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Latest Podcast Episodes

Winning an Oscar for Your Documentary Film

Imagine stepping up to the podium to accept your award for Best Documentary Feature for the film that you have put your heart, soul, blood sweat tears into. What would you say? Who would thank? Where would you even start?Well, Steven Bognar, of this year’s American Factory knows precisely what this feels like. And he…

Cinematography in Documentary Film

In the past, documentary cinematography has been in the shadow of narrative feature’s, overlooked because of certain, perhaps unfair assumptions about the craft. Well, that is no longer the case since the American Society of Cinematographers, as of this year, has an award for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Filmmaking. And cinematographers, Fejmi Daut and Samir…

Reality Television and the Documentary Filmmaker

It wasn’t that long ago when reality television was a dirty word that incited some pretty strong feelings among the documentary filmmaking crowd. However, non fiction television has come a long way in the past few years. Of course, don’t take my word for it. Take it from fellow documentary filmmaker, Joe Litzinger, who is…

Documentary Filmmaking During a Pandemic

Documentary filmmaking during this time of a pandemic is something that so many of us doc filmmakers are contemplating. Or doing. Or not doing. Today’s episode is filled with both a discussion on the ethics of documentary production during this time as well as best practices & safety protocol for those of us who are…

Race in the Documentary Filmmaking Community

Questions of race and who has the right to tell another person’s or culture’s or race’s stories have recently been at the forefront of the documentary community’s collective consciousness. More than that, it’s been the subject of recent debate and discussion, whether in industry-led panels, major publications, or social media. Documentary filmmaker and TDL host,…

The Online Film Festival for the Documentary Filmmaker

Lyndon Stone is the founder and festival director of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Melody Gilbert is a documentary filmmaker well acquainted with the world of film festivals. In light of Covid events, both the festival director and filmmaker, have had to pivot their approaches to documentary film festivals. This is the kind of discussion we…

Spirituality in Documentary Filmmaking with Mickey Lemle

Mickey Lemle has made documentary films about some of the most brilliant individuals in the modern world. From His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Ram Dass to Sir Laurens van der Post, Lemle has been rubbing shoulders with great minds who all have very spiritual & compassionate ways of living. Lemle has had the…

Personal Trauma in Documentary Film with Sasha Joseph Neulinger

Sasha Joseph Neulinger endured some of the most traumatic events a child can experience. He is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And he has now turned those events into one of 2020’s more extraordinary documentary films, Rewind. Neulinger sits down with TDL to discuss his journey making Rewind and to offer some insight into…

Doc Filmmaking in the Mountains with Eric Becker

Eric Becker has been taking on extreme challenges since he can remember. If it’s not racing bikes it’s climbing mountains. If it’s not climbing mountains, it’s making doc films about people climbing mountains. Tune into this week’s episode where we celebrate International Everest Day by welcoming doc filmmaker and mountaineer, Eric Becker on to TDL!…

Latest Blog Articles

How We’re Showing Up For Our Community in 2020

By Chris G Parkhurst

The end of each year is a perfect time to reflect on what is going right and what could be going better in your life, your career and with your documentary filmmaking goals. It is often around this time – late November and until the end of the year – that we begin to process…

#Doclifer Stories – Matthew Ritenour

By DoclIfer Stories

#1. – How and why did you first get interested in documentary filmmaking? I grew up shooting skateboarding videos and local punk shows in the Florida Panhandle. I had this Sony DV Handicam and I would do most of my edits in camera straight onto the tape. Looking back on it now, I think I…

#Doclifer Stories – Maricla Pannocchia

By DoclIfer Stories

#1. – How and why did you first get interested in documentary filmmaking? I started in the spring of 2018, out of necessity. I’m Italian and I’m the founder and chairman of an Italian charity called Adolescenti e cancro (Teens and Cancer) and I felt the need to share with the world the inspiring story…

Margaret Mead Film Festival

By Stephanie Vincenti

  American Museum of Natural History, New York October 17-20, 2019   About the Festival The American Museum of Natural History’s, Margaret Mead Film Festival, features documentary films, shorts, and other media that increase our understanding of the complexity and diversity of peoples and cultures around the world. Inspired by anthropologist Margaret Mead’s groundbreaking use…

5 Tips for Making the Personal Documentary

By Chris G Parkhurst

Often times as documentary filmmakers, we will choose topics that are near and dear to our hearts, we have quite personal connections to these topics.  So it’s only natural we choose to be a central part of our films and make what is known as the ‘personal documentary’. While some of the more powerful stories in…

5 Best Practices for Making Film Extras

By Chris G Parkhurst

When making film extras, you should be thinking of the five things we have listed here as you make your film.  Remember, you are an independent filmmaker, and because of that you are going to be responsible for selling yourself and your film.  Think of ways to be procuring extras as you are making your…

What You Need To Know About Your Fiscal Sponsor

By Chris G Parkhurst

Finding your fiscal sponsors for your documentary film is an important endeavor if you are looking to offer your donors a tax-deductible donation and obtain grant funding. There are so many criteria to consider when deciding which fiscal sponsor best fits you. After all, there can be many other perks and advantages to your fiscal…

5 Tips for Producing Your Docuseries

By Chris G Parkhurst

Producing your docuseries is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. It’s a journey that not all filmmakers want to take but it’s a great way to expand your documentary idea into long-form. Here are some tips on how to produce your own docuseries. Enjoy the ride!   5 Tips for Producing Your Docuseries   1. Killer…

Tips To Successfully Crowdfund Your Documentary Film

By Chris G Parkhurst

Crowdfunding is one of the best ways to start fundraising for your documentary. It has become a favorite way of doc filmmakers in raising funds that will either make or break their documentary films. We’re offering you some advice in order to make it easier for you to successfully crowdfund your doc film.   Clear…

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We created The Documentary Life for you, #Doclifer, because after almost 30 years of commercial, narrative feature film and documentary work, we want to help and support other filmmakers just like you in making the documentary films that you want (and need) to make.

We lead documentary lives and our goal is to help other filmmakers lead theirs through our podcast and Academy.