1. For example, "The Good Pitch Europe" for June 2012 is bringing together filmmakers and funders looking for films with a social conscience. The funders, according to a recent email from BRITDOC, will include Amnesty International, BBC Worldwide, Berlinale, Bertha Foundation, British Council, Channel 4, Comic Relief, Edelman, European Fund for Investigative Journalism, Fallon, Google, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, Institut Francais, International Herald Tribune, Kickstarter, New York Times Op-Docs, Nokia, Occupy Movement, Ofcom, Pascal Decroos Fund, Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting, Robert F. Kennedy Foundation Europe, Roddick Foundation, Swedish Film Institute, Sundance Institute, The Co-Operative, The Elders, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Time Warner, Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, Tribeca New Media Fund, Virgin Unite, WWF, Al Jazeera, Ashoka, BFI, Big Lottery Fund, CPH:DOX, Dogwoof, FILMCLUB, IDFA, National Trust, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Oxfam, Rare Day, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Stonewall, Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Trust, WPP, ZDF....[return to page 1 of essay]

2. Budrus, Julia Bacha, Director, 2010. See the web site at (http://www.justvision.org/budrus) for the trailer, background information, a list of the 46 festivals that selected the film in 2010 and the many awards that it won, and the over 175 stories about it that have been featured in the press internationally.

3. The Green Wave, Directed Ali Samadi Ahadi, Festival screenings 2010-11; Red Flag theatrical release in the U.S. scheduled for 2012. See Imdb for trailer, press reports: (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1667130/). Web site is (http://www.thegreenwave-film.com/). It contains in particular a list of sources to learn more about the Green Revolution in Iran including reports from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

4. Stand van de Sterren (Position among the Stars), Director Leonard Retel Helmrich; producer Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, 2010. See http://www.standvandesterren.nl/en/home.php?lang=EN
for videos and news articles as well as cast and crew.

5. The role international film festivals play today in regards to documentary film is, like the films themselves, growing and evolving. Both dramatic film-centered festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, Venice, Sundance, Berlin, and Tribeca, and documentary film festivals such as IDFA, Hot Docs, Full Frame, Silver Docs, and Cinéma du Réel are supporting, promoting and featuring documentary films and filmmakers for growing numbers of film audiences. There is a significant rise in the number of documentaries submitted and screened as well as the number of viewers, directors, subjects, funders, distributors, and concerned social issue and human rights organization representatives attending. The numbers of funding, marketing, producing, and educational events supporting and promoting documentary cinema story-telling arts and their social and cultural impact are rising as well. Festivals are thus becoming much more than screenings and competitions; they are increasingly playing a major role in supporting the advancement of films and the culture, media and society they portray. At the same time that I want to acknowledge the problems of festivals: it's hard to be accepted into them, it costs money, and since government funding of these festivals is diminishing, the pressure of funding may be a critical issue. However, they have instigated an audience for documentary films that changes the landscape.

All three of these films have taken extensive advantage of festival exposure, and then gone on to release the films to theaters and television and DVD sales. I have been able to show them in my classroom. They are of such high quality that 87% of Rotten Tomatoes critics gave Budrus a "fresh" and 100% of critics liked The Green Wave and Position among the Stars.

6. Jay Winter, Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the Twentieth Century (Yale UP: New Haven, CT, 2007).

7. A number of experiments with using citizen journalism and "curating" or editing the resources into films and websites are going forward. A thoughtful and extensive example of "crowdsourcing" is Jigar Mehta's "Eighteen Days in Egypt," which exists in several forms, reaches out to an extensive participatory audience, and can be located on a website: http://http://beta.18daysinegypt.com

8. See a demonstration of the single shot technique and the steady wing camera attachment at

9. The panel with Judith Helfand and Orlando Bagwell was part of the 2010 Silverdocs Conference, Silver Springs Maryland.

10. Daniel Miller, Interview with Julia Bacha. IDFA, Amsterdam, November 2010.

11. Interview with Iltesham Morrar, Research Interviews with Israeli and Palestinian Peacebuilders , Just Vision Web Site. (http://www.justvision.org/portraits/all)

12. An updated site with links to news coverage of the film and its story is at

13. For a sample of those newsmakers who found it to be "news" in 2010 that there could be nonviolent protest and change in Palestine see, for example:

14. See the "Screenings" list on the Just Vision website:

15. Just Vision also has several other films and an extraordinary website of resources for using them. Just Vision's multi-media outreach and extensive educational website provides a useful model for organizers using any kind of documentary film as a prompt for discussion and fundraising. The website also encourages networking, providing a list of peacebuilding and nonviolence organizations. See http://www.justvision.org

16. For example, nonviolent protest at Bil'in has succeeded also in winning a legal victory against the placement of the wall and building settlements, but the law has not been finally enforced, so the struggle persists. Another award-winning documentary film has emerged from a project at Bil'in, one man's "home movies" of his family, his village, and the protests over settlement. Five Broken Cameras is the product of a joint Israeli-Palestinian effort between Emad Burnat, the Palestinian cinematographer who filmed the town and his relatives and their struggle for more than five years, and Guy Davidi, Israeli activist, director and producer, with production support from Israel and a number of other countries. As in Budrus, the news is from among the people of the town, about the nonviolent international collaboration and the extraordinary film.

17. A commissioning editor at Arte helped them finance this time-driven production, so that they finished the complex filming/animation in ten months. German producers from Arte, Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduction, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR),and VPRO from the Netherlands all collaborated with the Iranian/German director and crew.

18. Information about the making of this film draws upon a personal interview with Daniel Miller carried out with the filmmaker after the screening of the film in November, 2010 at IDFA.

20. Interviewees included Iranians in exile such as Nobel Peace Prize-winning attorney and activist Dr. Shirin Ebadi, and International Criminal Tribunals and Human Rights Representative and Professor Payam Akhavan.

21. See the somewhat controversial Wikipedia entry that says Ahmadinejad may have had the support of the majority of Iranians, before and after the election. The entry says some polling from inside and outside the country before the election and after showed Ahmadinejad ahead.

22. For reports on the "men of violence" who might be responsible for the Human Rights abuses committed against Green Wave protesters, see the web page from the Iran Human Rights Organization.

23. Sukhdev Sandhu, "Cinema and the Arab spring: the revolution starts here." The Guardian. Monday 19 September 2011 17.30 EDT

24. However, the influence of The Green Wave in the United States probably remains very small because Americans have seen little of it as yet. It is scheduled for distribution by Red Flag beginning in the summer of 2012. It appeared at Sundance in early 2011 and has now been chosen as part of the Sundance "FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" project, which showed it in Arizona in March and will take it to India next.

25. Jeannette Catsoulis, "Upheaval in a Family That Hopes to Stand Out." New York Times. September 14, 2011.

26. Leonard Retel-Helmrich and Hetty Naaijkens Retel-Helmrich. Interview with Daniel Miller. At Silver Docs Documentary Film Festival. Silver Springs Md., June, 2011.

27. You can look at the scene of the boy running on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMQ__wVW3vw&feature=related

28. See the bridge scene on YouTube:

29. See, for example, Dag Yngvesson's discussion of Indonesian films about youth culture in the last decade, in "Let's Get Lost: Unmapping History And Reformasi in the Indonesian Film Tiga Hari Untuk Selamanya." "Three Days to Forever."( Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media. No. 53, summer 2011). <http://www.ejumpcut.org/currentissue/DagIndonesia/text.html> The Indonesian fiction film, Tiga Hari Untuk Selamany (Three Days to Forever) similarly takes place after nearly a decade of disappointment about the possibility of reform after Suharto. He says that film

"returns ... to the melodramatic space of family conflict, which historically has served as a container and in some sense a hiding place for the most unspeakable aspects of local experience."

30. Helmrich and Naijkens said that the key line in the film was this one, when Rumidjah talks about her family buying things and asking for money, and Tumisah retorts with her statement about possessions. Interview, Daniel Miller. Silver Springs Md., June, 2011.

31. His film was nominated by the European Film Academy for the Documentary Prix Arte award, and by the Writers Guild of America in 2012 for the Best Documentary Screenplay. He has taught at Harvard and is scheduled to teach at New York University in 2012.

32. Leslie Felperin., Review. "Position Among the Stars" (Stand van de sterren). Variety Nov. 29, 2010. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944130/ (accessed June 7, 2012)

33. Hetty Naijkens' email to Daniel Miller's inquiry about whether the films had screened in Indonesia. She replied that there had been so far only two premieres there. June 13, 2012.

34. John Anderson. "A Master of Impossible Angles." Review. New York Times. September 9, 2011:

(accessed June 7, 2012).

To topPrint versionJC 54 Jump Cut home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.