Tom RostonIndependent journalist Tom Roston checks in and writes about the world of documentaries in his column, Doc Soup.

You can follow Tom on Twitter @DocSoupMan.

Doc Soup: Musing on the Future of Docs

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Here are some doc-related links and musings that are on my mind:
Other POVers who are on the ground at the ongoing Sundance are better placed than I am to discuss what’s hot and what’s not at the film festival. So this year, I’m reading about it from afar, and something in The New York Times caught my eye. The Times‘ Michael Cieply discusses how pumped crowds have been at the doc screenings, and yet we’ve heard over and over again how they’re box office poison. I just have to wonder: when will some distributor/film company/doc guru learn to corral the sort of energy that I myself have seen so many times at doc screenings at festivals, and bring it to the masses? Or is this enthusiasm for documentaries fated to be a film fest phenomenon only?
Forgive me, but I want to yet again put a good word in for the sublime documentary, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), directed by Ellen Kuras. I wrote about it at Sundance last year and then again to plug its impressive score. Now, the occasion is an article about Kuras and the film I wrote for the Los Angeles Times that ran this week. We shall see if Betrayal will make it to the Oscar list of five this week…
And, last, I wanted to alert you to another recent piece in the New York Times, this one about how people are using YouTube as a research tool, encroaching on the go-to Google (YouTube’s parent company) for all information-based searches. The article is, I think, very timely and could spell great things for how people will be using the documentary form in the future. Really, it’s about how our culture will be changing, and how documentaries can evolve alongside. Now, the real trick is figuring out how can doc filmmakers make money off having their films on YouTube… What are your thoughts? Let us know what kind of impact you think the growth of YouTube might have on documentary filmmaking in the comments below.

Tom Roston
Tom Roston
Tom Roston is a guest columnist for POV's documentary blog. He comes to us as a ten-year veteran of Premiere magazine, where he was a Senior Editor, and where he wrote the column, Notes from the Dream Factory. Tom was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Brown University and started his career in journalism at The Nation and then Vanity Fair. Tom has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, New York, Elle and other publications. Tom's favorite documentaries are: 1. Koyanisqaatsi - Godfrey Reggio 2. Hoop Dreams - Steve James 3. The Up series - Michael Apted 4. Crumb - Terry Zwigoff 5. Capturing the Friedmans - Andrew Jarecki