Talkin’ 2009

The end of a year causes one to pause and reflect on the good and the bad, usually while nursing a hangover from New Year's Eve.
January 1, 2010

The end of a year causes one to pause and reflect on the good and the bad, usually while nursing a hangover from New Year’s Eve. Thus, I thought it’d be fun to give praise to the doc films and non-fiction TV offerings that we at realscreen deemed exceptional over the course of the past year. Thankfully, this year provided a lot of great work to choose from. You’ll get your chance, as we aim to publish your picks for ’09 in an upcoming feature on And of course, there’s our upcoming Global 100 feature in the March/April issue, based on your votes for the year’s best work and the prodcos behind it. Be sure to send your thoughts my way at

The film that affected me on the deepest level this year – documentary or fiction – was Louie Psihoyos’ The Cove. At turns harrowing, heart-stopping and heart-warming (how’s that for alliteration?), this examination of a little-known environmental injustice inspired a huge international outcry and personally, fired up my own lapsed conservationist streak. And as a documentary, it skillfully strode the line between preachy and punchy. On the TV front, the show that graces this issue’s cover, History’s JFK: 3 Shots that Changed America, was an absolutely riveting, entirely archive-based examination of a history-altering event. Mesmerizing and moving, you can read more about it on pg. 36.

And now, over to my esteemed colleagues:

Kelly Anderson, Staff Writer: For me, it was a tie between the buzz-worthy fashion docs of 2009. The September Issue gave me the pleasure of seeing that Vogue‘s offices (with the exception of editor Anna Wintour’s carefully decorated workspace) aren’t that much glitzier than realscreen‘s. The film even inspired me to buy my first issue of Vogue. Meanwhile, Valentino: The Last Emperor was a beautifully shot look at the last year of Valentino’s reign. It had glamour, couture, bickering and pugs… you can’t go wrong with any of that in my books.

Lindsay Gibb, Senior Writer: I couldn’t choose between Old Partner and The Way We Get By; both intimate looks at life and mortality, though on opposite sides of the world. On the surface the subject of Old Partner sounded somewhat dull – the relationship between an elderly couple in South Korea and their 40-year-old ox – but once inside I was completely caught up in the connection and parallels between man and animal. I was also surprised by The Way We Get By, the story of three elderly troop greeters who welcome American troops home from the Iraq war. The film avoids politics and rather focuses on the kind-hearted greeters as they brighten the days of the troops while they secretly ponder their own utility in the world.

Melissa Giddens, Sales Supervisor: My favorite reality picks for 2009 have to be Survivor and The Amazing Race. Tried and true, exciting and controversial TV that makes you keen on tuning in as new seasons keep on pumping out.

Kerry LaiFatt, Account Manager: Hoarders. How could someone not know they’ve killed two cats, buried in stuff? I couldn’t pry myself away from this!

Lastly, a clarification and a correction: The cost of Prime Focus’ View-D 3D conversion service, as featured in the article ‘Living in Stereo’ (November-December ’09), is project-dependent. For more information contact Prime Focus via Also, in the same issue’s ‘Pixel Wizards,’ Colorado design and VFX company Impossible was incorrectly referred to as Impossible Pictures, which is, of course, a UK prodco. We apologize for the errors.


Barry Walsh


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