Doc Digest: October 24, 2014

The Act of Killing (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

Welcome back to the Doc Digest, Point of View’s biweekly curation of what’s been happening lately in the world of documentary culture. Will our long-awaited sophomore effort live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

BOO! Hallowe’en is a week away, and while documentary probably isn’t the first genre one associates with the holiday of horror, Decider has done the Lord’s work in tracking down their picks for the 10 most terrifying docs of all time. (Note: POV cannot be held responsible for nightmares, mounting dread at the state of the world, or other negative consequences as a result of watching these.)

Let’s go from trick or treat to Trick or Treaty?, the latest film by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. It’s one of many fantastic indigenous films screening at the 15th annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, on now through October 26 in Toronto. We reviewed the film when it premiered at TIFF, and contributor Kiva Reardon profiled the legendary filmmaker in our current issue – read it here, now online in full. Related: The Walrus just published a visual essay of Attawapiskat, shot during the Idle No More movement by Magnum photographer Larry Towell.

Doc-making can be a thrilling, terrifying experience, especially if you’re taking on a Goliath-type subject. The Center for Media & Social Impact has begun a research project “on the problems filmmakers face when they tackle deep-pocketed, powerful subjects.” They’ve shared their interim results online, with more to come. A good example of this sort of dangerous doc is Joe Berlinger’s Crude (2009), the making of which triggered a huge legal battle with Chevron over the rights of documentary filmmakers and journalists to protect their source materials. Read about it here.

As a comic enthusiast and former Guelph resident, the author of this digest is looking forward to seeing the already-award-winning Seth’s Dominion, a live-action/animated documentary about Canada’s perpetually fedora’d artist. The Montreal Gazette recently profiled the director of the film , Luc Chamberland. Contributor Pat Mullen caught one of the earliest screenings of the film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, where it won Best Feature – here’s his review.

Seth isn’t interviewed here, but it was refreshing to read this article at Indiewire about what it’s like to be the subject of a documentary rather than the maker of one. Among the interviewees are the stars of Meet the Patels, which we reviewed at Hot Docs 2014.

Our friends at the DOC Institute have had a busy month, hosting two Meet the Funder nights at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel and announcing two annual awards. Created to “recognize and celebrate those working in the documentary field in Canada, including directors, producers and other key visionaries,” one must be a current member of the Documentary Organization of Canada to nominate someone. Nominations are due November 5.

Finally, Netflix is back in the news, this time making strange bedfellows with Rogers by announcing a collaboration on a new original drama series. Rogers recently announced its own online streaming service, shomi, but this announcement may indicate the two won’t be as competitive as originally anticipated. Netflix has been pushing documentary lately, so here’s hoping an original, Canadian documentary series isn’t far behind.

Happy early Hallowe’en!

Doc Digest for October 10, 2014