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Trailer Mechanics & Pitching for Raising Doc Finance with Fernanda Rossi

Trailer Mechanics & Pitching with Fernanda Rossi – Story Consultant

With more sites popping up for raising documentary finance, such as Reel Changes and Reelisor, (not to mention IndieGoGo, IndieShares, Kinooga and the UK's IndieMaverick and MovieMogulFund), a free workshop on making trailers for fundraising from the Scottish Documentary Institute looks just the ticket (thanks Sonja):

Not to be missed! A unique opportunity to absorb all you need to know about how to make your trailer work and be seen by all the right people in the industry. Trailer Mechanics is a one-day experiential workshop for producers, directors, writers and editors in the documentary field from beginners to veterans. It teaches how to put together and structure a 3 to 15 minute demo of a documentary film for fundraising purposes.


Pitching, music and laughter at Britdoc 2008 in July

 BRITDOC 08: 23rd-25th July, Keble College, Oxford.

BRITDOC is the bespoke documentary film festival connecting international funders, distributors and filmmakers, from the Foundation behind such films such as We Are Together and Black Gold

The festival this year boasts a double theme: Comedy and Music. Director Larry Charles (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Borat) will be attending for a masterclass and key-note speech, while special musician guests include Mercury Prize nominee Nitin Sawhney and acclaimed composers Michael Nyman and Jonathan Dove


Acclaimed Yorkshire feature returns to Bagdhad for screening

ahlaam posterLeeds-based filmmaker Mohamed Al Daradji has returned to Baghdad, where he shot his Oscar-shortlisted debut feature Ahlaam, screening it to over a 1000 locals and politicans at the national cinema. The journey has been documented by the filmmaker and is currently showing on Al Jazeera UK on Sky (details below).

"It's about human stories... The Iraqi people change from being just a number used by the media as a way to fill out the news to becoming normal human beings."
Mohamed Al Daradji

Ahlaam, from Northern production company Human Film has been highly praised throughout its festival run, and is one of the more remarkable independent filmmaking stories of recent years. Daradji, inspired to film in Iraq following a dream he had after watching  BBC News, on a micro-budget used a cast and crew of largely untrained Iraqis to recreate both pre- and mid-war Baghdad to tell the story of three Iraqis left to survive in an asylum during the 'shock and awe' campaign. Kidnapped by both the insurgents and the US military (who each accused him of being a stooge of the other), Mohamed worked on set with a machine gun in one hand and camera in the other and was almost executed in his attempts to bring this heartbreaking human story to screen.

While support in the UK has been slow, news has emerged in recent weeks that director Antonio Bird (Face, Ravenous, The Hamburg Cell) is to produce Daradji's next film Umm Hussein, which follows a mother across Iraq as she searches for her son. The project has already been selected for the Sundance writers lab. Post production on Shooting In Iraq, which documents the  story of the making of Ahlaam, is also moving ahead, which has to be one of the most eagerly awaited behind the scenes since Eleanor Coppola's Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse. In further good news Human Film have announced that the Ahlaam will be released in France, Spain and the UK later this year. We hope to publish an interview with Mohamed, conducted earlier in the year, very soon.

Trip of Dreams is showing on Al Jazeera, Sky Channel 514 on Wednesday 6th June 00:30, 11:30, 20:30; Thursday 7th June 05:30, 19:30; Friday 8th June 03:00, 16:30; Saturday 9th June 06:30 


New insurance to cover doc-makers for fair use

this film is not yet ratedVariety (which is now free!) reports:

Inspired partly by "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," a veteran showbiz insurer has started offering coverage for documakers, aimed at allowing free use of film clips.

Initiative by Media/Professional Insurance is designed to explicitly allow documentarians to retain coverage if they rely on the "fair use" doctrine, which holds that copyrighted material may be used without compensation if it's for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.


Participant Productions Partners Errol Morris to Document Abu Ghraib

errol_morris Legendary Oscar winning docs director Errol Morris, director of The Fog of War, is to document the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, it was announced at the AFM over the weekend. The film is to be produced by Particpant Productions, run by former eBay CEO Eric Skoll, behind such films as An Inconveninet Truth, Syriana and Fast Food Nation.



Exasperated by lack of media interest in genocide, filmmakers headed to Darfur

darfurBack on March 27th 1994, when Schindlers List won seven Academy Awards, it seemed that the film - giving an entire generation a glimpse of the full scale and horror of the holocaust - would help ensure such genocide would never happen again. Yet over the next three months, while the world and news media largely turned the other way, over 800,000 civilians were killed in Rwanda.

A decade later Terry George's brilliant Oscar-winning depiction of that genocide and Paul Rusesabagina's heroic struggle, Hotel Rwanda, was released and the subject finally got the mainstream recognition and the media coverage the subject had previously lacked. Yet the world and media seemed to be turning away again, this time from Darfur, Sudan where some 400,000 people are believed to have been killed since 2003.

Aisha Bain from the Center for the Prevention of Genocide in Washington began tracking alarming reports in October 2004 coming out the region and began to alert news agencies in the US about a possible new major genocide. She believed the fact the stories were not being covered was because the agencies were unaware of the issue. In fact, she was told, the story was not important enough to cover.

Refusing to give up or leave the issue unreported, Aisha, fellow activist filmmaker Adam Shapiro and peace-bukilder Jen Marlowe decided to raise money, buy equipment and head to the region themselves. The resulting film is Darfur Diaries.


Loose Change: Filmmaker uses Google Video to challenge official line on 9/11


22-year-old Dylan Avery’s wish to delve into the reasons behind the 9/11 attacks led to him making Loose Change, a documentary that involves some very compelling conspiracy-theorising. It is also bolstered by some impressively persuasive evidence.

Since the first edition appeared on the internet in April 2005, it has maintained its position as one of Google Video's top 100. By placing his film on the internet, Avery (of Oneonta, New York) has reached millions of viewers looking for another side to the story, while spending just $8000 on the first and second editions of the flick itself. 

The inspiration for Loose Change came from a photograph of a controlled building explosion seen alongside the collapse of the Twin Towers; the similarities were too obvious for Avery to ignore. As he puts it, he "just started asking honest questions" about what really went on. Discussing his concerns with his childhood friend (and later the film's producer) Korey Rowe, an army specialist who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, just made him more determined to investigate what he saw as the strange cover-ups surrounding the day's events.




The Yes Men Strike Back at New Orleans event

andy bilchbaumThe Yes Men, a group of legendary corporate spoof artists who were the centre of 2005's feature documentary The Yes Men have struck again. On Monday Andy Bichlbaum, a 42-year-old former college teacher of video and media arts who lives in New York and Paris appeared at a conference in New Orleans before Louisiana officials and 1,000 contractors by presenting himself as a federal housing official.

"We basically go around impersonating bad institutes or institutes doing very bad things," Andy told CNN. "That would be HUD. At this moment, they're doing some really bad things."

Masquerading as Rene Oswin, an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Bichlbaum followed Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to the lectern Monday morning at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. He opened by saying "This year, in New Orleans, I'm ashamed to say we have failed," and went on to announce his department had decided to change their strategy and reverse its plans to demolish 5,000 units "of perfectly good public housing," with housing in the city in tight supply, he said.