For the last two years Hot Docs has been experimenting with ad lib sessions and one of them is The Soap Box where you can rant, shout or just wonder aloud. This year was again hosted by filmmaker and blogger AJ Schnack, and I was selected with a few other speakers, including Peter Wintonick, to speak from the 'pulpit' of the documentary church.
Ban the word "about"
Peter did a very eloquent plead to ban the word “about” at festivals and documentary forums. What a challenge! How can we talk about our films without that magical word? Why should we even consider banning it? Well, he had a good argument: "About" leads us straight into content of the film and makes us forget that we are storytellers selling stories, not social workers outlining sets of problems.
The perfect (documentary) antidote to Sheffield Doc/Fest is definitely CPH:DOX held in Copenhagen from the 4th to the 14th of November. The festival moves at a far more laid-back pace and whilst having an industry focus with a forum, market and masterclass’ a plenty, feels so much more about celebrating creative storytelling rather than rushing around trying to catch the latest commissioner to pitch your idea to. I have a feeling that I could pitch to someone there at ‘leisure’ during one of the many food and drink parties that take place throughout the city. Being a filmmaker, of course both festival formats have to exist in order to survive and get your work out there but sometimes we get lost in trying to fund our films and forget to watch!