Docs

Resist Networks is changing doc research

The excitement and innovation of a doc are usually saved for the project itself, not the research, but a filmmaker, an actor and a producer have put their heads together to bring serious innovation to the research process. Pulse Films' Thomas Benski, director Marc Silver and actor Gael Garcia Bernal have created resistnetwork.com, an online research tool for their upcoming documentary Resist. In a chat with realscreen, Benski and Silver gave more details on the creative project.
November 20, 2008

The excitement and innovation of a doc are usually saved for the project itself, not the research, but a filmmaker, an actor and a producer have put their heads together to bring serious innovation to the research process. Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski, director Marc Silver and actor Gael Garcia Bernal have created resistnetwork.com, an online research tool for their upcoming documentary Resist. In a chat with realscreen, Benski and Silver gave more details on the creative project.

According to Silver, both the online component and the documentary formed from the idea of exploring the wall between Mexico and America in a film. ‘The issues that surrounded that war were epic and global,’ he says. ‘Then we thought we’d set up a website so we could learn from the perspectives of people all around the world rather than just our one view.’

People’s stories of resistance and their definition of the word ‘resistance’ will help inform the doc, which may have a built-in audience by the time the doc is complete, thanks to the social network that is part of resistnetwork.com.

‘Basically the idea was that instead of researching a documentary in the traditional sense, we wanted to flip research on its head and use more of an open source approach,’ adds Benski. ‘And humbly try to tap into the knowledge, expertise and emotions that were spread across the world.’

Some of that expertise is found currently on the website in the form of interviews conducted by Bernal on topics of resistance with people like Annie Lennox, Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein.

All of this knowledge will help to shape the film, which should begin filming by next summer and is tentatively planned to be festival-ready by 2010.

According to Benski, the funding strategy is twofold, one for the film and the other fore the online and social research aspect. The online and outreach have gotten support from non-governmental money, foundations, and donations, and the film will look for traditional commercial partners like the BBC, Latin American, European and American partners.

This unique method to research is already garnering lots of attention for the trio, as Silver said he’s getting a lot of requests for advice on how to put together the online component. Researching just got a whole lot more interesting.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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