Saturday, October 13, 2007

Journalism vs. filmmaking

I just attended....and had to leave a little early....a very interesteing panel discussion called, "Where Journalism Ends and Filmmaking Begins," held at Utopia Studios in Bearsville, the former home Todd Rundgren's studio.

These were the participants...

David D'Arcy is a critic for Screen International. He also writes regularly for a wide range of publications and is a frequent commentator for the BBC. His dream is to write about war movies for Guns 'n' Ammo.

Godfrey Cheshire is an Award-winning film critic who served for a decade as chief film critic for New York Press and was a frequent contributor to publications including the New York Times, Film Comment, the Village Voice, Variety, Interview, Cineaste and others. A former Chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle and a member of the National Society of Film Critics and FIPRESCI, Cheshire gained an international reputation for his distinctive writing. He made his directorial debut with the documentary "Moving Midway" premiering at the Woodstock Film Festival.

Michele Ohayon is an award winning director, writer and producer. Credits include "It Was a Wonderful Life" and "Cowboy del Amor," and "Colors Straight Up," which received nominations for the Academy Award¨ for Best Documentary Feature. Ohayon has also produced and directed commercials, episodic television and music videos in addition to being a founding board member of Cinewomen.

Bill Siegel is the executive producer of "The Road to 9/11." As a director/producer, he received an Academy Award¨ nomination for the film, "The Weather Underground."

Robert Stone of Rhinecliff is the Oscar¨-nominated director of the film "Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Heast," "Radio Bikini" and "Oswald's Ghost."

Molly Thompson launched and runs A&E IndieFilms, the network's feature documentary division. She executive produced "Jesus Camp," a film by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, which was nominated for an Academy Award¨. Thompson is also Executive Producer of a film by Nanette Burstein called "American Teen," currently in post-production, and a film on Anna Wintour, directed by RJ Cutler. Other A&E IndieFilms include the Oscar-nominated, Sundance Award-winner Murderball and "My Kid Could Paint That."

The conversation was stimulating, provocative and relevant....

Some hightlights...
D'Arcy - "As a journalist, I don't believe journalism ends anywhere" and "Given the state of journalism now, let's hope there isn't a point where journalism ends and filmmaking begins" and "The media is always dropping stories, if they're picking them up at all."

Stone - "I'm not a journalist. I never have been. I have no desire to be one. I am a filmmaker."

Chesire said his roles as journalist and filmmaker are "very intertwined."

Ohayon - "For me, the difference between journalism and filmmaking is in one word, a point of view."

D'Arcy said in some respects, there is no difference between fiction and non-fiction films. "It's all the same thing. You're telling stories. You're taking people on a journey" and, on filmmaking, "The point is to transcend the subject shown and reveal something about the human condition. If you don't do that, you are just doing journalism."

That's Meira Blaustein introducing the panel. And in the other shot, that's D'Arcy and Stone.

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