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Q&A and Case Study With Claudia Myers, Director of FORT BLISS

Director Claudia Myers on the set of Fort BlissClaudia Myers (Kettle of Fish) is a producer/writer/director and an associate professor in the Film and Media Arts Division of the School of Communication at American University. Her latest feature film Fort Bliss (2014) chronicles the story of a female army medic who returns from her tour of duty and struggles to reconnect with her son. The film touches upon issues of managing work and family, PTSD and sexual assault. CMSI sat down with Professor Myers to discuss the film and its social impact since its release last year. Professor Myers also shared with CMSI a case study of the film's impact and reach thus far.


Fair Use Question of the Month: Digitizing Archives of Copyrighted Work


Dear CMSI,

I am part of a team in the special collections unit of my university library working on the recently acquired personal archive of a regional artist. We’re hoping to make the correspondence between the artist and various collectors and institutions digitally available. The archive came with a donor’s agreement allowing digital display, but there are a lot of items in the archive that are actually copyrighted to others. So what we want to know is, can we employ fair use here? If so, how?Read more...

How to Make Membership in Public Broadcasting More Meaningful

POV Web JunkieLast year, I donated to my local public broadcaster, which had decided to carry my favorite shows, Independent Lens and POV—the two public TV series that carry award-winning, diverse documentaries—at a time I could actually watch them. (That is, at the nationally scheduled time, on Monday nights at 10pm.) And I told them why I was donating.

And so now I’m a member of my local station. Read more...

AFI DOCS Screens "India's Daughter"

After Jyoti Singh was attacked, Indians took to the streets in protest. Photo Credit: India's Daughter official websiteThe AFI DOCS film festival screened Leslee Udwin’s retrospective documentary, “India’s Daughter,” last week in Washington, D.C. The film is Udwin’s directorial debut and her first documentary, although she has produced six other films and worked as a professional actor for decades.

The hour-long film chronicles the case of Indian medical student Jyoti Singh, who was brutally raped on a bus by a group of men in December 2012. The night Singh and her friend were attacked in Delhi, they were returning home from an early movie. She had just finished a year of medical school – a remarkable triumph for a girl who had grown up in poverty. Singh survived the attack, but she died of her injuries only days later. Her case spurred public backlash against the cultural norms and laws that may tacitly condone gender-based violence in India.Read more...

Journalism, Web Docs Are Key Topics at AFI Docs Conference

'FRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath delivers the keynote address at AFI Docs.This article was original published on Documentary.org (Documentary magazine) by the International Documentary Association. 

"Why isn't FRONTLINE more like Minecraft?"

In her keynote address to the AFI DOCS Filmmaker ConferenceFRONTLINE executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath relayed her 9-year-old son’s question posed at an MIT Open Docs Media Lab event. (For the uninitiated, Minecraft, the virtual reality creation game, is the hottest activity around for the most native of digital-natives, the pre-tween iPad generation.) Aronson-Rath spoke of being inspired at her week-long immersion into nonlinear storytelling ideation at MIT, and the importance of paying attention to the Minecraft question—and a Minecraft-playing audience—as the future of documentary storytelling continues to unfold.

For the filmmakers, strategists, industry professionals and film students in attendance at this year’s Conference (June 18-19), the future of documentary was a central theme, along with risk-taking in the blurred lines between documentary storytelling and investigative journalism. The Washington, DC-based conference, presented in partnership with IDA, also focused on its own native themes: the deep impact and connection between documentaries and public policy, legislation and public affairs.Read more...