Friday, November 9, 2007

ITVS announces International Call

From the Independent Television Service, a February 1, 2008 deadline to submit "programs that bring international perspectives, ideas, events, and people to U.S. television." Looking for "single documentaries of standard broadcast-hour length...that have already begun producton and can be realistically completed within one year of contract" and "co-production projects." Must be "independent producers"... Students not eligible; U.S. residents "not eligible to apply as a primary applicant. International Call funds must be used as production completion funds for the project." Visit ITVS for details.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pollard interview at

An interview with Sam Pollard about When the Levees Broke (produced with Spike Lee), excerpted from the second edition of Documentary Storytelling, has been posted online by Media ("MediaRights is a project of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Arts Engine, Inc., an organization committed to producing, distributing and promoting independent media of consequence.")

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Writers Guild call for entries

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) -- call for submissions for the WGA's Documentary Screenplay Award. Submissions are due between September 14 and December 4, 2007, with the Documentary Screenplay Award to be presented at the Los Angeles ceremony of the 2008 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 9, 2008.

To be eligible for entry, films must have been exhibited theatrically in Los Angeles or New York during 2006. Scripts need not be written under WGA jurisdiction... At the time the script is submitted, all credited writers on the film must be or apply to become members of the WGAW Nonfiction Writers Caucus or the WGAE Nonfiction Writers Committee. ...The script must be of feature length (over 45 minutes). Films which receive their first public exhibition on broadcast or cable television are not eligible for Screen Awards. Foreign language films are not eligible. Documentaries produced through the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds will be accepted.

For more info, go to or

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New book from Onyekachi Wambu

Under the Tree of Talking: Leadership for Change in Africa, edited by Onyekachi Wambu, is being published by Counterpoint and will be available after September 1 from Amazon in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere. Wambu, a filmmaker and journalist, was interviewed in chapter 25 of Documentary Storytelling, Second Edition (2007).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Save the BBC's Storyville

In an email sent August 17, 2007, the International Documentary Association reported: "The BBC is conducting an intensive internal spending review and, according to well-placed sources, the Corporation is planning to reduce Storyville’s annual budget from £2.2m to £1m - a 60% cut. The impact will turn Storyville into an acquisition strand by abolishing funding for its UK co-productions. This means there will be some 25 less documentary commissions a year for UK directors and producers."

Readers of Documentary Storytelling, Second Edition (2007) may remember the interview with Storyville ommissioning editor Nick Fraser (chapter 20), and discussion of the many films the strand has helped bring to air, including So Much So Fast, Murderball, and Trembling before G-d.

The IDA asks those concerned to sign a petition protesting the cuts, at, and in addition to contact fellow media professionals, the BBC, and others.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

P.O.V. Season Underway

The 2007 season of the PBS series P.O.V, television's "longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films" is underway and well worth checking out. It runs on Tuesdays at 10 (check local listings), starting June 19.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 10 review

Thank you to Spoke Digital Films for their review of Documentary Storytelling (the first edition; an updated edition is now available), along with four other documentary books! Click on the link to read the reviews.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Foreign language edition - Portuguese

Elsevier Brazil is translating Documentary Storytelling, Second Edition (Focal Press 2007) into Portuguese! Stay tuned for publication date.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New article online - Writers Store

"Nonfiction filmmakers can’t take creative license with factual stories, but instead must limit their artistry to what media historian Erik Barnouw described as the creative arrangement of factual material. What’s the difference?" See new article, Creative License vs. Creative Arrangement, in the Writers Store ezine!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Documentary" magazine archive

Documentary, a publication of the International Documentary Association, has put its magazine archive online. There's a 2005 article by me about efforts to renew the rights to Eyes on the Prize and the cost of using archival materials.

Speaking of Eyes, when is PBS going to re-broadcast the rest of the series? The
first six hours (which premiered on PBS in 1987) were shown on PBS in October 2006. Tell PBS if you want to see the remaining eight hours (which premiered on PBS in 1990), covering events from 1965 to 1984 and including stories about Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Attica, the Black Arts movement, Carl Stokes, Harold Washington, and much more.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Interview with Onyekachi Wambu

The Spring/Summer 2007 issue of the very elegant DoubleTake/Points of Entry magazine includes an excerpt from the second edition of my book, Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films -- an interview with filmmaker and journalist Onyekachi Wambu. Born in Nigeria, he moved with his family to London and is currently the information officer at the African Foundation for Development (

Interview with Kenn Rabin

Zoom in Online excerpted an interview with archival expert Kenn Rabin, also from the second edition of Documentary Storytelling (Focal Press, January 2007). Thanks to Annie Frisbie for the post, and to GreenCine Daily for picking up on it -- they dubbed the excerpt "fascinating"!