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Documentary

Twelve Photojournalists, One Documentary

Shot over the span of several years, San Francisco State University professor Ken Kobré’s latest documentary Deadline Every Second provides a vivid look at what goes into Associated Press photos of national and international hot spots. Among the AP photographers profiled is SoCal staffer Chris Carlson, who confesses at the beginning of his segment about covering California wildfires that he now makes sure to closes the windows of his car, even when parked far from the flames. That’s because he once came back to his vehicle to find his floor mats burning.

“I think most people take these photographs for granted and don’t realize what goes into making them,” Kobré (pictured) tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “The other issue is how involved these photographers become in the story, and how they must work to stay neutral.”

Following recent east coast showings at D.C.’s Corcoran Gallery and Columbia University journalism school, Kobré’s one-hour film is scheduled to be shown next on May 8 at UCLA, with a Q&A panel featuring Carlson. Then it’s back to San Francisco for a hometown screening May 17.

Kobré says that through an international agent, he has just made his first foreign sale for Deadline Every Second in Turkey. Domestically, he is repping the film himself. The documentary has aired on Long Island PBS affiliate WLIW and may soon possibly hit the airwaves of WNET in New York.

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Citizen Journalist Inspired by Breitbart Readies Summer Documentary

It has always struck FishbowlLA that a more productive reaction to Michael Moore from those sitting at the opposite end of the political spectrum would be to adopt some of his clever, humorous filmmaking tactics. Someone who seems to have realized the value of this approach is Ellen Hubbard.

Per an interview on bighollywood.com, Hubbard enlisted Kansas City KCMO AM morning radio host Greg Knapp as her Moore stand-in. His mission: to solicit federal funding for the titutlar Museum of Government Waste.

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‘Kony 2012′ Filmmaker In for Extended Hospitalization

Jason Russell, the man behind the “Kony 2012″ phenomenon, will remained hospitalized for a prolonged period in the wake of his nude rampage through the streets of San Diego. Today, Russell’s wife Danica released a statement that said her husband was suffering from “reactive psychosis,” and will require treatment for what could be “months.”

We would, again, like to make it clear that Jason’s incident was in no way the result of drugs or alcohol. The preliminary diagnosis he received is called brief reactive psychosis, an acute state brought on by the extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration. Though new to us, the doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks. Even for us, it’s hard to understand the sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention -both raves and ridicules, in a matter of days.

Jason will get better. He has a long way to go, but we are confident that he will make a full recovery.

Anyone who saw the video of Russell’s rampage knew there had to be something serious going on there.

Yahoo News Expands Its Scope

Yahoo! News, traditionally known for its link aggregation and culling pieces from the AP wire, has slowly been expanding its original content in recent years. The site has a fairly robust blog presence  at this point, particularly in the political realm. Now, Yahoo News has decided to take things further and expand into documentary news. The site is producing a new weekly series called Remake America about six middle-class families trying to navigate America’s sagging, post-bubble economy.

“This puts us on a new track,” VP of Yahoo News and Finance Robertson Barrett tells AdWeek. “We’re looking to earn our return visitors.”

Barrett says in addition to the new series, Yahoo News will follow the model laid by Yahoo Sports–of enterprise reporting boosting by a roster of high-profile columnists. Former New York Times columnist Virginia Heffernan is apparently among the writers Yahoo will begin to trot out in the near future.

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LA Film Critics Head to Missouri

The three-day conference “Based on a True Story: The Intersections of Documentary Film and Journalism” kicks off tonight at the University of Missouri School of Journalism with a special screening of The Waiting Room. But the real meat-and-potatoes discussions will take place Thursday by means of four different panels.

LA Weekly film critic Karina Longworth will be among those examining how transparent filmmakers should be about any manipulated aspects of their non-fiction, while LA Times film reviewer Betsy Sharkey will follow later in the afternoon for a discussion entitled “Documentary Entertainment and Its Audience:”

To what extent do new forms of documentary filmmaking overlap with entertainment? Has the recent success and expansion of documentary filmmaking altered audience expectations, and does that success promote or discourage filmmakers from telling the brutal truth? Are audiences expecting slices of life, melodrama, or groundbreaking journalism when they see a non-fiction film, and how have these varied expectations changed the task, the self-representation, and the films of documentary filmmakers?

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Media Still Getting Elvis Presley First-Kiss Facts Wrong

If this year’s Oscars are anywhere near as entertaining as a piece on TheWrap today about Documentary Short Subject category attendee Mother Prioress, we’ll be happy campers around about 8:24 p.m. PT Sunday.

Awards season expert Steve Pond fact-checks the topic of Prioress’s oft-repeated Hollywood PR. As actress Dolores Hart, it is said that she previously presented at the 1959 Oscars and was responsible for Elvis Presley‘s first on-screen kiss. Wrong, and… not quite right. Pond notes that the bit about the Elvis kiss was put forth about a decade ago by ABC News’ 20/20 and has been lazily repeated ever since:

It’s uncertain the order in which the kisses were filmed [for 1957's Loving You], but Elvis kisses Jana Lund about 50 minutes into the film, and Lizabeth Scott half an hour later; it isn’t until the movie’s final scene that he finally locks lips with Hart.

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National Enquirer Zig Zags to Whitney Houston Doc

The National Enquirer is certainly not alone in racing to put together a broadcast about the late Whitney Houston. For example, OWN has already announced a special two-hour block for Thursday, anchored around Oprah Winfrey‘s memorable September 2009 interview with the singer.

But the tone of the tabloid’s doc, the first product of a new multi-platform partnership between American Media and UK production house Zig Zag, is decidedly closer to the gutter. Per a report on realscreen.com:

The documentary promises to focus on details of the singer’s much-publicized battle with addiction and provide audiences with a “harrowing” account of her private life… The film is billed as featuring interviews with drug dealers and photos of the singer’s “drug den.”

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Daryl Hannah Cozies Up to Greedy Lying Bastards

First came the February 7 Hollywood Reporter article by Jay A. Fernandez. Followed today by a rip-roaring press release.

All that’s left are the have-fun-with-it headlines in connection with the news that actress Daryl Hannah is on board as executive producer of the upcoming documentary Greedy Lying Bastards. In production since 2009, the screed against the fossil fuels industry boasts a relatively large production budget of $1.5 million. From this morning’s announcement:

Author and political activist-turned filmmaker Craig Rosebraugh documents the impact of an industry that has continually put profits before people, waged a campaign of lies designed to thwart measures to combat climate change, used its clout to minimize infringing regulations and undermined the political process in the U.S. and abroad.

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Cacophony Society Film Screening a Dead Zone for Alternative Press

You may have never heard of the Cacophony Society, but chances are you’ve heard of events created by the group or its members, such as SantaCon, Burning Man, and the Urban Idiotarod. Chuck Palahniuk was a member, and the group’s antics provided the inspiration for Project Mayhem in his book Fight Club. The society, which was founded in California in the mid 1980s, had a profound cultural impact that went far beyond the local art scene – they still hold SantaCon every year in Tokyo, fer crissakes.

So when this fishie headed down to Santa Ana this past Saturday for the screening of Jon Alloway‘s new documentary film, Into The Zone: The Story of the Cacophony Society, and corresponding art exhibit, we expected to see the plenty of press covering the event. But no.

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Gasland Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested by Capitol Hill Police

Academy Award-nominated Gasland documentarian Josh Fox was arrested Wednesday while attempting to cover a public congressional hearing on the controversial oil extraction process “fracking.” Fox was apparently not properly credentialed to cover the meeting and House Republicans ordered him arrested after he refused to stop filming the proceedings. Democracy Now has the transcripts of how it all went down.

H/T The eXiled

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