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I had the privilege last week to be among a small group gathered for the New Arts of Documentary summit, a project of the Open Doc Lab at MIT. The summit brought together a group of mediamakers, technologists, scholars, curators and funders who are all experimenting with, thinking about, and forging new ground in the practice of nonfiction storytelling. Throughout the day, we shared rich discussion and saw some amazing projects playing with the boundaries of what documentary is and, significantly, what it can be. We also wrestled with the obstacles and ethical issues at play in the field, leaving with more questions than answers and a promise of more conversation to come.

The LEF staff has been out and about! Following up Sara’s post about True/False, I’m reporting back on my time at the Big Sky Film Festival in Missoula, Montana where the Big Sky team headed by Mike Steinberg put together some really wonderful programming.  Highlights for me included the Jury Prize winner Chasing Ice, about photographer James Balog and his beautiful/devastating glacier photography (audience members were audibly gasping) and getting to see one of my favorites, DA Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, on a big screen. I was also really impressed with how well the shorts blocks pulled films together under thematic headers that provided a context for the movies to interact. 

After an amazing weekend in Columbia, Missouri at the True/False Film Fest, I was prepared to write a full-on public Love Letter (capitals intended) to the festival praising its spirit, its vision and its whimsy. 

New England