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How Documentary Became the Most Exciting Kind of Filmmaking

4/17/2013 7:53 AM Eastern

David Edelstein of Vulture writes:  Documentary . A starchy word, isn’t it? It comes from the Latin documentum, meaning lesson or proof, and carries an implicit threat: “Time for class, children.” That’s better than a quiz, for sure, but nothing you’d want to pay thirteen bucks to see on a big screen. A popular website for doc practitioners is called “the D-Word,” as in (creator Doug Block explains), “We love your film but don’t know how to sell it. It’s a D-word.”

A good place to learn to love the D-word is a film festival like Tribeca (April 17 to 28), where you have the opportunity to marvel at the explosion—and creative flowering—of this most commercially unsexy of genres. I was down in Miami for an excellent fest last month and out of my mind with pleasure at the opening movie, a doc called Twenty Feet From Stardom that centers on great backup singers trying to make their own voices heard (you’ll hear about it, boy will you, when it opens in June); when the lights came up, doc programmer Thom Powers (lucky bastard) announced, “Ladies and gentleman, Darlene Love,” and one of the stars of the film walked out, and the audience rose to its feet screaming as Darlene let loose in song. I wish you’d been there to feel the, well, love.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.