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Navigating Archival Sources
Archival films are no longer relegated to the dusty stacks of boring educational documentaries. In recent years, documentary films such as Amy, OJ: Made in America, and current awards darling Fire of Love, that utilize archival footage as their primary sources have had great commercial and critical success. Additionally, now we are living in a world with ever increasing amounts of media, including moving and still images, produced by individuals and institutions. With this uptick, filmmakers sometimes feel pressure to include archival materials in their projects, but don’t know how to do so thoughtfully, or even where to begin.

Many directors underestimate the importance of well-researched and organized archival materials, oftentimes leaving a mess to be sorted out frantically at the final stages of the film. Knowing the ins and outs of archival material can not only vastly improve your project’s impact and your team’s efficiency, but also save time and money in the end. Habits such as reusing archival sequences from other films during the edit might seem like a shortcut but also limit the creative potential of your project. While the process of researching and licensing can seem daunting and opaque, understanding your goals and determining your intended audience from the outset will create a path towards what source material you want, what people you reach out to in the research process, and what rights to license and how much you need to budget for it.

In this 90-minute workshop, Gabriella Ortega Ricketts, IDA’s Manager of Artist Programs and working archival producer (The Andy Warhol Diaries [2022], Aum: The Cult at the End of the World [2023]), will walk filmmakers through the process of handling archival materials from research to organization and licensing. But most importantly, we will explore how incorporating archival methods throughout the film’s entire lifecycle will bolster the strength of your story.

Feb 23, 2023 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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