Sunday, October 16, 2011

Documentary Storytelling


One of the great challenges every year is finding documentaries that fulfill our expectations of great narrative storytelling. Real life is very rarely interesting; it takes a great documentarian to take hours and hours of footage and turn them into a cohesive and compelling story. Whether you're interested in tackling your own documentary project or simply opening a door into another person's life, we've got the schedule for you.



Independent Filmmaking: Getting Started
Stephen F. Austin Hotel, Assembly Room
You have a great script that you want to turn into a film. What should your next step be? And the 10 steps after that? Join a conversation with three filmmakers who share their independent filmmaking experiences. This panel will offer the motivation you need to bite the bullet and will cover the basics and overlooked hurdles first-time filmmakers often encounter when making their films.
Jeremiah Jones, Eric Schaeffer, Ya’Ke Smith
Moderated Chet Garner

Independent Filmmaking: Budget and Funding Sources

Stephen F. Austin Hotel, Assembly Room
Anyone can get their hands on a video camera these days, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still need a budget and an overall plan. Micro-budget and low budget films (under $50,000) require some creative strategies to be successful. This panel will cover formulating and determining a budget that can serve as an outline for your production and impress potential investors (hint: don’t forget music licensing, festival fees, and travel and marketing costs!). In addition, the panel will offer ideas on how to raise and save money, including in-kind support, donations, tax breaks and incentives, grants and foundation support, fundraisers, and crowdsourcing.
Noel Paynter, Stu Pollard, Susan Kirr
Moderated by Jason Wehling

Independent Filmmaking: Pre-Production and Production

Stephen F. Austin Hotel, Assembly Room
This session will cover the nuts and bolts of starting production on your feature film, beginning with organizing a detailed plan to implement your idea and achieve your goal. From here, the panelists will walk you through all the legal stuff you need to know— crew agreements, releases, libel, privacy, right of publicity, copyright and trademark, music licensing, and more. They will also discuss the arts of identifying essential crew needs and the resources to find them; determining locations and equipment needs; creating a shooting schedule; preparing for a typical day of production; starting your marketing campaign (yes, now); working with your editor (yes, also now); and tips on how to have a successful production, stay on schedule, and keep your crew intact and positive (hint: food).
Kat Candler, Martin Guigui, Scott Meyers, Bryan Poyser, Eric Weissman
Moderated by Tom Copeland

Independent Filmmaking: Post-Production

Stephen F. Austin Hotel, Assembly Room
This panel will cover the various elements of post-production for your film—editing (whether editing your own film or working with a hired editor), color correction, post-sound editing (cleaning and mixing), scoring, etc. It will also include information on finding and working with good, affordable people; putting together your trailer; and tricks for achieving high production value on a limited budget.
Mark Coffey, Eric Friend, Melissa Shea, Marcus van Bavel
Moderated by Alan Berg

SUNDAY 10/23
Documentaries 101

Driskill Hotel, Hogg Parlor
Join these notable documentary filmmakers as they walk you thorough the production steps of a documentary feature. From an inventive idea to a marketable trailer to the time you’ll need to spend filming and editing, these experts will relate their own experiences and offer insight on how to maintain control of your concept while staying true to your real-life subject.
Karen Bernstein, Vince Clemente, Henry Corra, Vanessa Roth, Michael Urie
Moderated by Paul Stekler


Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters (USA , 92min)
Director: Adam Cornelius

Tetris. We've all played it. It may have been decades ago or today on the latest smart phone. But everyone has spent time rotating the pieces, dropping them in place, or despairing over that piece that just won't fit. But what about the people who've truly mastered Tetris? Are they out there; great champions who've dedicated their minds to solving these intricate puzzles?' Ecstasy of Order tracks down such a group of record-holding Tetris players as they prepare to compete in the 2010 Classic Tetris World Championship. The film gives us an intimate look at the Masters as they reveal their secrets, recount their decade-long obsessions with the game, and take us to the transcendental state required to reach the highest levels known as the 'Ecstasy of Order'.

One Night Stand (USA , 74min)
Director: Elisabeth Sperling, Trish Dalton

It takes a lot of creativity, hard work, and talent to put together a musical. But is it possible to do this in under 24 hours? One Night Stand is a funny, intimate, behind-the-scenes documentary following top Broadway and television writers, actors, and directors as they invent four short musicals, from the blank page to the live stage, all within 24 hours. It's A Chorus Line meets Project Runway-- a window into the creative process intensified by a tight deadline: the spark, the camaraderie, the sheer panic, and the ultimate thrill of expression. Cheyenne Jackson, Rachel Dratch, and Richard Kind among many other talented actors, composers and directors come together one night to unleash their creative minds and talents in One Night Stand.

Township to the Stage (USA, 85min.)
Director: David Meyer

In South Africa 's emerging world of stand-up comedy, comedians of color have only recently started performing on stage. With the opportunity to finally command the attention of a large audience, they go beyond just settling for easy laughs and confront the legacy of apartheid head on in their material. Against the backdrop of this volatile environment, twenty-five year old Trevor Noah attempts his first one-man show, despite his lack of experience performing on stage. Revisiting his past, he creates material from memories of growing up in the township under apartheid. Yet as he prepares, Trevor faces a multitude of challenges: an underdeveloped comedy scene, criticism from other comics, strained personal relationships, lingering racial tension, and a shocking family tragedy. They combine to form a crisis that threatens not just the success of the show, but Trevor's dreams of lifting himself and the South African comedy scene to the global stage.

Thank You For Judging (USA , 91min.)
Directors: Michael Urie, Sean Fornara, Selma Al-Faqih, Travis Flournoy

In the spirit of Spellbound and American Teen, actor Michael Urie returns to his former High School to document a unique form of speech competition referred to as oral interpretation. Thank You For Judging tracks a group of teens with determined hearts and minds, not to mention talent, as they train and compete in hopes of winning first place at theTexas State Finals Tournament in Plano, Texas. Each year, the best from across the state come to be judged. Join Urie as he follows this young, passionate group of teens on a quest for more than just a trophy, but for a way to express themselves. Thank You for Judging is inspiring in how it gently reminders us of how commonplace events can be immeasurably influential in developing character and instilling values in today's youth.

When Dreams Take Flight (Canada, 54min)
Writer/Director: Sheona McDonald

Through a series of fascinating stories about brilliant, obsessed and often courageous characters, spanning six centuries and two continents, When Dreams Take Flight explores the genesis, myth and reality of why humans are compelled to fly like birds and what six hundred years of failed experiments have taught us. But one man is determined to make it happen. Todd Reichert is a determined student at the University of Toronto who is set on building and flying the first human-propelled ornithopter. He and a small team workout diligently to accomplish what Da Vinci only dreamt of - pilot a human powered flying machine. If successful, this small group of Canadians will have a place in the aviation history books. This exciting film begins with the myth of Icarus, then travels through the dreams of DaVinci before moving into the 19th century with pioneers like Otto Lilienthal and Alexander Lippisch and finally landing with modern day characters like Yves Rousseau. When Dreams Take Flight is a film about dreams and dreamers, a film about people who are willing to risk life and limb to follow their hearts and chase a dream that has existed since the dawn of man.

Darwin (Switzerland , 98 min)
Writer: Taylor Segrest
Director: Nick Brandestini

Darwin is an isolated community at the end of a weathered road in Death Valley , California with a population of 35 people . Propelled from society by tragic turns, the people of Darwin must now find ways to coexist in a place without a government, a church, jobs, or children. This near-ghost town's survival depends on a fragile, gravity-fed waterline that descends from the mountains where top-secret weapons are being tested. One 'accidental' drop of a bomb, they half-joke, could wipe out their entire town. Come and meet the people of Darwin.

Stories From An Undeclared War (USA , 82 min)
Director: Dennis Rice

Stories from an Undeclared War is a feature-length documentary about The Freedom Writers Diary, a collection of journal entries written by 150 'at-risk' students from Long Beach , California who were once considered 'unteachable.' Encouraged by teacher Erin Gruwell and inspired by the writings of Anne Frank, the students discovered a new way to express themselves and began to care more about history, humanity, and perhaps most importantly, their futures. This new documentary follows their story from the first day of Freshman Year in 1994 to the present day. Containing intimate accounts from the students of Woodrow Wilson Hight School's Room 203, Stories from and Undeclared War exposes the truth behind this extraordinarily inspiring story.

Goold’s Gold (USA , 90 min)
Director: Tucker Capps, Ryan Sevy

Jonathan Goold has discovered gold! Or so he thinks. Convinced that there's gold hidden in the recently exposed hills of the Alaskan wilderness due to the melting glaciers of global warming, Goold sets in motion events to find his treasure. With heart, a reckless adventurous spirit, and a group of supportive pals, Goold sets out on a quest to find gold. Set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness, Goold's Gold is an offbeat global warming adventure that takes us on a journey not only for gold, but one of self-discovery, friendships, and of course, hidden treasure. Join Jonathan Goold as he hunts for gold where no man has ever set foot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you guys quickly address what one should wear to these events? Especially the awards luncheon.