MAKING DOCUMENTARIES THAT MATTER

The Center’s first event of the season witnessed some seriously scintillating conversation about the state of the Documentary industry in 2019. Before we recap the panel, here are the links to some of the speakers’ best work:

  1. Antonino D’Ambrosio: We're Still Here: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, Let Fury Have The Hour, Frank Serpico

  2. Blair Foster: The Clinton Affair, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge, Get me Roger Stone

  3. Antonio Rossi: The Inventor, Death Row Stories

  4. Betsy West: RBG

  5. Moderator: Cynthia Lopez, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION

The panelists spoke not just about their work but also how they broke into the industry. It is no secret that the field of documentary-making is in demand, but rewind a few years, and there was not much of an infrastructure for niche documentarians. But the diverse portfolio of the panelists proved that there is room for innovation and success in this industry.

Topics touched upon included how the professionals got into documentary filmmaking, what inspires their craft, how to acquire funding for projects, and what they want people to take away from the work they produce. Towards the end of the evening, our panelists interacted directly with the students, answering questions during an equally inspiring Q&A session. Here are some of our favourite quotes from the evening:

  • “I find most people want to tell their story-- you’d be surprised with how open they can be” -Blair Foster

  • “Look at what your opportunity is… people’s first films are usually what they have a unique perspective and access to” -Betsy West

  • “This industry will take all types and if you work hard and have a good attitude you’ll get far” -Antonio Rossi

  • “You have to create your own path to be a documentary filmmaker. The skill set you need to forge your own path is the same one you need to be a documentary filmmaker, being a hustler and ingenious...” -Blair Foster

  • “The stories find you” -Antonino D’ Ambrosio