Re: A Conversation With Thom Powers on the State of Documentary in 2012

Here’s a link to Rahul Chadha’s interview of STF Artistic Director Thom Powers. It’s a really great read and Powers discusses many timely topics about the current state of documentaries including; the role of the documentary as a form of journalism, the variety of genres that compose the world of docs, issues with funding faced by doc filmmakers, how technology is changing the barriers to entry but can’t change the value of a person’s time, self-distribution, the future of the feature-length documentary, the role of the short-form doc, the publics notions of the term “documentary,” the state of film criticism and a discussion on the breadth of quality in documentaries today.

I found one of the most interesting sections to be the discussion on the future of long-form storytelling. Many people are making predictions about how technology is going to disrupt every aspect of life. While I agree that technology will stimulate many changes, this should not preclude existing standards from surviving. I especially like Powers’ point that despite the increasing ubiquity of multi-tasking and short attention spans people will still enjoy longer stories. In fact, he argues they may even enjoy focusing for 90-minutes as an escape from the grind of a constantly switching focus.

There were a lot of specific docs mentioned in the article. Some I have heard of and seen and some I am not familiar with. So, I decided to check out what people have been saying about the best docs for 2012. Here is a link to the PBS/POV list of the Best Documentaries of 2012. I like that the list is not static and changes as they evaluate feedback from others, award wins, etc…

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