The Toronto Film Festival doesn’t start until later this week, but already its new doc blog is off to a great start. It’s both an online destination to update yourself on festival news as well as a place for Festival filmmakers to write about everything from the making of their films to other films at the festival they’ve been compelled by.
There are a bunch of great pieces already up. Here, for example, is Sophie Fiennes on her Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, a three-part documentary in which Slavoj Zizek analyzes films by such favorite directors as Hitchcock, Lynch and Tarkovsky:
I am trying to trace the seeds of The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema from a personal point of view. It has something to do with a combination of my lack of any formal academic education (something that I both regret and enjoy) and the utter thrill I find in Zizek’s approach to thinking (here I am not alone). This is also undeniably a documentary about cinema; about reading moving images, about the art of watching films, which is probably a prerequisite to making them.
Making this film has also been one fantastic excuse to go into the psychoanalytic labyrinth, and I don¹t want to leave! It is completely altering my understanding of the world and I am still reading. (At present Lacan, The Silent Partners, a brilliant collection of essays).
Here’s director Liz Mermin on the subject of her new doc, Office Tigers:
Offices are the factories of the 21st century, rapidly spreading around the globe; this may soon be the experience over which people from all parts of the world will bond. I was burying my head in the sand. My training is in observational cinema, films that immerse you in unknown worlds for the sake of the experience without spelling out arguments or conclusions, and so I spent three months watching this strange world go by, day and night, in all its frenetic tedium.
Basic characteristics of the corporate mentality began to emerge. The real pleasure many took in their work, their affection for their colleagues and their admiration of their bosses, was evident, as were the economic needs the jobs fulfilled; but the constant urging on to do more in the name of self-improvement, the demand that your job be your identity and the company be your family, modeled to perfection by the American CEO – this emerged as the heart of the corporate ethos, revealing itself through the mundane comedy of daily life.
Here’s Lucy Walker on the cinematography of her new doc Blindsight (pictured), the story of six blind teenagers who climb Mount Everest:
We chose the Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam because it was full-on sumptuous High Def, while still being relatively portable and light – but that’s only when you’re comparing it to a cumbersome and labor-intensive 35mm film rig. It was about four times bigger than your average mini-DV-pro type camera, for example. It was brand-new at that time and so something of a shot in the dark – but all our research suggested this was the technology we needed, even if it had only just come along in time for us. And the image quality is stunning – as Petr says “I was particularly impressed with the colors, depth of film possibilities and the film-like look” – and I agree whole-heartedly. It gives me goose-bumps, actually. And I challenge all but the geekiest of techheads to spot that it wasn’t shot on 35mm after our beautiful blow-up (courtesy of St. Anne’s Post in London).
Finally, the blog points to this new documentary fund by Working Films created to honor the memory of filmmaker Garrett Scott, who died earlier in the year.