Researching documentaries is huge work. I visit thousands of sites in researching a film, and there is a lot of good stuff out there. I picked a handful of some of my favorites that keep me informed on the stories that are not in the mainstream media, and sites that keep my creative juices flowing…
1. Sub-Media- “Good Morning Slaves!” There are few sites we crowd around at my house quite like Sub Media. We laugh, we cry, we get informed, we get angry, and we get organized. Sub Media videos are full of great interviews, timely coverage, and witty, right on analysis of the crazy world we live in. Sub Media is also the mastermind behind the END:CIV film, one of my favorite radical docs at the moment that “examines our culture’s addiction to systematic violence and environmental exploitation…” http://submedia.tv/endciv
2. Montreal Media Co-op (http://montreal.mediacoop.ca), Vancouver Media Co-op (http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca), and Toronto Media Co-op (http://toronto.mediacoop.ca). This is where the real independent news from the grassroots is happening. This is where I turn when I want to get the low down on what is happening in this country that we aren’t being told about. The co-ops haven’t been around for long but they are really making waves. Tune in for what’s going on in your city, get involved in creating the news, and support this amazing initiative to continue growing in a time when the information is often controlled by a very few corporate powers. In the same vein as the media co-op, I must mention The Dominion (http://www.dominionpaper.ca), the progressive grassroots national magazine with longer stories and diverse coverage and writers from across the country. A vital independent resource to documentary maker.
3. Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands (http://oilsandstruth.org) This was an invaluable resource while I was researching H2Oil. Great information and analysis, maps and other useful links in understanding the largest industrial project in human history – right in our backyard. There is so much research and NGOs to wade through, Oil Sands Truth cuts right to the chase…I’ve also listed more links to oil sands research and websites on http://h2oildoc.com
4. Indigenous Environmental Network - This site has great information, analysis, and resources grounded in indigenous perspectives on environmental and economic justice issues. IEN is a great network and resource for any political work being done in a North American context. www.ienearth.org
5. Cinema Politica - If you want to know what documentaries people are making that are tackling some of the most relevant issues of our time, go no further than Cinema Politica. The offerings of public screenings with debate across the country (and now the world) are really incredible. An absolutely vital resource in the documentary world. www.cinemapolitica.org
6. Walking Turcot Yards (http://neath.wordpress.com) - I really enjoy this blog and read it frequently when researching St-Henri, the 26th of August. There is a huge span of information that has been accumulated by Neath since the 1990s on the south west of Montreal. Through his blog roll, I stumbled on some other great resources about Montreal, such as the amazing Under Montreal documenting those who explore our urban underground (www.undermontreal.com) and The Turcot Mobilization (http://mobilisation-turcot.info/en/index.html) the community project fighting for a sustainable and healthy direction for the eventual demolition of the Turcot interchange.
7. NFB/ONF’s beta site. I know this has been mentioned before, but it deserves a second mention. I just can’t get enough of this site. It was here that I watched the original St-Henri film a bunch of times (Saint-Henri le 5 septembre), and also dug around to see some of the cinema-direct films from the 60s and 70s that I hadn’t seen yet. It’s totally an amazing resource for filmmakers and for the public. Run don’t walk if you have yet to see Quebec classics like Pour la suite du monde, La Lutte, Les aquetteurs, Golden Gloves, Rouli-Roulant… Or the great Challenge for Change films like The Ballad of Crowfoot, Encounter at Kwacha House, Cree Hunters of Mistassini, VTR St-Jacques… Or life-changing films like Rocks at Whisky Trench and Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance…There is so much great stuff… www.onf.ca
8. Kickstarter has become a site I wander around in, and check out what creative people all over the place are up to. There are some really great projects getting started here, and it’s amazing to have direct contact with the artists, filmmakers and writers themselves. In these tough times models like this help us think out of the box about how to make and distribute our own work. www.kickstarter.com
9. Hot Docs Library- I’m really into this new offering by Hot Docs to watch films online. To my delight I finally got to re-watch the amazing film by Allan Zweig, I, Curmudgeon and plan to spend lots more time here. www.hotdocslibrary.ca