives us a thorough and sympathetic piece on the role of masculinity in Denis Côté’s A Skin So Soft. Nayman, who has recently authored books on auteurs Paul Verhoeven and Ben Wheatley, goes from strength to strength as a critic. His piece on artists Beau Dick and Shane Koyczan has produced our cover image.
We hope you enjoy POV. Please let us know what you think of our changes and feel free to offer suggestions by sending your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.