National geographic after news reporter era


Cable and Other Networks
Cable also offered new outlets for independent producers as well as for established units,
like Time-Life's and National Geographic's. Regular documentary fare on channels
specializing in nonfiction subject matter for modest-sized core audiences has tended to be
formulaic, establishing the company’s “brand image,” and likely to be frequently
repeated. The Arts and Entertainment channel led the field with Biography, which picked
up where Wolper left off, Investigative Reports, and American Justice. Bill Kurtis is an
example of a producer who took advantage of this development. After a career as a news
reporter for CBS, Kurtis formed his own production company in Chicago in 1988. In the
late 1990s a Kurtis documentary was likely to be seen on A&E at least once a week. 

The Turner Broadcasting System likewise invested in long-form documentaries to
complement its 24-hours news service, CNN. In the 90-minutes Dying to Tell the Story
(1998), a young woman, Amy Eldon, seeks to understand why photographers and
videographers risk their lives to cover the world’s wars and tumults. Her search was
prompted by the death in Somalia in 1993 of her brother, Dan Eldon, a 22-year-old
Reuters photographer. Ted Turner took a personal interest in investing $12 million in the
24-part Cold War (1998-1999), a joint production with the BBC and with the same
executive producer, Jeremy Isaacs, who had been responsible for The World At War in
1974. The series was criticized by some for its neutral approach, but is widely used in
schools and colleges.
C. Style and Subject Matter
Network documentaries in the 1960s and 1970s were criticized for their institutional
appearance. In the 1980s and 1990s documentary makers appeared with an individual
style, which differed greatly from the traditional form. Jon Alpert, based at Downtown
Community Television Center in New York’s Chinatown, is known for work that
exposed the abuses of American capitalism at home and abroad, some of which was
taken by the networks. He is videographer and reporter in one, speaking as he shoots. His
voice, recorded live with the pictures, becomes a real time commentary, jarring to some
who find it overbearing, but welcomed by others for its spontaneity and openness. In One
Year in a Life of Crime (1989), Alpert tracked the escapades of three young talkative
shoplifters on the streets of Newark, 

New Jersey. Ten years later, in A Life of Crime Two
(1998), which was shown on HBO, he returned to his subjects to see what had become of
them. The film ends with a hopelessly drugged Rob, one of his original three subjects,
collapsing, a total wreck, in the gutter.
Errol Morris’ approach has been more cinematic, if also more stylized. He is best
known for The Thin Blue Line (1988), a film about two young men in a Dallas jail and
whether the right one was found guilty of a policeman’s murder. Morris shot multiple
versions of the murder scene, illustrating different accounts offered by participants in the
drama whose role is not explicitly identified.
The trademark style of the British documentary maker, Nick Broomfield, is to
include the difficulties he encounters as he pursues his subject. Broomfield holds the
microphone when shooting and the camera shows him negotiating for interviews and
other material as filming progresses. Viewers become party to what goes on in making
the documentary and often to seedy characters and unpleasant talk. Three documentaries
released on VHS are typical of this approach: Aileen Wuornos, Portrait of a Serial Killer
(1992), Heidi Fleiss, Hollywood Madam (1995), and Kurt and Courtney (1997).
Too great an emphasis on style risks overwhelming subject matter, but some
subject matter can also place too great a burden on conventional documentary form. In
Shoah (1995), Claude Lanzmann spent hours conversing about the holocaust with
survivors, train drivers, technical workers, bystanders - anyone connected with the death
camps - to create a 9½-hour audio-visual book of remembrance with no archive footage,
but only present day landscapes and city scenes. Marcel Ophüls’ The Sorrow and the Pity
(1969), about French collaboration with the Germans during World War II, and Hotel
Terminus (1988), about the life and times of the Gestapo chief of Lyons, Klaus Barbie,
likewise deployed lengthy interviews. But Ophüls used archive footage and humor in
unexpected ways and his editing was more subtle. Abstract ideas like evil, torture,
loyalty, courage and fate are made palpable through the faces and speech of his subjects.
Both films run 4½ hours. (The French state-controlled television service banned Sorrow
and the Pity when it was completed in 1969. It was then shown outside France. In 1971 it
was screened in a movie theater in Paris where it ran for more than 18 months to record
audiences. In all some 700,000 French people saw it before it was finally broadcast on
French television in 1981. It then had an audience of 15 million.)
The network documentaries of the 1960s and 1970s were driven by a sense of
public responsibility that seemed justified by the national and international events of
those decades - the Cold War, civil rights, the Vietnam war, Watergate and the
impeachment of President Nixon, American embassy hostages in Iran. An air of serious
purpose determined the choice of subject matter as well as the manner of its presentation.
The passing of the Cold War, however, and the end of network dominance of
documentary production proved liberating in both form and content to many
documentary makers. At 30 minutes, Yum, Yum, Yum! (1990),

 by Les Blank, offered a
joyous look at cajun cooking. Hands on a Hard Body (1998), by S.R. Bindler, shot in
1995 when he was in his mid-twenties, followed 24 contestants for more than 70 hours in
the hope of winning a Nissan truck by being the last to remain on their feet with a hand
on the truck’s body. Unzipped (1995), by Douglas Keeve, is a portrait of a New York
fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi. Shot cinéma-vérité style, the film is as anarchic in its
composition as its subject, no doubt reflecting the fast-moving world of fashion. In the
late summer of 2000, Hopkins 24/7 on ABC and American High on Fox, both tried a new
documentary approach - the former, of the day-to-day work of a leading American
hospital, the latter of the day-to-day life of students at a high school in Chicago. Neither
subject was new to the documentary, but both attempted to win new audiences to their
subjects by adopting what critics have called the “docu-soap” form. The four part BBCA&E series Crusades (1995) tapped Terry Jones of Monty Python fame in the traditional
role of on-camera lecturer-talent, resulting in some entertaining high jinks; Cane Toads:
An Unnatural History (1988) by the Australian Mark Lewis brought humor into a
documentary about a species of toad that was rashly imported into Australia in the 1930s
and now threatens to overrun the country. Lewis followed this with Rat in 1997, using a
rat wrangler to provide extras in the contest between man and rodent for living space in
New York City.
ln the last two decades of the 20th century, then, documentaries have appeared in
such a variety of forms and covering such widely different subject matter as to make it
difficult to assess the value of the genre itself or the meaning of the term used to describe
it. Any list of titles leaves out too many that deserve mention, let alone the hundreds of
short documentaries that are regularly produced for major television events, for example,
during network broadcasts of the Olympics

Media center total solutions of content and raw wiki information source - The hulk library of knowledge world wide - sound library - Books library

bitcoin , reads , books , cord blood , attorneys , lawyers , domestic , local services , offshore companies , offshore lawyers , beyond the seas business , laws , enactions , jungle , ameriican eagle , america business , gas, gasoline , petrol , burn , films , new movies , stars , hollywood , stationary , offices , federal law , states divisions

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form