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Read Hank and Jilann’s Sundance Film Festival blog,

written as they went through the rollercoaster experience of premiering a film at this world-renown documentary film competition for the first time.

 

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Documentor Blog
SilverDocs Report - Panel on Film Festivals

I had the opportunity to present a workshop on Crowdfunding at SilverDocs this past week. It was a fantastic experience and I encourage all doc makers to attend if you can next year. The programming is outstanding, both in films and panel and workshop content.

I find that many times attending panels can be a frustrating experience with panelists who are less than generous with their information, or are too pessimistic, but I found the opposite to be true at SilverDocs. Every panel that I was able to attend was excellent. I'll be posting a few blogs on panels that I attended.

SilverDocs

NAVIGATING THE FILM FESTIVAL CIRCUIT

Thom Powers – Toronto Int’l Film Festival, DOCNYC, Miami Film Fest, Stranger Than Fiction
Basil Tsiokos – Documentary Programmer 
Sadie Tillery - Director of Programming, Full Frame Film Festival
David Wilson – Co-Director, True/False Film Festival
Sean Farnel – formerly Director of Programming, HotDocs

The panel began with the programmers concurring on what Sean called the “tyranny of volume’ of submissions, which really gave me a window into the programmer’s world – that deluge of material that slams them at deadline time. We think of them as the steely gatekeepers and they are, but they have feelings too! To put it into perspective, SilverDocs received 2200 submissions this year. Full Frame received 1200 submissions for 60 slots. HotDocs programmed 200 films this past April, and Toronto has only 25-35 slots for documentary features.

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Why I'm making our new film STILL DREAMING

When I was 5 years old, my very best friend was my white-haired, oversized grandmother – “Grandma Spitz”. She lived just down the street and I honestly can’t remember having any other friends that really meant anything to me between the ages of 5 and 7, when I lived closest to her. Grandma Spitz and I would play cards endlessly and sometimes make a peach pie from the peaches in the yard. They lived right next to a freight train track, but had a nice little yard with lots of fruit trees.

Her kitchen is where we would spend most of our time. I remember all the jars she had on the counter – a depression-era holdover. There were containers of all things – rubberbands, straws, toothpicks, and on and on. She saved and used everything to the fullest. It was now the 70’s and it was my first encounter with the concept of recycling.

When I was 7, we moved 1000 miles away from my grandmother and I experienced the deep pain of loss for the first time.

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Hot Docs 2011 Part 2

Forum

THE HOT DOCS FORUM - Special Guest Blog
by DocuMentors Member, Carolyn McCully of Citygate Film

Though it is an open pitching event, the Hot Docs Forum is not a public session at the Hot Docs festival. It is a separate two-day meeting during which 26 producing teams (and one team randomly chosen out of a hat full of business cards) pitch a table of approximately two dozen commissioning editors and funders. The rest of us--around 150 or so--are filmmakers with at least one broadcast credit who have applied to attend and watch the proceedings.

Each team is allotted a set amount of time to pitch their projects, screen a trailer, and field questions and comments from the broadcasters and funders at the table. The rest of us follow along by reading the projects' treatment and production notes in a book produced by Hot Docs. Set in the Gothic Revival-style Hart House on the campus of the University of Toronto, the Forum is reminiscent of medieval jousting tournaments, minus the blood. The producer teams gallantly ride into the arena, sometimes to attain victory, other times to be knocked off their horses.

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Hot Docs 2011

HotDocsshot

A Lively Market at Hot Docs 2011 - Special Guest Blog
by DocuMentors Member, Carolyn McCully of Citygate Films

It's our second full day at the Hot Docs film festival/market for Citygate Films and we've already seen the value of coming here. Despite the chilling rain, it's been a warm reception in Toronto.

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