When this issue was planned, COVID-19 was in the distance, nothing but a series of news reports from Asia. For a month, I was corresponding with writers and conducting interviews from France, southern Italy, and London. By early March, it became clear that something immense was about to overtake us. Still, when we departed Sicily for England, we expected to be interrogated by authorities at the airport—but nothing happened. In London, we went, as usual, to the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, and the West End. To our London friend Gary and us, it felt like 1939. Something terrible was about to happen but all remained surprisingly normal. We arrived home on March 12, to nothing more than a question at the border: “Will you isolate for fourteen days?” We did.
And then the world changed. Hot Docs postponed its festival. So did DOXA. All the cinemas closed, as did most everything else. Trudeau went into semi-isolation. Boris Johnson nearly died. (Trump, of course, remained Trump.)
Nevertheless, we soldiered on with this issue of POV.
Our cover story is about a daughter who responded to her father’s death by grieving and, at a measured pace, creating a brilliant documentary about the two of them. It was a pleasure to talk with Mira Burt-Wintonick about her dad Peter—a great friend of mine, a Governor General’s Award-winner, and a former editor of POV. Her piece kicks off a section of profiles of women in documentary: Maya Gallus walks us through the vast filmography of the great Agnès Varda, Judy Wolfe profiles the politically engaged Quebecoise journalist and doc maker Raymonde Provencher, and Susan G. Cole takes a look at Torontonians Ali Weinstein, Lulu Wei, and Cornelia Principe.
Two experts in their fields, podcast authority TK Matunda and photographer/writer Laurence Butet-Roch offer insightful pieces on people whose work they respect. Matunda reveals her appreciation for Eleanor McDowall and her Radio Atlas project, which advocates for foreign-language, subtitled podcasts. Butet-Roch writes with great respect about the work and philosophies of Indigenous photographers Greg Staats and Krista Belle Stewart.
Our “Essays and Dialogue” section features regular POV contributor Andrew McIntosh coming to grips with the rise of documentary subjects and storytelling tropes in mainstream Hollywood movies, Samara Grace Chadwick wrestling with the trials and tribulations of oppositional doc festivals, and Jason Anderson investigating what impact producers achieve. My wide-ranging interview with Andreas Mendritzki and Peter Raymont about making docs in this country rounds out the section.
As is our custom, POV is featuring a “behind-the-scenes” look at upcoming docs. Pat Mullen, Matthew Hays, Victor Stiff, and Liam Lacey contribute punchy pieces interrogating the creative processes involved in the making of Andrew Moir’s Babe, I Hate to Go, Mike Hoolboom’s Judy Versus Capitalism, Ariel Nasr’s The Forbidden Reel, and Sam Soko’s Softie.
It’s been tough working on this issue with a pandemic raging. As editor, I’d like to thank the POV team—Pat Mullen, Dave Donald, and Daniel Glassman—in putting together the magazine. We hope you enjoy it.