Whitney Dow's 'When the Drum is Beating' traces Haiti's political history by following Haitian supergroup Septentrional, a nationally celebrated ensemble that has performed throughout the country for over six decades.
'Hot Coffee' is a documentary by Susan Saladoff, who left her career as a public interest lawyer in the U.S. to make the film. Her film looks at how the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit in the mid-90s was used to trivialize consumer protection lawsuits. It's scheduled to air on HBO in June.
Marshall Curry directed the Academy Award nominated documentary 'Street Fight', covering the 2002 Newark, NJ mayoral campaign, and was at Hot Docs to promote his latest film, 'If A Tree Falls', which tells the story of the Earth Liberation Front.
While the topic of the panel was issue-focused documentary, the filmmakers didn't limit themselves. Here's some of what they had to say:
"Everyone's going to tell you 'no', so at least be happy with your final film... Funders will always ask 'why this, why now, why not someone else'." - Whitney Dow on the expectations of funders.
"Find people that are representative of the issue. You learn your story through them and then you feel something for them." - Susan Saladoff on casting
"Go with your gut. Don't listen to what people are telling you that you should do... Get over accuracy, it's about the filmmaker's perception of the experience." - Susan Saladoff on creative control
"So I bought a camera and found a story that seemed interesting and read the manual... 'Street Fight' was my first film - I filmed it on my own and edited it in my apartment." - Marshall Curry on becoming a documentary filmmaker