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Burma VJ and Citizen Journalism: Pro-am Public Media

One of my personal favorites at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam was Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country. It tracks the extraordinary work of Burmese citizen journalists who broke the story of the "Saffron Revolution," as it is sometimes called—that is, the uprising against the generals of 2007. Read more...

Great Women at IDFA, Inspiring NextGen Public Media Makers

For 21 years, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam has been a place to watch an extraordinary range of documentary films, which are an item in most European cultural ministry’s budgets. More, it’s been a place to meet annually with far-flung colleagues, buy and sell both finished work and work in progress, and to learn about cutting-edge practices. Read more...

European Filmmakers and Fair Use

As U.S. documentary filmmakers have increasingly benefited from the copyright doctrine of Fair Use, European documentary filmmakers have cast about for how to similarly benefit. The trouble is, instead of the broad and flexible Fair Use doctrine, the many European nations instead have a variety of specific and inflexible exceptions and limitations. Read more...

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Using Found Archival Material


Dear CSM:

I'm working on a movie that is part doc/part fiction, using the photos and letters of a man (who is now deceased) that were found in a photo album discovered in a second-hand store (like Goodwill). The photo album is not copyrighted, nor was it published. The man has been dead for about 14 years, and I've been unable to locate any of his family through a cursory internet search. Am I working with material that is usable?


John