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The evolution of documentary filmmaking

by Danny Porter.

In 2003, Jason, Bobby, and Laren landed in the heart of Africa with second-hand cameras on their shoulders, itching for a story to tell. Now, ten years later, Invisible Children has created nearly a dozen documentaries and has reached well over 100 million people through its media.

There are countless factors in the success of Invisible Children, but it’s safe to say that this type of phenomenon probably wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago. In today’s tech-conscious culture, do-it-yourself filmmaking is on the rise, and documentaries are playing a vital role in the revolution.

In the late 1980s and early 90’s, when documentary filmmaking really began to take a foothold in culture, it was extremely difficult to get a project funded, and even harder to get the final product to the silver screen. Documentaries had a stigma of academia and dryness, and because of that, they were extremely hard to market. But with the explosion of the internet over the last decade, that stigma is quickly evaporating.

In 1991, IMDB showed a listing of 1,860 documentary titles, compared to 2011 when that number increased dramatically to 16,886. DIY documentaries have replaced the once traditional newspaper series, in which a journalist would focus on one story or social issue for several days. While this type of journalism is still prevalent online, it’s rarely seen in print anymore.

Read the rest of this article from Invisible Children.

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