Doc Digest: November 7, 2014

Nanook of the North (1922, dir. Robert J. Flaherty)

It is now November, the time of year when most Canadians begin anew their 8-month marathon of complaints about the cold. It’s the perfect time of year, though, to wrap yourself in a warm blanket, dust off your SAD lamps, and read the Doc Digest!

This post from Gregory Byrne on how to edit a documentary has one of our favourite quotes of the last few weeks: “Editing a documentary is akin to someone handing you a bag of sentences and asking you to write a book.”

Filmmaker Annette Mangaard tells Canadian Art about the editing challenge she faced while making her documentary about the life and career of Suzy Lake: assembling decades of archival footage and interviews.

Speaking of archival footage: does anyone have room in their attic for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin? Master filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus have decades of footage and equipment that needs a new home (though you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with a cooler name than “Iron Mountain” as a storage facility.)

Moving on from the past, we look to the bright, scary future: documentaries in virtual reality! Sure, the dorky headwear hasn’t changed much over the years, but Oculus Rift promises to create a fully immersive experience – which, for a genre trafficking in reality, is a logical next step. TIME has the full story here.

Filmmaker Thomas Wallner vividly describes his experience making the virtual reality documentary series The Polar Sea in our latest issue – seek it out on your nearest newsstand, it’s a must-read.

“Right now, every film I make, I think it might be my last, and that’s the way I operate.” Those are grim words from filmmaker John Walker in the King’s Journalism Review as he faces the reality of securing traditional documentary funding in Canada. So how did Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky raise $1.7 million in production funding for Watermark? Read on to find out.

Despite his current challenges, Walker has been making films for almost four decades now – read this two-part interview from the POV archive to learn more about his storied career.

Steven James May also addressed how public funding has fallen out of tune with the needs of Canadian doc-makers in his two-part feature for POV, The Dangling Conversation.

Suppose you did secure funding to get your film made. Now what? The NFB offers some suggestions for how to get eyeballs on your films.

Torontonians: today is the last day to enter RIDM’s excellent contest – seriously, if it wasn’t a conflict of interest, we’d enter ourselves! (Sorry, non-Torontonians – though you should definitely still go to the festival, just look at this great line-up. Frederick Wiseman! Edward Snowden! Juggalos!)

In other film festival news, POV is proud to co-present four documentaries screening at the Reel Asian Film Fest in Toronto. More details here.

We leave you with this story, in which a man claims that he let himself be eaten alive by an anaconda for a Discovery Channel documentary. Jon Voight could not be reached for comment.

See you in two weeks!