Creative Nonfiction Reigns for Our Featured FIX Filmmakers

The Fandor FIX initiative

Meet our featured FIXers and learn about their creative approaches to a range of fascinating documentary subjects. 

Bertolt Brecht once famously said, “Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.” Our featured FIX filmmakers honor the spirit of this quote by employing the documentary form from unexpected angles. If you caught last week’s ICYMI post, you may already be familiar with some of them, but let’s “zoom in” on this group and take a closer look at their powerful work:

Joshua Oppenheimer

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Both an Academy Award nominee and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Oppenheimer has long been experimenting with representing large-scale, real-world issues from intimate positions and elegantly brief sketches. As a documentarian, he often incorporates and interrogates his own role as the works are made, from handing off his camera to Sumatran union workers or, in These Places We’ve Learned to Call Home, using a UFO abduction story as a means to infiltrate and profile extremist groups. Oppenheimer’s methods can be challenging, but this Keyframe article is a great introduction to the intricacies of his shorter works. We now have seven of his films in our library, including our current Featured Release The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase.  

Lyda Kuth

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Through executive positions at the LEF Foundation and Creative Capital as well as the documentary-focused Nadita Productions, Kuth is a true champion of the form, and may know better than most that a documentary often evolves quite dramatically over the course of filming as new truths are revealed. When she took up the camera for her directorial debut Love and Other Anxietiesher subject matter was likewise transformed from a macro-musing on love and marriage to a much more personally-focused piece on personal history and family ties. As Kuth said herself in an interview with Keyframe’s Eric Hynes, “We didn’t find the beginning until we got to the end.” It is a tender and touching effort that proves the accessibility and universality of the cinematic language.

Lori Petchers

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Working out from the intersections of art and identity, Petchers pursues unexpected subjects, using film to bring heightened visibility to their stories. For example, her short film Life Model, which Fandorian reviewer Joe P. calls “a gem of a short”, centers on a post-menopausal (and therefore oft-deemed “invisible” in our youth-obsessed culture) woman who owns her bodily confidence in a way that can inspire us all. For more of Petchers’ unique take on truth and beauty, don’t miss her artist profile (of sorts), Mezzanotte Obscurawhich is also available in the Fandor library.

Mark Rappaport

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If you’ve been paying attention to his coverage on Keyframe, you know that here at Fandor we are big fans of this contemporary video essayist’s work. By employing an arsenal of techniques like rear-projection and superimposition, and combining found footage with his own shots, Rappaport creates experimental, experiential documentaries that plumb the ways in which moving images make meaning. From Mozart to Anita Ekberg, Jean Seberg to Douglas Sirk and Rock Hudson to John Garfield, you’ll find a lot of familiar names and faces in the nearly twenty films we offer in our library, four of which, including the extremely recent Our Stars, were added just this week.

Mark Mamalakis

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This Chicago-based movie maker has a background in both experimental film and ethnography. This combination certainly served him well in the making of his documentary The Art of Haitia look at the intersections of art and culture filmed when Haiti was known more for its dynamic painting scene than the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Since completing that film, Mamalakis has worked for industry giants like Eastwood and Soderbergh as a location scout and manager and continued work on his personal projects. Keep an eye out for more documentaries from him in the near future!

Documentaries can transport us all over the world, but their true power lies in how they transport us inside the minds of others, catalyzing empathy and shifting perspectives. No matter which works from this week’s FIXers you queue, you are bound to learn something new about the business we call being human. Happy watching, and we’ll be back in a few weeks with another crop of fantastic featured filmmakers.

One thought on “Creative Nonfiction Reigns for Our Featured FIX Filmmakers

  1. Pingback: Crime Serials, Cult Favorites, Orson Welles and More! | Fandor blog

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