Thursday, May 19, 2011

Report from DocAviv

I'm just back from the fabulous DocAviv Film Festival. This was my first trip to Israel, and I wish I could've stayed longer. I met wonderful people, saw some great films as part of the International Jury, went to the beach (a lot), visited many of the famous sites and learned a lot. While DocAviv takes place during Cannes, that doesn't matter much to the locals, who are coming out in droves, filling the theaters and having a great time watching some amazing docs.

We awarded two prizes. The first was a Special Jury Mention to the film Darwin, by Nick Brandestini. He's off to Karlovy Vary next, and you can check out the film here. We also awarded the International Competition Award to El Sicario: Room 164 by Gianfranco Rosi. Turns out El Sicario was recently picked up and will play NYC and elsewhere soon. I highly recommend both films as well as all of the others in competition. There was also an Israeli Doc competition (with many great films, Israeli docs are in their prime right now) and student film awards, as well as a DocChallenge and many special events (including my favorite: Food and Film). The festival is only 13 years old now (happy Bar Mitzvah), but is growing in importance and stature and I highly recommend that doc makers, industry and fans check it out. You can't get much better than May in Tel Aviv, with good docs, good conversations and outdoor screenings at the Tel Aviv Port!

While there, I also ran a workshop with Hypermedia on the Future of the Doc, called "Re:Invent." It was a full day workshop broken into three sessions: new business models for distribution and audience engagement, transmedia practices and pitching. I learned a lot from the audience - about particularities of Israeli cinema and possibilities, about new ideas and I hope I left behind some wisdom as well. The biggest things I learned are: 1. that Israeli Docs are great, the scene is vibrant and winning awards (this I knew, but learned even more while there, watching about 15 recent docs) and 2. that there's a pretty solid funding system in place, but not much for trying new models of outreach and distribution, and last 3. that the political situation makes many things difficult for Israeli filmmakers both at home and abroad (in many ways, and from many different perspectives, too much to cover here). There were two interviews that ran in conjunction. One at NRG, and you can see a Google Translation here, and one with DocMovies. Speaking of DocMovies, they have launched a really cool distribution service that is very filmmaker friendly, and I hope to cover more about that soon.

I've uploaded the slides from my workshop to SlideShare. Feel free to download them, and use them as you wish. I hope to give more updates from the festival soon.

DocAviv - Roadmap to the Future of Docs
View more presentations from Brian Newman

And a late edit: The organizers published this great Flickr Set of the day:


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Up Next: DocAviv and building a roadmap for the future of Docs

I'm finally settled into the new apartment, and have found the buried computer cables. No, I didn't go completely offline thanks to my Android, but I am not much into typing the blog from my phone. While the rest of the film industry preps for Cannes, I'm now busy with a few filmmaker clients and with preparing for my next masterclass/workshop in conjunction with the DocAviv Film Festival, scheduled for May 18, 2011.

I'm working with Hypermedia to put on a full day workshop on the future of the Documentary. Here's the English version of the description and you can find the Hebrew version here or here. If you are in Tel Aviv, register and/or stop by and say hello, and tell your friends who might live there. While I hope to offer some new insights into the possible future of the doc, I'm really looking forward to learning from the audience how the film industry there sees the future, because their doc community is pretty strong and vibrant.

Here's the description:

Roadmap for the Documentary Filmmaker

Why try to predict the future when you can simply invent it?

Digital technology, new business models and a plethora of innovative production and creative tools – all these are combined together and promise many exciting years of research and challenges in the realms of documentary filmmaking. What are the possible directions in the field? Where do we go from here? How do we find the path to success in the new world?

This practical all-day seminar will lead the participants into the future districts of the field and provide filmmakers with a concrete, practical and up-to-date tool kit for turning an era of change into an era of new opportunities.

Content editor and producer: Ari Davidovich.

Wednesday, 18.5.11, at ZOA in Tel Aviv

Fee required, please register in advance.
For details and registration:

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