Long Live the Documentary Form

It’s an exciting time for documentarians and I am proud to part of this movement. I encourage all to take a look at two recent Variety articles that highlight the move from audiences to absorb the documentary form in new ways (predominantly streaming) and the artists who have evolved over time.

> Audience Demand for Documentary Features Grows Across Platforms


> Variety Entertainment Marketing Summit Focuses on Future of Selling Dreams


Drink of the Week: Aperol Spritz

It’s the summer. I am isolated in the UAE and I am dreaming of a carefree summer. There isn’t a better drink to help you relax and feel happy than the Aperol Spritz. You don’t have to have any special equipment to get this drink “right”. This is the perfect drink to unwind once you spent some time working on your documentary.

Mix it as you like it. I prefer to include a squeeze of fish orange juice for a touch of sweetness since I use brut prosecco. This is the mix:

1) Aperol

2) Prosecco

3) Club soda

4) Slice of fresh orange

What is your summer fun drink? I’ll add it to my list.

What are the key elements of pre-production for a budget conscious documentary?

After receiving a faculty research grant to kickstart our #documentary, we started preproduction. What are the key elements of pre-production for a budget conscious documentary?

I used my experience freelancing for factual programing to develop a plan.

1. Pack Light

2. Prepare your releases : Personal, Location, Material

3. Book Locations for Filming and Develop Map for Interviewees

4. Plan a Calendar PACKED with time for Interviews, Meetings, Research & BRoll

@MachineDocumentary #MachineDocumentary #FilmIsNotDead #Documentary #SocialJustice #Alabama #RollTide #BeckyBeamer #MachineIsNotDead #Hoax #Conspiracy #Fraternities #Sororities #RocktheVote #KnowYourRIghts #Covid19production #FirstFeatureFIlm @BeckyBeamer

Genre Bending? Yes, please.


Netflix’s six-part series, Wormwood, is brilliant. This is the documentary I’ve been waiting years to see hit popular culture.  Wormwood fits perfectly into the grey area at the intersection of fiction and reality.  And I am proud to argue against the critics who claim this series is anything other than the most inventive documentary they have seen in ages.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am an Errol Morris super fan – check out my previous post on Gates of Heaven. I fell asleep and complained about the film being a waste of my time.

Now, back to the gushing …

  • Impeccable story telling
  • inventive camera angles (I read there were 10 per an interview)
  • beautiful composition
  • seamless transitions from collage, to text, to dramatic interpretation, to interview
  • props for the continuous comparison to Hamlet
  • excellent usage and collection of archival materials

I could go on and on but, I’m sure you are just about ready to sign on to Netflix and binge watch the series. So, without wasting anyones time :

DRINK PAIRING: Prosecco! This calls for a celebration.  Pass the bubbly.

SCORE: 5 out of 5 cheers.

Sharjah Art Foundation : Retrospective

Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist

Show Description: This landmark retrospective will include Hassan Sharif’s diverse body of work from the early 1970s to 2016. This retrospective is the culmination of Sharif’s long and storied history with the Emirate of Sharjah, where he first began staging interventions and exhibitions of contemporary art.

If you are in the area (Sharjah, UAE) from now until Feb. 3rd 2018, drop everything you are doing and go see this exhibition.  It’s a rare opportunity to see all of the work from the artist Hassan Sharif in one place. It is almost like the six galleries were made for his one man show. He was one step ahead of his time. Hassan Sharif worked in found object installations, sculpture, book art, painting, performance and multimedia. I can’t say enough positive exclamations about this retrospective.  I can’t help but feel like there won’t be another opportunity to see all of his work in one place.   I just reviewed the corresponding documentary at DIFF with equal excitement. The studio workspace pictured in the documentary was captured and moved in its entirety to the Sharjah Art Foundation.

For more information: http://www.sharjahart.org/sharjah-art-foundation/exhibitions/hassan-sharif-a-retrospective

5 out of 5 cheers.

Sharp Tools

Sharp tools is a documentary about UAE artist Hassan Sharif currently showing at the Dubai International Film Festival. Catch the first screening today, Friday December 08 @6:30pm or the second screening on Sun December 10 @3:30pm.

It’s the best opening of a movie that I have seen in a long time. The film is intriguing and informative. This is my favorite combination. The director is Nujoom Alghanem. She is Emirate and a poet in her own right. She’s won several big awards in past years related to the festival.


For more information check out : https://dubaifilmfest.com

Dubai International Film Festival #diff2017

I’m excited to be a part of the Dubai International Film Festival this year. I’ve got a couple of jam packed days. I only wish that it wasn’t coinciding with finals for my students.

Off to an excellent start … I had to get here really early because of traffic. If you are interested in more info on schedule and events : https://dubaifilmfest.com/en/schedule.html

Alserkal Avenue – Dubai – UAE

Don’t be confused by the name: Alserkal Avenue. It’s not an avenue in the typical sense of the word but rather a conglomerate of art warehouses in one walkable space.  It is amazing.  This was my first trip to the galleries in the warehouse district of Dubai but, it will not be my last.

The space includes established studios, artists residences, places to eat, and pop up shops.  It’s in a constant state of evolution. There are young people here interested in supporting and promoting the arts.  Everyone I visited in the galleries are friendly and talkative.  To make me even happier, there weren’t many people around on Friday midday (holy day here).

Check out their website for more information and to keep up with all the happenings … nearly everyday is something new and every month is a new topic. https://alserkalavenue.ae/en/index.php

Oh yeah, it is free and it is hip.


Dubai Design Week: Ethnographic Installation

paula design week.png

Dubai design week is not just for working professionals.  It is a celebration of art and design for the entire public sphere.  There are talks and workshops and exhibitions. There will be something available when you have time this week.

I was pulled away from my planned itinerary by a Ms. Paula Zuccotti. I will be documenting her documentation.  I will post an update later but, I want to encourage one and all to stop by while you have a chance to participate yourself.

For more information check out the website @DubaiDesignWeek:



Designed by Paula Zuccotti  // 13 – 18 November  // 10am – 9pm
Ground Floor, Building 6, Dubai Design District

Paula’s exhibition ‘Every Thing We Touch – Dubai Design Week’ will explore the cultures that make up Dubai, using everyday artifacts as the storytellers, and examining the similarities and differences of these objects. Many things we know about past civilizations are gleaned from the insights gathered through their objects.  Paula’s art of future archeology reflects on the customs, traditions and behaviours of the different people and cultures of Dubai through the physical footprint of the objects they interact with in a day.

SIDE NOTE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN THE AREA >>>  keep your eyeballs peeled! Hopefully one day Paula will decide to visit and document the neighborhood that you live in – your family and friends.  She is on the move all over the globe so, when this becomes your reality, you must participate.

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