On 24 November, Oscar winner Alex Gibney presented his most important learning moments in the documentary field to a room full of up-and-coming film talent at an exclusive session at IDFA.
Alex Gibney makes revealing and compelling documentaries, including his breakthrough Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side and the much-discussed Going Clear documentary about the Church of Scientology. The American filmmaker was (for the first time in his career!) A guest at IDFA, for his new documentary Citizen K. and a special Industry session that is part of the Videoland Academy programme.
The audience consisted of a group of new makers, who were given the opportunity to learn from one of the best documentary makers in the world. Although he secretly still sees himself as a student. "That's why I review Gimme Shelter every nine months: a Rolling Stones music documentary that is transformed into a murder mystery by editing. Layer by layer, deeper and deeper, from playful to sinister. Editors usually don't get enough credit." Gibney knows because he started his career as an editor of fiction films. From this cinéma vérité masterpiece, Gibney retained the concept that you can tell a documentary in the context of a genuine genre film - such as the detective, his favourite genre.
Another important lesson: if you tackle a controversial topic and expect legal opposition, then it is nice if you have a large party (for example in the case of Going Clear) behind you with a legal team. "But bring the expected difficulties immediately open and exposed or table, and not when the shit hits the fan."
The most important lesson? Stay open to what you discover during the research and the making of the documentary. "Documentaries are exactly the same as feature films, with the only difference that you only write the script at the end of a documentary. In the editing room."
In the afternoon, filmmakers were able to check their ideas or film plans by the professionals involved in Videoland Academy. Many filmmakers talked to them to find out if their documentary or fiction plan would be eligible for the Videoland Academy and the "Grounded Sci-Fi" and "True Crime" themes.
Report by Anton Damen, Photos by Almicheal Fraay
Photo in header: Photo by Almicheal Fraay