Well… we SORT OF went to the Oscars… we actually were honored with an invite by the IDA (International Documentary Association) to cover the pre-show reception for the Documentary awards. This reception was to give attention and honor to the producers and directors of this year's Academy Awards documentary nominations. Meeting and "talking shop" with the producers of these movies was a blast. We shared common stories of the gear I was using and the gear they used, and they told me about their trials and tribulations of shooting their movies. (You can see our feature Special Report in this weeks Videomaker Presents, episode 55, or to see extended version interviews, go to www.livevideo.com/videomaker.) It was cool to hear about the drive and passion these docu-makers have for the subject they chose to showcase and the long tedious process they had to maneuver to get that story told. One thing that they all agreed on was the fact that documentarians are beginning to really get attention from the press and the public, due in part to some documentary box office draws like Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth, and earlier "Fahrenheit 9/11 and "March of the Penguins. And it didnt hurt to have all the press attention due to a former Vice President as the subject of the movie that won! Another thing that all of the documentarians we spoke with praised was the affordability and availability of good-quality reasonably-priced video equipment. James Longley, who spent more than a year in Iraq shooting "Iraq in Fragments had to deal with a lot of sand and was able to take three camcorders with him, in what he called a "redundancy plan just in case a camcorder went down. Laura Poitras shot "My Country My Country using no lights at all, as she never knew when shed be needing to run-and-gun it, and Leslie Iwerks, was literally meandering through tons of trash every day for a year shooting "Recycled Life", and lugging big production equipment around would have hindered rather than help the story. Nathaniel Kahn produced "Two Hands using a home made dolly system to circle the pianist at his instrument. Although only one documentary won for Best Feature Documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth and one for Best Short Documentary: Rudy Yang and Thomas Lennons "The Blood of Yingzhou District, all of the 9 movies nominated are worthy of attention for anyone who wants to see how a movie can affect social change, or anyone who has the passion to tell THEIR story, and wants inspiration on how others made theirs. At the reception, the same four words were being tossed around a lot: Perseverance and Passion, and Revolution and Renaissance. Docu-making isn't easy, and you have to have a passion for your subject and the perserverance to deal with the long hours, roadblocks, and pitfalls you will encounter in the making. Everyone acknowledged that its a good time for a new revolution in docu-making, and this new renaissance will bring untold stories out of the darkness and into the limelight more easily. I was truly inspired watching these movies and talking to the documentarians, I hope they will inspire you, too.

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Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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