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DOCUMENTARY

FILMMAKERS

SPEAK

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DOCUMENTARY

FILMMAKERS

SPEAK
LIZ STUBBS

ALLWORTH PRESS
NEW YORK

© 2002 Liz Stubbs

All rights reserved. Copyright under Berne Copyright Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and Pan-American Copyright Convention. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmittedin any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher. 07 06 05 04 03 02 5 4 3 2 1

Published by Allworth Press An imprint of Allworth Communications 10 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Cover design by Mary Ann Smith, New York, NY Page composition/typography by SR Desktop Services, Ridge, NY

Library ofCongress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Stubbs, Liz. Documentary filmmakers speak / Liz Stubbs. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 1-58115-236-1 1. Documentary films—History and criticism. 2. Documentary films—United States—History and criticism. 3. Motion picture producers and directors—United States—Interviews. I. Title. PN1995.9.D6 S853 2002 070.1'8—dc21 2002005830 Printed in Canada

To my dear friendsMark and Susan Solomon and Leila Garcia, who, with their creativity, passion, and empathy, inspire me to honor my goofiness and feed my artist. To Mark and Susan Solomon, who feed my starving artist with creativity, passion, and empathy. To my parents, Ann and Irving, who provide unflinching support—the kind money can’t buy. To Ruth Leitman, whose persistence as a filmmaker gives substance to thesentiment that if you believe you can do something, you can. To James Jernigan, whose insistence on seeing possibilities instead of obstacles is a light at the end of many a dark tunnel. Thank you.

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Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Chapter 1:The Road to Realism . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 1 Chapter 2: Albert Maysles Father of Direct Cinema . . . . . . . . . 3 Chapter 3: Susan Froemke Celebrating the Craft . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Chapter 4: D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus Engineering Nonfiction Cinema . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Chapter 5: Ken Burns Emotional Archaeologist . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Chapter 6: Ross McElwee Personal Journeyman .. . . . . . . . . . 93 Chapter 7: Liz Garbus Confronting Humanity . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Chapter 8: Nick Broomfield Modern Adventurer . . . . . . . . . . 127 Chapter 9: Joe Berlinger Journalist Storyteller . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Chapter 10: Bruce Sinofsky Experiential Filmmaking: Bringing Us into the Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Chapter 11: Irving Saraf RecreatingEmotions . . . . . . . . . . . . 181 Chapter 12: Allie Light Searching for Metaphor . . . . . . . . . . 195 Chapter 13: Barbara Kopple Through the Lens Fearlessly . . . 209 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

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Introduction
Passion. The inextinguishable fire. Lives of passion are monumental inthis world. They shine among us, reaching always for paths without compromise. As with everything in life, there are no guarantees. There is no promise that being true to your passion will bring success, financial or creative. And in that sense it can be a scary road to travel. Those around you may be on more traditional paths in their careers and in their personal lives. And when you look around atyour contemporaries to take a reading on how you measure up, you may find that you don’t—on those terms. You might not be married, with 2.2 children, with a four-bedroom home, with a couple of retirement plans in the bank, or on the higher tiers of conventional success ladders. But passion and its pursuit have payoffs far greater than numbers you can deposit in bank accounts. The light in their...
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