Documenting documentaries: A learning curve

I am now an expert on all things documentary… Just in time for True/False Film Festival. How convenient.

Exactly two stories are in the works, both to do with documentary film. One previews Byron Hurt’s¬†Soul Food Junkies, which screens at Mizzou on the 28th. You should go see it. It’s free.

The other is (potentially) about Dan Lindsay, an Oscar-winning documentarian. I may or may not be having some small issues contacting him at the moment, but that’s beside the point.

Both stories combined have given me a new appreciation for the finesse required of documentary filmmakers.

David Wilson, a self-professed “Co-conspirator” in regards to True/False (he founded the festival ten years ago) put it better than I ever could.

“With documentary you have to figure out what the story is as you go,” he told me, his voice crackling through my speaker phone. “In real life stories never come in neat packages, so the art of documentary filmmaking is being able to be in a moment but thinking outside of that moment about what it means and how it forms into a narrative.” Brilliant.

All this new knowledge crammed into my skull recalls a line from last Tuesday’s reporting lecture by Jacqui Banaszynski : “A ¬†journalist’s job isn’t to know stuff. It’s to find stuff out.”

Aside from being one of the most quotable lecture moments of Spring 2013, this also happens to be true.

Two weeks ago I knew next to nothing about documentary film. Now I can hold my own in festivals and features alike. Hopefully.

If you live in Columbia and you haven’t experienced the magic that is the True/False Film Festival… you really should. (Image in Vox Magazine’s blog post announcing the 2013 True/False films.)
Documenting documentaries: A learning curve