Am I wrong, or have most of us read something in the newspaper, or come up with an inspiration, and thought to ourselves, “Wow, that would make a great documentary!” In honor of the POV series that starts this week — an incredibly diverse slate that covers everything from a performance artist in Belarus (Belarusian Waltz) to the creation of the Three Gorges Dam in China (Up the Yangtze) to the story of the daughter of a Nazi camp commandant (Inheritance) — I’d like to suggest we open a dialogue about the documentaries that should be made.
I’d love to hear from you if you have a documentary that you wish could be made. Of course, I imagine if you are a filmmaker, you might not want to spill the beans because you wouldn’t want someone else to take your idea, so I imagine this little experiment may not go too far. But, who knows, maybe a wealthy financier is reading this blog, will love your idea and write you a check for a million dollars! Or, maybe you’re just feeling generous. (I know that even the venerable Albert Maysles has a doc that he wishes could be made, but hasn’t. He’s been talking about it for years, and I believe he has even shot some of it. It has to do with people traveling on trains. He wants to make a sort of epic tale about humanity by telling a series of real-life stories of people from different cultures on trains.)
So, to get things started, I’ll be the first to toss my pitch into the ring. Here’s my idea for a documentary that I think would be great:
Deceitful Above All Things: The JT Leroy Story
You’ve probably heard about JT Leroy, the supposed son of a truck stop hooker, who went on to become a prostitute, and then became a celebrated writer of short stories and novels. Leroy was revealed to be a hoax, actually “played” by a woman, Savannah Knoop, when in public; while his/her writing was done by another woman, Laura Albert. The house of cards fell apart in 2005-2006, but they had a long run of it — for more than five years of increasing celebrity. I was one of the many suckers who spoke with JT a few times and believed he was legit. I even interviewed him in person in Toronto (Knoop was wearing her trademark sunglasses and wig). I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s already a movie of some sort in the works, but that’s fine with me if someone else gets there first: I’d love to see a stylish doc made, one about truth, celebrity and trust, focusing on the JT Leroy hoax.
Do you have a subject/idea you’d love made into a doc?