Exclusive interviews from the NEW Documentary Filmmakers Handbook

In these interviews, drawn from the new Documentary Filmmakers Handbook to be released in early 2012, doc film makers share their insights, experiences, successes and failures.


We hope that these case studies will give you insight for your strategy, courage for your journey and maybe, give you a little nudge and smile to remind you to not let it get to you.



Simon Dickson, deputy head of documentaries, Channel 4

Q – How would you define British documentaries in terms of the rest of the world?


Simon – It’s very passionate. It’s very socially and politically minded. It’s popular. It’s well made. It’s commercial. It’s amongst the very best. It’s a tremendous privilege to be working in commissioning in this country. Brits programs abroad are doing really well, too. Just look at Undercover Boss achieving the sorts of success that it did. The fascination of a well-honed format has not gone away and the commercial and creative possibilities for programs are encouraging. We have continued to do well in the feature documentary world as well.


Josh Fox on 'Gasland' and his Oscar nomination

Q – How did you get the idea for Gasland?

Josh – My father got a proposal in the mail to drill for natural gas on my family home in Pennsylvania. They wanted to use this new technique called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Halliburton invented this technique, which involves pumping water and toxic chemicals into the ground at extremely high pressures to fracture rock formations, which hold natural gas. It’s an extreme measure for gas development. Previously, you would drill down until you hit a pocket of gas and capture it as it rises. With fracking they pulverize the rocks with the pressure of a cluster bomb. I didn’t know any of this stuff when I started...