Exhaustive research. Unpredictable subjects. Chronic underfunding. The stigma of being "unsexy." It's no picnic for documentarians, but they do what they do because they love it -- and they want you to know about it. Friday, March 8, the University of Texas (in conjunction with the South by Southwest Film Festival) will host a doc salon of sorts, an all-day gathering in which professionals and amateurs alike come together to chew on the agony and the ecstasy of documentary filmmaking. On tap will be a roundtable discussion on the current state of documentary-making; presentations on what formal schooling has to offer (participants include field experts from UT, Stanford, and Berkeley); sage advice for a new generation of truth-sayers from filmmakers, financiers, and programmers; and enough doc glitterati to make your head spin, including Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter)
, Alan Berliner (The Sweetest Sound)
, and Alexandra Pelosi (director of the outrageously anticipated Dubya-doc, Journeys With George
). Of course, it wouldn't be Texas if there weren't a little hometown bragging involved; as says Paul Stekler, a UT professor and the man behind the Emmy Award-winning George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire
, the doc summit is "also a chance for a lot of important documentary people from out of town to see what's happening here in Austin and at UT -- and take the word back out to the world." True, dat.
The UT- and SXSW-sponsored documentary salon is free, open to the public, and takes place Friday, March 8, 9am-5pm, in the LBJ Room, fifth floor of the UT Communications Building A (26th and Guadalupe).