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26Sep2012

A Way To Dcoumentary by Harry Marshall, Creative Director, Icon Films

Everyone needs a break but commissioners are understandably nervous when it happens on their watch.  Who wouldn’t be a bit nimby when there is so much at stake and so many established documentary film makers to otherwise choose from?   But new blood is essential to the health of any culture and we are very committed at Icon to supporting new and first time directors on their journey to making their own documentaries.  it can be a long road before you get the chance to direct for network television for the network. This month I have been to Colombia with a first time director.  It was a precondition  of his appointment of the broadcaster to allow him to take this big step that I supported him.   It was a one hour film for the River Monsters series which I have EP'd for the past 4 years.  Next week I go to the Ukraine again with another first time director.  During the Encounters festival One of the series that was particularly praised was the BBC's Protecting the Children.  A paragon of objective sensitive and balanced observational documentary directed  by Sacha Mirzoeff.  Ten years ago Sasha and I went to Kyrgyzstan and on to Turkey for a National Geographic project.  It was a formatted series called A Different Ballgame about indigenous sports around the world. It was Sasha's first  film - about Turkish oil-wrestling and very different from the documentaries he would go on to make. we all start somewhere and the craft of documentary film making needs to be learnt.

I believe established production companies  have a responsibility to take risks and share knowledge and experience with the next generation of film makers.I have no doubt some of the directors cutting their teeth now on One Shows will go on to make great longer form documentaries in the future.  

 

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