Tom Roston

Doc Soup: The Wallace Foundation and “The Principal Story”

I continue here my exploration into foundations funding documentaries with a discussion with The Principal Story‘s Tod Lending, a director who pretty much won the doc filmmakers’ sweepstakes with a giant grant from Chicago’s Wallace Foundation. Doc Soup: You received a grant from the Wallace Foundation to make The Principal Story. Did you go to

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Doc Soup: Foundations and Documentary Funding

Everyone has less these days. Money is disappearing. Doc distributors like ThinkFilm, Warner Independent Pictures and Paramount Vantage are vanishing. And the recession continues to roll on. In this climate, where does a doc filmmaker turn for financing? In the past, one of the best go-to resources was the diverse realm of foundations. The big

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Doc Soup: In Search of the Honest Truth About Docs and Ethics

Leave it to The New York Times to fail to get the facts straight. Or, rather, to presume that there’s such a thing as an immutable fact and that its journalists have the rarified ability to relay facts without prejudice. No documentary filmmaker worth his or her salt would ever make such a claim, but

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Doc Soup: Politics and the Message of “The Principal Story”

Education is a hot-button issue, both politically and personally. But I still couldn’t believe the reaction to President Obama‘s Back-to-School speech two weeks ago. Right-wing zealots raging about how it should be boycotted? School districts in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin actually complying and boycotting the broadcast of the speech? The

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Doc Soup: Peering Into a Character’s Soul

When I watched this week’s POV program, The English Surgeon, I couldn’t help thinking about Ian McEwan‘s 2005 novel, Saturday. Both are about neurosurgeons, and they’re the best portrayals (Mel Brooks‘ Young Frankenstein doesn’t count) of those elite doctors that I’ve ever read or seen. It made me consider: how does a novel representation of

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Doc Soup: When Children Are the Subjects of Docs

I often get this conflicted feeling when I watch a documentary about children, like this week’s POV broadcast of Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go: I am immediately concerned that the subjects are being exploited in some way, since they’re not really able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to be involved

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