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In the U.S., the '50s and '60s marked the documentary's golden age, especially at CBS, where pioneering television journalist Edward R. Murrow, immortalised in George Clooney's 'Good Night, and Good Luck,' produced such landmark investigations as the CBS Reports programme 'Hunger in America.'
The best films of any kind, narrative or documentary, provoke questions.
With portable cameras and affordable data and non-linear digital editing, I think this is a golden age of documentary filmmaking. These new technologies mean we can make complicated, beautifully crafted and cinematic films about real-life stories.
In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
Independent documentary isn't beholden to some of the interests that the mainstream media are influenced by. It's a pathway to renegade, independent reporting in an in-depth, investigative fashion, and it can do so with a compassionate lens; it allows people to speak in a way that is more human than the mainstream media approach.
I didn't realize that, in doing a documentary, there is this process of discovery. It's not like a film or a play with a set script. It sort of reveals itself.
You know, the process of making a documentary is one of discovery, and like writing a story, you follow a lead and that leads you to something else and then by the time you finish, the story is nothing like you expected.
After months of playing air guitar to 'Free Bird', what really got me into guitar was watching a documentary about Jimi Hendrix and picking up the Woodstock soundtrack. Listening to his version of 'Star Spangled Banner' and 'Purple Haze.' My brother played acoustic guitar and, idolising him, I thought, 'I'm going to get a guitar.'
It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.
Films are always a fiction, not documentary. Even a documentary is a kind of fiction.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The video for 'Whatever' is kind of a documentary in a way. It's showing that love can last. Not just in your early 20s or your late 30s, but in your 50s, 60s and 70s. There's an awful myth out there that when you get married, love and lovemaking fade. It's not true.
I like the idea of the documentary as a portrait. There's not a chronological beginning, middle, and end structure. You build something in the editing room that's shaped by getting to know the person and digging deeper, unpeeling the layers of them as you get to know them.
I love 'Robot Chicken,' 'The Boondocks' and 'America's Funniest Home Videos.' Then there's this show called 'The First 48.' It's a documentary about killings where they try and find murderers. They interrogate people and they tell on each other - it's hilarious.
For me, documentary photography has always come with great responsibility. Not just to tell the story honestly and with empathy, but also to make sure the right people hear it. When you photograph somebody who is in pain or discomfort, they trust you to make sure the images will act as their advocate.
Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.
Doing a documentary is about discovering, being open, learning, and following curiosity.
Most of the photographs people take with their cameraphones are of little value in terms of documentary.
Most people see a documentary about the meat industry and then they become a vegetarian for a week.
A documentary photograph is not a factual photograph.
The great thing about 'The Office' and it being single-camera and the documentary style is that it's mostly a comedy, but 10 percent of it is, we get to show the existential angst that exists in the American workplace.
People aren't familiar with wheelchair sports. The only film crew in Athens for the Paralympics was the documentary crew.
What's great about documentary, it seems to me, is that it can be experimental filmmaking. You have a license to do a lot of diverse things under the umbrella of 'documentary.'
In 1995 I decided to stop eating meat. I could never really quite explain why; I think it was something to do with watching a documentary where they cooked a cat and partly because I had a really crap job working for Wolves Poly and felt my life was slipping away. It definitely wasn't anything to do with any 'vegetarian month'.
I've been encouraging documentary filmmakers to use more and more humor, and they're loath to do that because they think if it's a documentary it has to be deadly serious - it has to be like medicine that you're supposed to take. And I think it's what keeps the mass audience from going to documentaries.
I think documentary filmmakers need as much protection as possible under journalist's privilege. How else is the public to know what is going on?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
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