For the tenth consecutive year, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival took place, the 26th edition of which took place from October 21st to 28th The Meeting place for documentary filmmakers and documentary lovers – especially on October 25th, when The Hollywood Reporter presents and Your Humble Correspondent moderated the festival’s Docs to Watch panel, which brings together the directors of up to 10 of the year’s best documentaries.

In the last nine years, 45 films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, 19 of which were named Docs to Watch for the first time. And in seven of those nine years, one of Docs to Watch won the Oscar for Best Documentary: 2015 Amy2016 OJ: Made in America2017 Icarus2018 Free solo2019 American factory2021 Summer of the soul and 2022 Navalny. (The other two eventual winners – 2014 Citizenfour and 2020s My Octopus teacher – were not reviewed in time to be considered for Docs to Watch.)

As you can see for yourself in the video at the top of this post, nine filmmakers appeared on the “Docs to Watch” panel this year, discussing the origins of their projects, challenges they encountered along the way, and how they and their subjects benefitted from it The process of making and releasing the film was influenced by:

  • On behalf of PBS 20 days in Mariupola film about a team of Ukrainian journalists for the Associated Press who continue to work during the Russian invasion of their country to show the world what is happening in a besieged city, Mstyslav Chernov
  • On behalf of Netflix American Symphonya film about musician Jon Batiste, who experiences his greatest professional success while his wife faces her greatest personal challenge, an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature in 2015 Cartel country, Matthew Heineman
  • On behalf of Roadside’s Beyond utopiaa film about a South Korean pastor and some of the desperate people he tries to help escape oppressive North Korea, Madeleine Gavin
  • On behalf of Netflix The deepest breatha film about starry – and starry – deep-sea free divers, Laura McGann
  • In the name of MTV’s The eternal memorya film about Augusto Gongora and Pauli Urrutia, a prominent Chilean couple, as Augusto sinks into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease and Pauli cares for him, an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature in 2020 The Mole Agent, Maite Alberdi
  • On behalf of Magnolia’s Kokomo Citya film about the lives of four black transgender women who have done sex work and talk about their experiences and dreams, D. Smith
  • On behalf of Nat Geo’s The missiona film about the efforts of a young evangelical missionary determined, on his own behalf and on behalf of his co-director Amanda McBaine, to make contact with one of the world’s most isolated indigenous peoples. Jesse Moss
  • On behalf of Amazon Silver Dollar Streeta film about a black family in North Carolina whose ancestral land was confiscated through a legal loophole, an Oscar nominee for best documentary in 2016 I’m not your Negro, Raoul Peck
  • And on behalf of Apple Still: A Michael J. Fox filma film about the life and struggles of the popular actor of the same name, who developed Parkinson’s disease at a young age and won an Oscar in 2006 An uncomfortable truth, Davis Guggenheim

Unfortunately, Roger Ross Williams (an Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short Film in 2009). Music by Prudence and a 2016 Best Documentary Oscar nominee Life, animated), the director of a tenth film that was chosen as one of this year’s Docs to Watch (Netflix). Shaped from the starta film about the history of racism against blacks in America) had to cancel its appearance due to illness.

Before the panel discussion, the festival presented a special honor, its first Rising Documentarian Award Travon free and, in his absence, his directing partner Martin Desmond Roe. The filmmaking team is best known for the 2020s Two distant strangers, which won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film. But then they released two acclaimed documentaries, the short film 2022, via HBO in the last two years 38 in the gardenabout basketball star Jeremy Lin and the rise of anti-Asian hate in America and the 2023 documentary BS highabout a con man who organizes a football team on behalf of a high school that doesn’t actually exist, which ends up playing against a high school powerhouse in a game televised on ESPN.

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