IDA – Magazine & Essential Doc Reads

After the death of the DOX magazine there is a lack of longer and deeper articles about the documentary genre as an art form – where to find reflections on aesthetics and ethics, historical articles, interviews with important directors and cameramen etc.?

OK, you can find a lot of valuable material in festival catalogues and sites, and we try at filmkommentaren to direct you to that through links. But it is here and there and everywhere…

BUT there is some help to be found through the sister organisation of the EDN (European Documentary Network), the Los Angeles based IDA (International Documentary Association), that publishes the quarterly Documentary Magazine that has its main focus on American documentaries and documentarians and has a fine weekly service, read this:

Essential Doc Reads is a weekly feature in which the IDA staff

recommends recent pieces about the documentary form and its processes. Here we feature think pieces and important news items from around the Internet, and articles from the Documentary magazine archive. We hope you enjoy!”

I do and let me give you a couple of examples of citations from articles that you by a click can read in full:

The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody examines Frederick Wiseman 1970 film Hospital – For all his intellectual power of abstraction and analysis, Wiseman is a sensualist, who is also in love with tones and gestures, vocal inflections and bodies in motion. It’s precisely because he finds them both so alluring and so distracting that he finds the ideas they embody. He doesn’t look past or through them; he simply sees them clearly and conveys his own delight in doing so…

AND from the archives, Spring 2011, “Do You Swear to Re-enact the Truth? Dramatized Testimony in Documentary Film” – The use of re-enactment in documentary is as old as the form itself, yet it remains persistently controversial, and there is nothing else that better illustrates the ontological knottiness of our relationship with the media. To label a film a “documentary” is in one sense to burden it with the responsibility of veracity. The movie in question is graced with an unsubtle aura of verisimilitude, and what we see and hear is taken to be, if not quite truth, then in truth’s tortuous pursuit. The documentarian’s challenge is thus not only one of communicating actuality through images and sound, but of anticipating an audience that will assume authenticity, unless told otherwise. (Week of March 7)

The photo of Dylan from Pennebaker’s ”Don’t Look Back” is from an article of the winter Documentary Magazine, to be read for free. 

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3872