Odds & Sods

As an add-on to the 2001 Factual Price Guide, RealScreen asked
producers and distributors about their predictions for the future.
March 1, 2001

No one ever claimed filmmakers were a happy bunch.

Here’s what they think the future holds:

‘Every quality documentary filmmaker working in basic cable will either go out of business or be forced to sell out their usual high standards, due to the ever-tightening budgets and unreasonable coproduction deals that cable networks force upon us.’


‘It is clear that 16mm film is almost completely dead in Europe as an exhibition format, and it is fading fast in the American market.’

‘Many webcasters will get their fingers burnt before they work out where the revenue streams are coming from.’

‘Budgets will go down, expectations will go up.’

‘More production executives will be hired as gatekeepers who know less than the producers, but can’t admit it.’

‘Distribution of projects will be online.’

‘Many more factual producers will go out of business in the near future.’

‘Broadcasters will squeeze the life out of natural history producers. The margins are too tight and only the love of the art can keep us going.’

‘The fun’s just beginning. New tools, new opportunities for making programs and getting them funded, distributed. Old skill sets are more important than ever.’

‘It will become harder for the indie doco producer to survive, as mega-mergers and movie-stars-as-producers gobble up bigger pieces of available air time. With the U.S. government providing no production funding, the squeeze is on the indie to find creative ways to raise financing and secure air slots, and for networks to continue to support variety and diversity of producing and storytelling styles. There’s a huge risk of homogenous programming.’

‘The future looks bright.’

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.