Realscreen January/February 2019

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052 JANUARY / FEBRUARY '19 ARCHIVE REPORT P A R T I C I P A N T S : Jessica Berman-Bogdan President/CEO, Global ImageWorks Tom Jennings Executive producer and founder, 1895 Films Elizabeth Klinck Producer, visual researcher Nina Krstic Director/producer, visual researcher Realscreen: The doc renaissance is on, "premium" content is hot and more networks seem to be commissioning archive- based content. Is this the boom time, or is that a simplifi cation? NK: It's defi nitely the heyday of documentaries and it's been an amazing ride. There are so many amazing projects coming out and there are so many things being developed, but very quickly. My fear is that some of the quality will drop off and it's a bubble that could burst. That's my pessimistic view but my optimistic view is that I'm so lucky to be working in this age where there is more work than I can handle. JBB: I think people are getting really tired of "reality" television and that whole wave and the natural result, along with the political situation, is that people have a thirst for the real stuff. History, looking at our world and its people — there's a renewed interest that is being fed into by the search for content from the SVODs and others. Everybody is busy — I don't know if the bubble is going to burst. EK: I do feel it's a demographic thing as well and that there's a big, and growing, younger audience for archive. I've been doing this for many years, and there are cycles in which people say, 'Oh, we don't want talking heads or black and white archive, we want CGI and recreations.' So it's exciting to see archive back in favor again. TJ: I'd call it more of a renaissance. Several years ago, I was at a conference where panelists were discussing history programming. A major producer said, "The one thing you need to know right now is that archive is dead." Being a fan of archive material I asked, "Is it the fault of the archival images that networks don't fi nd them interesting? Or is it the fault of producers for not fi nding more exciting ways to use archive. After all, there's probably 100 million hours out there." The panelists looked at each other and fi nally one said, "That's a very good question", but no one had an answer. Now, many networks are looking for that "smoking gun" archive that will shed light on well-known stories. They want producers to come to them with really great, never broadcast images. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports that archive was dead were greatly exaggerated. NK: There's also a thirst for long-form storytelling which is playing off the post-Internet age. For a while we were telling stories through 140 characters. So there's a thirst to dive deep into a subject. (The following has been edited for length and clarity)

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