DOC Blog
The Doc Blog Has Moved! Join Us at

Hello, faithful followers and readers and fans of all things documentary. I want to thank you for all visits and likes and reblogs and such over the past year and change. But while this Tumblr isn’t going anywhere and might have some other function in the future, the Documentary Channel's blog (aka the DocBlog) has moved to another location, embedded directly on the Documentary Channel website.

Over there you’ll find the same content I’ve posted here. News, discussions, recommendations and especially interviews will continue. And I urge you to head over there as soon as you can to read my latest conversation with Jay Bulger, director of the must-see music doc Beware of Mr. Baker. And interviews with the filmmakers behind Only the Young, Tchoupitoulas and West of Memphis should be coming in the next couple weeks.

Also join me over at the DOC website to find out what kind of great programming they’ve got on the channel (ask your cable provider to carry us if you don’t have DiSH or DirecTV). And if you don’t get DOC, you can still watch tons of full-length docs streaming via the DOC site and YouTube channel. They’ve just uploaded The Agronomist, which you should definitely check out.

Thanks again for reading!

"The Waiting Room" Leads Documentary Nominees for 2013 Independent Spirit Awards

The day after winning the Gotham Award for Best Documentary, How to Survive a Plague has just received a nomination for the equivalent honor at the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards. Interestingly enough, it’s joined by a near identical pack of films as those it competed against at the Gothams (last year saw a similar overlap). The two repeat contenders include Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present and The Waiting Room. New opposition, however, comes from The Invisible War and The Central Park Five. Overall, it seems a big year for issue-oriented docs.

The Waiting Room has the additional honor of being nominated in another category, for the Truer Than Fiction Award. There it goes up against Only the Young and Leviathan, which is the only nonfiction Spirit nominee I haven’t yet seen (I hear it’s incredible). It’s not rare for such double-playing. Past docs to be nominated in both categories include Chisholm ‘72, Promises, My Architect, The Order of Myths, Sweetgrass, Marwencol and Anvil! The Story of Anvil (this last one in separate years).

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With a Gotham Award Win, Jared Leto’s “Artifact” Rises to the Top of Our Must-See Docs List

Last night’s Gotham Independent Film Awards got off to a surprising start when actor-turned-filmmaker Jared Leto won the Audience Choice Award for his documentary Artifact. Beating the expected winner Beasts of the Southern Wild in the category, which was voted for online by moviegoers, Leto (whose directorial credit is under his pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins) told the NYC crowd, “Don’t hate me because I won, I love that other film too.”

The reason the win was such an upset is not only because of the popularity of Beasts but also because Artifact hasn’t officially been released theatrically yet. However, it did previously win the Blackberry People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered. It also recently screened at the DOC NYC documentary festival, and now it’s sure to find non-fest distribution thanks to its confirmation as a crowd-pleasing film.

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"Sound of Mumbai" Director Turns to the Science of Adoption With "The Dark Matter of Love"

There have been a ton of documentaries made about adoption, but a new film won’t just be following a family with a new addition, it will also be about the scientific study of love. Titled The Dark Matter of Love, it’s the latest from Sarah McCarthy, director of The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical and one of Realscreen’s recently named "Doc Hot Shots" of 2012.

The main subjects are a family in Wisconsin, which includes a teenage biological daughter, that has just adopted an 11-year-old girl and five-year-old twin boys from Russia. They’ve also hired the world’s greatest developmental psychologist to assist with a program of study and therapy and the creation of an environment that’s best for the three newcomers to form relationships with their new father, mother and sister.

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What Are the Best Books for Documentary Fans?

Over at Indiewire’s Criticwire blog, I participated in another survey this week, the latest asking, “If someone’s looking to buy a film-related book for the cinephile in their life this holiday season, what would you recommend?” As I’m known there for running this outlet and being “the doc guy” to my peers, I felt the need to include a book for the documentary fan specifically. I went with the old standby:

While 20 years behind the times now, the best read on the history of docs is still Eric Barnouw’s ‘Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film' (if you’re fine with something more textbook-ish, you can later go with Betsy McClane’s recently updated 'A New History of Documentary').

The Barnouw was my “textbook” for classes on documentary in both my undergrad and grad programs, and as I say it’s still the most enjoyable read if you’re looking for an introduction. Of course, even more academically minded fans can also go with Introduction to Documentary by Bill Nichols, and anyone looking for something much lighter and certainly more modern than Barnouw might be interested in Marsha McCreadie’s Documentary Superstars.

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