The Resurgence of the Documentary

December 21, 2010 by Brooke Shelby Biggs in

Kenneth Turan, the Los Angeles Times film critic, devoted his year-end column to documentary films, which he says enjoyed “remarkable resurgence” in 2010:
Thumbnail image for film-unfinished-large.jpg“It’s also hardly a secret that the major studios have, with periodic exceptions, all but given up on making films with the adult audience specifically in mind. So where are moviegoers going to go for involving narrative, fascinating characters, real drama? They’re going to documentaries for the same reason that contemporary readers are making the memoir one of the most popular of genres. That’s where the stories are.”

Of course, we at Independent Lens wholeheartedly agree, which is why we do what we do. And it is especially rewarding to see so many titles near and dear to our heart called out in Turan’s enumeration of the cream of this year’s crop.
Specifically, he recommends upcoming Independent Lens titles Waste Land by Lucy Walker (premiering on April 19), and A Film Unfinished by Yael Hersonski (premiering on May 3) as top standouts.

A lot of people don’t know that Independent Lens is a project of the Independent Television Service which was founded in 1991 with the mission of funding, producing, and bringing to public television a diverse slate of film by independent producers. So while we bring you great independent films every week, behind the scenes we’re helping these and other filmmakers get their films finished and seen by as many people as possible.
ITVS helped to fund and produce a number of other titles that Turan dubs the best of this competitive year, including Last Train Home by Lixin Fan, The Oath by Laura Poitras (which premiered on P.O.V. this summer), and Boxing Gym by Frederick Wiseman.

Yes, 2010 has been a great year for the documentary form, and we’ll keep bringing you the best of the best on public television in 2011 and beyond.

Brooke Shelby Biggs