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May 12, 2008



I know in some ways all these developments sound difficult for the doc world, but I actually think they are necessary and helpful corrections. Perhaps with the folding of specialty units of large conglomerates, independent distributors who actually care about the movies they distribute will be able to thrive more readily. And the specialty houses that are left will stay closer to the ground. It's always been my feeling that the more these larger companies spent zillions on a potential doc-hit and then pulled it into ignominy when they didn't perform up to expectations, the worse things got for the bulk of documentary filmmakers. Perhaps a smaller, boutique-type distributor like Zeitgeist or Balcony or Shadow or new companies that may crop up in the vacuum will be the ones to benefit from docs that do moderately good business instead of them being bombs for bigger companies at the same Box Office levels. Warner Independent, et al, tend to distort our expectations and perceptions of doc-distribution, mostly because the companies they are owned by couldn't care less about holding your important movie in a theater for one more week so 100 more people can see it.

Erin Donovan

I'm disheartened by all the grim news for indies this week but ultimately agree with Arne.

We're in a period of transition with all the potential new outlets to connect viewers with films -- it just feels like a waste of time, talent and resources to see these distributors try to sell docs by cramming them into the narrative mold.

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