Factual filmmakers are by nature an intrepid bunch, often trekking around the world to capture a story. But before setting out on their next adventure, doc-makers should check out Aon Insurance’s 2005 Risks in Global Filmmaking Map, which measures corruption, crime, kidnap and ransom, disease and medical care risks. It also evaluates terrorism and political risks; based on the number of incidents between March, 2004 and February, 2005, Iraq, India and Nepal ranked as the top three terrorist locations. www.aon.com/about/publications/issues/2004_filmmaking_risk_map.jsp
Docs can play a powerful role in social change, but it’s not just what’s on screen that counts. Video Volunteers in New York matches filmmakers with NGOs, not only to produce films that will educate and advocate, but to pass on skills that enable underserved communities to continue to use film as a tool for change. Projects are typically two- to four-month commitments. This fall, programs will begin in Kenya, Brazil and India, where eight women from slum communities will create a video magazine for a local cable network.
The dirtiest joke
Controversy or strategy? In mid-July, U.S. chain AMC Theaters said it wouldn’t screen Paul Provenza’s buzzy Sundance doc The Artistocrats, and distrib ThinkFilm is claiming censorship. The film, which opens across the U.S. on August 12, has no nudity, sex or violence, but features comedians telling their versions of an old Vaudeville joke – which often means using expletives to be, well, explicit. Anticipating trouble back in January, Provenza told RealScreen, ‘Michael Moore thought he was going to change the election. This movie is much humbler than that. It’s just a fucking movie. Having controversy over this movie would be a waste of everyone’s time – even if it were to sell tickets.’