A Pre-to-Post Primer on Documentary Filmmaking
Three top documentary producers share their secrets to success.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of about your next film production, it’s that it won’t go down exactly like the last one. This is especially true in documentaries, where often there are even more unknowns and elements out of your control than in narratives. So how do you prepare for and navigate these unpredictabilities while trying to successfully fundraise, shoot, edit, finish and distribute a really great film? My guests today can help answer that complex question, with more than three decades of combined documentary production experience under their belts.
"If you’re doing something for the first time, you really have no clue what you’re doing. I want to be in that terror-ecstasy moment."
Director and Producer Geeta Gandbhir (Armed with Faith) has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and has won two, as well as working professionally as an editor as such acclaimed titles as Oscar-winning O.J.: Made in America; Chanda Chevannes (Unfractured) is an award-winning documentarian as well as a film instructor at Centennial College in Toronto; Chris Metzler (Rodents of Unusual Size) is prolific documentarian known for cult favorite docs like the John Waters-narrated Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea which won over 30 best doc awards and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.
In our conversation today, we cover an A to Z of documentary production, and discuss what a successful producer’s role is at every stage of a film’s life. To do so, we draw on my guests' extensive experiences and dig into case studies on three of their current films that recently screened at America’s largest documentary film festival, DOC NYC.
Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here.