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LA Weekly: DocuWeeks and Oscar Docs Qualifying Race

LA Weekly: DocuWeeks and Oscar Docs Qualifying Race

Karina Longworth at LA Weekly analyzes the International Documentary Association’s DocuWeeks festival, a LA/NYC-based festival of documentaries that qualifies films for an Oscar nomination. Longworth analyzes the (archaic?) rules for feature docs qualifying for the Oscars, noting about DocuWeeks, “This bureaucratic clearance doesn’t come cheap: The films selected by IDA for the lineup pay to play. IDA charges up to $20,000 per film, depending on the running time and format; in an additional pricey convolution, they mandate that selected films be converted to a film print or Digital Cinema Package (DCP), adding thousands of dollars for most filmmakers. Despite the costs, there’s more than enough demand for IDA’s service to keep up with supply: This year’s 17 features represent less than 15 percent of the films submitted.” There’s some good to say about the IDA, but her conclusion is in line with the piece’s closing words from director AJ Schnack, “The process set up by the Academy is a challenging one at best…DocuWeeks is probably the best option within a fairly broken system.”

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