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Posts from the Writing Category

I’ve got a new review of Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nick de Pencier’s new documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch over at PopMatters. It’s the third film in a trilogy that includes Manufactured Landscapes (2006) and Watermark (2013).

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new article over at New Politics magazine, the title of which is “The Unbearable Centrism of Mainstream Documentaries”. In it, I write about about how Former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s multi-year production deal with Netflix could be understood as the culmination of a worrisome turn in contemporary documentary.

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new interview with Rodney Ascher, director of the documentaries Room 237 and The Nightmare, over at Nonfics. Rodney is one of my very favorite filmmakers, and it was both an honor and a pleasure to get to speak to him at some length.

His most recent project, Primal Screen, debuted on the horror-themed streaming service Shudder last year. The short, which “asks real people to look back at pop-culture artifacts that traumatized them in their youth and describe the effect they had on their lives,” can currently be streamed for free and without a login at the site.

I recommend you take a look at this underpraised little gem, and then check out our conversation here.

I’ve got a new article, my first for PopMatters, at their website. The title is “In Defense of Errol Morris’s Standard Operating Procedure. In it, I use the occasion of the film’s tenth anniversary to write about the great director’s oft-misunderstood masterpiece, which centers around the photos that emerged from Abu Ghraib prison.

You can read the whole thing here.

[UPDATE, 5/22/2018: I’m completely amazed to report that Errol Morris himself recently retweeted this piece. See below.]

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I’ve got a new article, my first for the venerable New Politics magazine, at their website. The title is “The ‘Inescapable Need and Possibility’ of Third Cinema”. In it, I talk about the radical, global filmmaking movement known as “Third Cinema”; its adherents in the United States; and what might be learned from their work at this particular moment in time. If you’re actively thinking about film as a form of cultural resistance, you might just be interested in this.

You can read the whole thing here.

As a contributor to Nonfics, I participated in their year-end poll. The results are in, and you can check them out right here.

Individual ballots aren’t included, and I won’t share mine. However, I will say that documentary fans should make it a point to see Karl Marx City, The Work, and Starless Dreams. The 2017 docs that you’ve heard about are very fine indeed, but it was this year’s comparatively less ballyhooed titles that really stayed with me.

I’ve got an interview with Laura Dunn, director of the new documentary Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, over at Nonfics. Laura’s first theatrically released feature, 2007’s The Unforeseen, not only boasted Robert Redford and Terrence Malick as executive producers but also garnered rhapsodic reviews, an Independent Spirit Award and television distribution on both PBS and the Sundance Channel. Special screenings of Look & See are currently taking place around the country, and it’s now available on Netflix U.S. as well.

Take a look at out our conversation here.

I’ve got a new article, my first for Culture Matters, up now at their website. It’s my political reading of Christopher Nolan’s critically-acclaimed new film Dunkirk. In the piece, entitled Dunkirk: Keep Calm and Carry On?”, I discuss the moral obligations of the artist, the World War II combat genre, and the potential for a “truly radical flowering” of progressive film culture.

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new article, my first for the genre magazine Diabolique, up now at their website. Entitled “‘Just Wait’: On the 35th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)”, it argues that the classic 1980s horror film is “the best exemplar of a hugely influential director’s gifts.”

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got a new article, my first for Bright Lights Film Journal, at their website. It is entitled “The Problem of Access: Weiner (2016) and the Limitations of the Fly-on-the-Wall Documentary”. In it, I observe that “the response to Weiner shows us (yet again) that the greater the access to a subject, the more likely a documentary is to be lavishly praised…no matter how questionable its politics.”

You can read the whole thing here.

I’ve got an interview with Thom Powers over at Nonfics. Thom, who has been called a “kingmaker for documentaries” by the New York Times, is host of the podcast Pure Nonfiction, documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Artistic Director of both the Stranger Than Fiction screening series and the documentary film festival DOC NYC, co-founder of both the Cinema Eye Honors and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant, curator of documentaries for Sundance Now, and the host of WNYC’s “Documentary of the Week” program.

Check out our conversation here.