Hope for DOX magazine?

The European Documentary Network (EDN) meets on November 23rd and will discuss a proposal to revive its printed magazine, DOX, in an annual form. This is (was?) the only magazine in Europe devoted to the culture of making documentaries at a time when online distribution and technical advances mean there are more documentary makers then ever.

Like many EDN members I consider myself a documentary maker, although the work I do for a living would perhaps better be described as factual television.

As a working freelance producer/director, much of the business side of EDN’s focus is of limited interest, although I accept it has as important role in helping indies and individuals navigate the funding maze.

What I loved about DOX was the focus on the practice of documentary making. This is something that is absent anywhere else (as far as I know). I should say that DOX didn’t deal with the day to day stuff of working in factual television, but that was part of its charm, its writing on arty feature docs and experimental films was somewhat escapist for many of its readers, but it was relevant escapism.

Interviews with documentary filmmakers and articles on approaches to building a rapport with contributors, location sound recording or techniques for filming with minimal equipment are very rarely seen in print.

Is EDN for producers or directors? It seems to me it has always served both, which makes sense since in documentaries, they are often one and the same person.

With the closure of DOX in print EDN becomes less relevant to me and my working life as a documentary maker. I would like to feel a connection to the great European documentary tradition and to be inspired by what others are doing in their practice of the form. That, to me is worth the membership fee.

I appreciate that many members will have different needs from the organisation but if someone is looking for information about funding a film, it’s unlikely that will translate into a lifetime membership of EDN.

I believe that EDNs lifetime members and its passionate supporters of the future will derived from promoting the culture and practice of documentary and that is something that DOX did.

Incidentally, I notice a lack of advertisements in recent issues of DOX, especially advertisements for cameras, lenses, mics, sliders, bags, lights and other tools of the trade. Surely the DOX readership could be a captive audience for this market?

Finally, I make this argument for DOX not out attachment to a printed magazine, annual or otherwise – I accept that a digital form might be more cost effective – but we need a forum for documentary makers to discuss their craft and DOX was (is?) our best hope.

By | 2017-04-27T16:43:34+00:00 November 21st, 2014|Uncategorized|3 Comments

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A documentary-maker specializing in actuality shooting to tell real stories.

3 Comments

  1. Mikkel Stolt November 25, 2014 at 13:57 - Reply

    Yeah, bloody hell. One (1) article is all I wrote after the new editor hired me (well, I did also decline to go to Krakow for another feature article in May), and now she’s quit due to the new conditions. And for me, I know that I will never get around to read DOX online… but apart from that I agree in your views, Rob.

    Maybe you read this already: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2960/

    See you soon, maybe?

    Mikkel

    • Robert Gould November 26, 2014 at 14:44 - Reply

      Hej Mikkel, I must have missed your article in DOX, what was it about and which issue? I did see that proposal to keep a single annual edition of DOX and I hope it succeeded – will they tell us? I am not convinced a magazine about documentary can’t be profitable or at least cover its costs.

      EDN is always saying “come and find us at such-and-such a festival” as if us working documentary makers spend all our time propping up bars at festivals ^^

  2. Mikkel Stolt November 26, 2014 at 16:05 - Reply

    Haha, yeah… we just missed EDN’s traditional Bottle Party at IDFA in Amsterdam.

    I guess they will tell us what happens, but maybe I have an advantage since I’m just down the street from them and are friends with most of them and meet them all the time (which ofc also means I’ll have trouble getting out of the joint if I ever wanted to).

    Erhm, I wrote a review of a Greek film… http://www.doxmagazine.com/are-victims-interesting/ – which I apparently tried to make as unreadable as possible. *sighs*

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