Six Years and Counting: Reflections on the Hyperlocal Documentary” with David Vaisbord

“Six Years and Counting: Reflections on the Hyperlocal Documentary” with David Vaisbord

Where:  Pull Focus Film School (306 Abbott St, Vancouver)
When: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 – 7:00 PM
Tickets: DOC BC Members: Free, Non-Members: $15.00, Students: $10.00 (with valid ID)

Is the next great story happening within walking distance from your home?

David Vaisbord wants to re-ignite your passion for the profession of documentary filmmaking. On the heels of a successful crowd funding campaign for The Little Mountain Film earlier this year, Vaisbord brings us a reflexive look at the last six years of a filmmaking experiment he named THE HYPERLOCAL DOCUMENTARY.

Following a successful career that resulted in several successful feature docs, Vaisbord wrote the “6 Block Documentary Manifesto”, and launched the Little Mountain Project. Through many creative twists and turns, including building an award winning social media site, Vaisbord used the project to spearhead an activist media campaign, which revoked the government’s right to evict tenants from the prominent social housing project. Next year the POV doc will be complete and in 2016 it will morph into a one-man show at a prominent Vancouver art gallery.

You may think you have to search far and wide for your subjects, when the greatest story could be coming from your neighbour or local area. Who is going to tell that story? This presentation will excite and engage attendees in a wide-ranging discussion on how to create a hyperlocal documentary from challenges to successes.

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David Vaisbord

As a neighbour with a number of award-winning documentaries under his belt, David joined his community and housing activists in 2008 to document events and fight the evictions. His work became The Little Mountain Project (, an activist media website that has disseminated essential media to the community from 2010 to the present date, and served as a lightening rod at crisis points in the conflict.

David Vaisbord’s film career has included documentaries such as Mischa 1996 (Canada Council/NFB/CBC), Juicy Danger Meets Burning Man 1998 (CTV/TVO/BRAVO!), Britannia Beach 2002 (CTV,TVO, CBC) Drawing Out the Demons: A Film About the Artist, Attila Richard Lukacs 2004 (BRAVO!/TVO), Dark Pines: An Investigation into the Death of Tom Thomson 2006 (BRAVO!) and work in series TV.

In 2008 Vaisbord launched the Little Mountain Project which won the 2012 Farris Award for Art and Social Media.  His Masters thesis on social media and activism was published in POV Magazine the same year.  This web project has evolved into The Little Mountain Film!  Vaisbord is a board member of the Documentary Organization of Canada.

DOC Partners with Indiegogo

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DOC and Indiegogo expand financing options for Canadian doc makers with new partnership

The Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) and Indiegogo are pleased to announce a new strategic partnership that will allow independent Canadian documentary makers to save money when embarking on crowdfunding campaigns for their projects.

This partnership comes at a time in the industry when doc makers are increasingly turning to alternate funding routes, such as crowdfunding, to finance their projects.

DOC is delighted to be able to deliver this service exclusively to its members while increasing its capability of serving the documentary community in Canada. Through DOC and Indiegogo’s partnership, documentary makers will save 25% on the crowdfunding platform’s administration fees by launching via DOC’s Partner Page.

As revealed in DOC’s recently published research paper, Growing the Pie – Alternative Financing and Canadian Documentary, crowdfunding has gained great traction with documentarians; in fact, a growing number are turning toward crowdfunding as part of their project financing strategy. Beyond acting as a funding mechanism outside of the traditional model, crowdfunding also allows filmmakers to build and engage with their audience right from the moment of a project’s inception.

From emerging filmmakers to veteran producers, a look at DOC’s Partner Page on the Indiegogo site shows how much DOC members have already embraced this innovative crowdfunding service.

Past Indiegogo-funded films include titles by DOC members such as Liz Marshall’s multi-award winningGhosts in Our Machine, and Velcrow Ripper’s community-driven Occupy Love. Currently, David Vaisbord’s Little Mountain Film is one of the live campaigns along with Andrew Nisker’s Dark Side of the Chew. These projects will soon be joined by Elisa Paloshi’s campaign to finance post-production forDriving with Selvi and Galen Brown’s completion funding campaign for The Forgotten Salmon.

“We’re really excited for this partnership with DOC. We believe in driving filmmakers to do good work in their communities and we want to support Canadian filmmakers’ efforts in a climate where broadcasting partnerships and government grant money is in short supply and high demand,” says Ayah Norris, a successful crowdfunding filmmaker and Indiegogo’s Marketing and Community Manager in Canada. “For over six years, filmmakers from across Canada have come to Indiegogo to raise awareness, build community, and engage audiences for an inspiring array of stories. We look forward to working closely with DOC members to bring more audience-driven films to the world.”

“Crowdfunding is the new kid on the financing block!”, says Lisa Fitzgibbons, Executive Director of DOC. “Filmmakers value the opportunity to be in direct contact with their audiences at every stage of production. The audience that comes to a project via a crowdfunding campaign can be an invaluable creative collaborator to the project and that interaction can be immensely gratifying to a filmmaker. These days, the dialogue with the audience starts at the very beginning of a project, not just once it is done!”

Growing the Pie


The full report can be downloaded here
A shorter handout can be downloaded here


Entrepreneurial, resourceful, tenacious and innovative – just a few of the qualities demonstrated by Canadian documentary makers who are finding alternative means of financing their projects. This is what lies at the heart of DOC’s latest research paper, Growing the Pie – Alternative Financing and Canadian Documentary.

Spurred by the calls of documentary filmmakers bemoaning that the traditional funding model for one-off and feature documentaries in Canada is “broken”, DOC undertook to find what other means producers are employing to finance their films.

Growing the Pie seeks to identify and define various means of alternative financing available to documentary producers; highlights the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches and investigates other jurisdictions and sectors to seek out additional funding alternatives.

The paper finds that some producers are turning to crowdfunding, equity investment, international co-productions, corporate branding and third sector investment (NGOs and foundations) to secure financing. Although not necessarily “alternative” – except maybe for crowdfunding – these approaches are decidedly not traditional.

Crowdfunding has evolved from a fringe activity spurred by social networking into a robust industry, one that has generated great traction in the documentary sector. In 2012, $1.6B was raised in North America across all industries through crowdfunding.

In the United States, foundations are a major source of mission-related documentary financing. Between 2009-2011, American foundations awarded $1.86B in media-related grants. Although there are forward-looking foundations in Canada, overall, their support of media-based projects remains sparse.

Based on an industry survey, literature review, consultations and producer interviews, the paper features five case studies. The conclusion: while innovative practices help bridge budget gaps, and the resulting new partnerships can add value beyond a monetary one, the dollar value remains too modest to replace the lynchpin in the current Canadian funding model – the broadcaster licence.

Faced with having to reconcile new alternative approaches with the traditional financing structures producers report encountering barriers at every step—legal, administrative and regulatory.

Approaches in other jurisdictions such as the U.S., the UK or Australia point to possible solutions of keeping up with an evolving market, but only if greater flexibility is built into our financing system.

Which is why, with the paper’s publication, DOC calls on industry stakeholders to engage in a conversation aimed at finding ways for our film and television sector to keep ahead of market changes.

Pepita Ferrari, Chair of DOC says: “This report shines the light on numerous possibilities that, if adapted to the Canadian context, would propel innovation and economic activity in a vibrant sector. Furthermore, as the report attests, the challenges faced by Canadian documentary-makers are common among other cultural industries, therefore the need to put our collective creative heads together is a matter of interest to many stakeholders in the cultural milieu.”

Written by consultant Tracey Friesen with case studies provided by Susan Brinton also acting as an advisor on the project, Growing the Pie – Alternative Financing and Canadian Documentary will be released at the Doc Summit on May 2, during the industry conference at the Hot Docs film festival. The research received financial support from the Ontario Media Development Corporation and Telefilm Canada.

Only TWO DAYS Until DOC BC/DOXA Filmmaker Reception Party – May 7th

DOC BC DAY at DOXA – May 7th, 2014

DOXA Filmmaker Reception Party Party: 8:30pm – 11:30pm Location: Clough Club – 212 Abbott St Open to all DOC BC Members and DOXA Filmmakers Come down and meet the DOXA Filmakers and your fellow DOC BC Members. This is a chance to get to know your community and celebrate the success of your peers. The party will run from 8:30 till 11:30 at the Clough Club in Gastown. We’ll provide some drink tickets and some appetizers – you provide the fun!

Hope to see all of our members out on Wednesday night!

What are you going to see at DOXA?

It’s the day documentary filmmakers and fanatics have been waiting for since last year: The start of DOXA Documentary Film Festival less than 24 hours away.

I’m sure by now most of you have picked up a DOXA program book, or browsed the list of films online, and of course all of you are going to go support DOC Members with films in the festival. But what else are you going to see? After all, with over a week’s worth of films it might be overwhelming to choose just a few.

Lucky for you, one of our lovely DOC BC Members and former DOXA jury member, Michelle Bjornson, has put together a list of ten must-see documentaries.

Bloody Beans — Winner of the Best Documentary Film Award 2013 Copenhagen International Documentary
Film Festival

Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 9:15pm VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

 “The Algerian War of Independence, as told through a gang of street kids, is the basic gist of Narimane Mari’s debut film, but that description simply doesn’t do it justice. Phantasmagorical, magic, and occasionally a little bit cuckoo, this is documentary filmmaking that takes serious risks.”

Return to Homs — Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Sunday, May 4, 2014 – 9:00pm – The Cinematheque

“A remarkable portrait of a country at war, Talal Derki’s film was made over the course of two years (from August 2011 to August 2013). During this period, we watch a group of young men transform from ordinary citizens into revolutionary fighters. In the city of Homs, the fighting has been brutal, even by Syrian standards. The place has been transformed into little more than a bombed out husk.”

The Circle —Winner of the Teddy and Audience Awards at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival,

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 6:30pm – The Cinematheque
“Stefan Haupt’s lovely docu-drama blends sumptuous recreations with real-life interviews with the actual participants in this story about the first gay rights organization in Switzerland.”


Song from the Forest —Winner VPRO Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, 2013 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 11:00am –  VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

“While listening to the radio one night in Amsterdam, Louis Sarno heard a recording of some strange singing. The moment changed his life. He bought a one-way ticket to the Central African Republic and set about finding the Bayaka people, the creators of the mysterious music, and one of the last communities of huntergatherers on Earth. As befits a film about a musician, the film is an aural tapestry of sound.“

Pipeline —Winner, Karlovy Vary IFF 2013 (Best Documentary Film); MDR Prize (Excellent Eastern European Documentary) 2013 Dok Leipzig.

Sunday, May 11, 2014 – 1:00pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
“Expansive, in the largest sense of the word, Vitalij Manskij’s epic film stretches across the world’s largest country, following the route of the eponymous gas pipeline that delivers gas from Siberia to Europe. Despite the distance travelled, there is a sense that some strange inertia grips the people depicted.”

Powerless—This special screening of Powerless was chosen by our guest curator and essayist Charles Montgomery.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – 8:45pm – The Cinematheque“In Kanpur, India, in the brutal summer heat, when the power goes off, life gets very harsh for the city’s three million inhabitants.”

Nostalgia for the Light—This special screening of Patricio Guzmán’s extraordinary film was chosen by our guest curator Rebecca Solnit.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 – 7:15pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre

“The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest places on the entire planet. The Atacama was also the site of a concentration camp established by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, where thousands of people “disappeared.”

Fly Colt Fly: Legend of the Barefoot Bandit

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 12:30pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 9:00pm –  The Cinematheque

“The Gray Brothers have fashioned an adrenaline-fueled caper epic, chock-a-block with animated car chases, boat chases, and even plane chases. Colton’s story serves as an interesting example of the intersection between different forms of mediated reality, be it conventional journalism, online culture, and even documentary film itself.”

Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment

Friday, May 9, 2014 – 4:15pm – VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
If you would like to sum up the entire ethos of DOXA this year, you need look no further than Wolf Koenig’s interview in Peter Wintonick’s masterwork, Cinéma Vérité. Says Koenig: “All documentary is theatre. It’s all manufactured. Every cut is a lie. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell truth.” DOXA is extremely honoured and proud to offer this special presentation, in collaboration with the Vancouver International Film Festival, in tribute to Peter Wintonick, who passed away earlier this year.

Shameless Propaganda

Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 7:00pm – The Cinematheque
An interesting companion to Peter Wintonick’s Cinéma Vérité, Robert Lower’s investigation into the roots of the National Film Board of Canada provides a revelatory look at this most august of institutions.  On the anniversary of the 75th year of the National Film Board of Canada, DOXA is exceptionally proud to present the world premiere of Shameless Propaganda

Have your own suggestions for what to see at DOXA this year? Post them on our facebook wall, or tweet at us.  And don’t forget to come out to DOC BC Day at DOXA to meet DOXA filmmakers and mingle with DOC Members. 

National Canadian Film Day

From the National Candian Film day website:

April 29 is National Canadian Film Day, a day to throw off the shackles of fear and insecurity, stand together with Canadians from coast to coast and pat ourselves on the back for something other than various ice-related sports and sports-related doughnut shops. (Not that we don’t love ice-related sports and doughnuts.) It’s a light-hearted intervention for our national consciousness, a wake-up call to anyone who has not yet been exposed to the great cinematic stories we tell one another in this cold, vast country.

It is a way to get over ourselves and have some FUN!

Here’s a complete list of all events across BC, but because we love documentaries we want you (especially) to go see these:

Neurons to Nirvana – Directed by: Oliver Hockenhull

Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists
and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, this fascinating doc explores the history of five powerful psychedelic substances and their now-established medicinal potential.

Venue Details
Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour St
Vancouver, BC V6B 2E8
Hosted By
Vancouver International Film Festival

Reaching Blue – Directed by: Ian Hinkle

With imagery from fifteen cinematographers, Reaching Blue explores the Salish Sea to expose the changes our coastal waters face, and connect to our world’s oceans. Do we have the knowledge and technology required to understand ocean change before time runs out?

Venue Details
Cinematheque Theatre
1131 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2L7
Hosted By
Ocean Networks Canada

We Are Here – Directed by: Francine Zuckerman

A poignant cinematic look at the attempt to revive Jewish life in Poland since the Holocaust, this documentary details the difficulty of constructing a new Polish-Jewish identity.

Venue Details
Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour St
Vancouver, BC V6B 2E8
Hosted By
Vancouver International Film Festival

Watermark – Directed by: Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky 

This beautifully shot documentary is the second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes from this award-winning team. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use.

Venue Details
Whistler Public Library
329 Main Street
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4
Hosted By
Whistler Film Festival
Additional Details
  • Free Screening

Call For Entries – DOC BC Summer Salon Screening Series

DOC BC wants to screen YOUR film at our annual Summer Salon!
Send us links to your documentary shorts or a segment from your feature doc and be part of our yearly showcase. We will show as many locally produced projects as possible and also provide an opportunity for feedback and networking within our vibrant filmmaking community.Please email your links (and any necessary passwords) by June 1st at Films should not exceed 15 minutes in length.

We’re looking forward to celebrating your creations, and of course friends & family are welcome to attend. See you at the Salon!

Festival Concierge – A New Membership Service



DOC is pleased to announce the official launch of Festival Concierge, an innovative new membership service!

Festival Concierge is an exciting initiative that responds to the needs doc makers have to disseminate their work, get their projects into the right festivals and in front of the right audiences, while increasing their market reach.

What the service offers:

– Aggregate submission to festivals
– Custom-designed festival strategy with one-on-one consultation

Aggregate Festival Submissions – Free for DOC Members!

Throughout the year, Festival Concierge will issue calls for submission to DOC members for selected festivals. Members will be able to send their projects to DOC to be included in an aggregate submission package designed to meet the programming objectives of those festivals.

Festival Concierge will:

  • Ease members’ festival submission workload
  • Forge alliances with domestic and international festivals on members’ behalf
  • Strengthen the Canadian documentary brand abroad by becoming a go-to resource for festival programmers

Therefore, we need to know what productions are on the horizon to plan ahead. Tell us about your projects!

Here’s what we need to know from you:

  • What project(s) are you working on? Please include a short synopsis!
  • Is it in development, production or post-production?
  • When do you anticipate having a final cut suitable for festival submission?
  • What genre is it (e.g. environmental, socio-political, human interest, experimental, etc.)?
  • What length and format is it in?
  • Do you have a distributor on board?
  • Who is the key contact?

Submit project information to the Communications and Member Services Coordinator Adèle Charlebois by e-mail at Please include all information contained in one Word or pdf document.

All information you share with Festival Concierge staff will remain confidential.

Custom-designed Strategy and Consultation Services

This summer, Festival Concierge will offer consultation services to documentary makers to build a festival strategy and exploit festivals and markets to the benefit of individual productions.

This additional fee-for-service will match doc makers with programming consultants that will map out a festival strategy tailored to their project for the purpose of:

  • Developing an action plan to make sure projects are submitted to the appropriate festivals
  • Maximizing a film’s reach and presence once it is accepted
  • Boosting a project’s visibility at selected festivals in Canada and abroad

Championing Canadian documentary is at the heart of DOC’s mandate; showcasing and celebrating the extraordinary and innovative work being produced here will solidify Canada’s position as a leader in the documentary craft on the world scene.

Festival Concierge is DOC’s way of making sure its members’ work finds its audience, while raising the profile of Canadian documentary the world over.

For any questions, please contact Adèle by e-mail or by phone at 416.599.3844 x2 | 1 877 467.4485 x2.


DOC BC Members Nominated for Golden Sheaf Awards

Delighted to see some familiar names in the list of nominees for the Golden Sheaf Awards at Yorkton Film Festival


Members nominated include:

Eva Wunderman:

Once Were Enemies:  Producer(s) Eva Wunderman , Patti Poskitt ; Director(s) Eva Wunderman ; Production Company Wunderman Film

Erica Landrock:

Working People: A History of Labour in British Columbia:  Producer(s) Erica Landrock ; Director(s) Michael Proudfoot , Gordon McLennan ; Production Company Landrock Entertainment Inc. / Working People Productions Inc.

Charles Wilkinson:

Oil Sands Karaoke:  Producer(s) Charles Wilkinson , Tina Schliessler , Kevin Eastwood (Executive) , Murray Battle (Executive) ; Director(s) Charles Wilkinson ; Production Company Shore Films


See the rest of the nominees HERE

DOC BC Members at Hot Docs 2014

Hot Docs has announced their full festival lineup and we were delighted to see some DOC BC names among the list of finalists. 

Congratulations to the following DOC BC Members on your amazing accomplishment!

The Backward Class
DOC BC Member:  Madeleine Grant, Dir/Prod/Writer
| 2014 | 91 min | World Premiere
Intent on breaking out of the cycle of poverty, the Dalit students of Shanti Bhavan school in India prepare to make history by becoming the first from their “untouchable” caste to take high-school graduation exams.

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story
DOC BC Member: Melanie Wood, Exec Producer
Director: Grant Baldwin | 2014 | 75 min | World Premiere
If our culture is so food obsessed, why do we toss away nearly 50 per cent of it? Two filmmakers quit
grocery shopping, surviving on discarded food as they explore consumable waste from farm to fridge.

Love Translated
DOC BC Member: Julia Ivanova
84 min | 2010 | Toronto Premiere
Reserving judgment and providing rare insight into modern-day matchmaking, Julia Ivanova follows 10 men with different backgrounds and intentions as they embark on a 10-day tour of Ukraine, mixing sightseeing and social events geared to meeting single, young Ukrainian women.