I don’t know if you guys heard about this, but Errol Morris, who is one of the most prolific and respected documentarieans of our time wrote a book. I was pleased to find that it’s a philosophy book of sorts, dealing with the nature of truth. I’ve of course always been a fan of Errol’s movies, and based on the nature of the questions he’s asking, the the level the conversations in his movies usually reach, I was always certain he’d had an intellectual background. Well, now that I’m finally delving into his book, I can’t help but admire him even more. As it turns out, he has a background in philosophy (as I do) and had some of the same encounters with great postmodern thinkers as a young grad student that I had (with similar frustrations, as fate would have it). I want to present this bit of reading to you so that you might better understand the type of work that goes on under the surface when constructing a documentary film (or a book for that matter). Werner Herzog famously tells his student to “read, read, read, read, READ!” Should they want to become great filmmakers. Well, Errol […]
This is is VERY encouraging, and very much in line with what I’ve been saying about a golden age for documentary. Here are all-time documentary box office earnings from Box Office Mojo. What do you notice that’s interesting? We see that several types of film are big earners: – controversial or partisan political docs. Michael Moore has four in the top 30 and Dinesh D’Souza has three. – animal and nature documentaries (which was surprising to me even though I love March of the Penguins) – singer or celebrity based documentaries (not surprising because of the star power) – but LOOK at this: there are SEVEN documentaries from this year among the top 100 Three of them are excellent biopics: Won’t You Be My Neighbor is my favorite, but RBG is very well done and Whitney does a great job of paying tribute to the talented singer. One is another partisan political doc (D’Souza again), there are two nature docs and Three Identical Strangers, which is just a good, crazy story. Most of you should know how I feel about partisan bully pulpits that degrade an art form especially suited to generate empathy (or if not you will if you […]
How to Film Truth: The Story of Documentary Film as a Spiritual Journey is available now! Get a copy HERE.
As you guys know, I LOVE the Mr. Rodgers documentary, as this indie wire article points out, it’s created a renewed interest in him over at PBS. I love seeing things like this, when a film starts to have a positive impact on the world.
Here’s another great write up for Minding the Gap. It’s goung to be on Hulu soon! https://theoutline.com/post/5669/minding-the-gap-review
I can’t wait to get into this book. What a great and generous review from Roger Ebert.com of all places! Great job Niles Schwartz! “Off the Map” is book number two in the Reel Spirituality Monograph series, the first of which is How to Talk to a Movie by Elijah Davidson. The third will be my book, How to Film Truth. https://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/book-review-off-the-map-freedom-control-and-the-future-in-michael-manns-public-enemies
This is an interesting documentary that explores what it means to have a twin, even if that person is not a part of your life. It’s about two artists, who share almost nothing in common by the way of their experiences, yet share the same physiology. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/documentary-film-witkin-witkin-1301411
“The late documentarian Albert Maysles—who made sympathetic figures out of door-to-door Bible salesmen, decaying shut-in aristocrats, and the IBM corporation—once said, “The film is sort of the beginning of a love affair between the filmmakers and the subjects. Some filmmakers make targets of the subjects they film; that’s not our way.” This is a great article over at The Ringer about the incredible evolution of the documentary genre, the increased awareness of audiences and investors about the potential of documentary, and the remarkable box office success of movies like the recent Mr. Rodgers biopic “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” https://www.theringer.com/movies/2018/7/24/17607044/documentaries-box-office-three-identical-strangers-rbg-wont-you-be-my-neighbor-mister-rogers-cnn
I am a BIG fan of this documentary.