The Next Generation of Diverse Documentary Storytellers
The need for diversity in film and media is not new, but in recent years, calls to address this issue have intensified.The stories being told, and as important, the people telling them need to reflect the world we live in. NeXt Doc is on the leading edge of this movement, cultivating voices of young filmmakers from diverse backgrounds. The program brings together emerging documentary storytellers, ages 18-24 years old, from across the country with award-winning documentary filmmakers to learn, share, and build skills.
In May 2016, Youth FX and the Carey Institute for Global Good hosted the first ever NeXt Doc. Fourteen young documentary filmmakers from across the country converged at the Carey Institute's campus in Rensselaerville, NY for a four-day program of master classes and workshops. Presenting award-winning documentary filmmakers were Samuel D. Pollard (4 Little Girls, When The Levees Broke, Slavery By Another Name), Iva Radivojevic (Evaporating Borders) and Caitlin McNally (Director/Producer PBS Frontline). The program exceeded all expectations.
NeXt Doc aims to create space for filmmakers from communities that historically have not had access to film programs and development of documentary filmmaking skills. The program is accessible to all
filmmakers who are eligible to apply no matter their financial status. This is made possible by in-kind contributions from Youth FX and The Carey Institute for Global Good as well as other funders and partners.
NeXt Doc is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for young filmmakers: a week-long residential program that is an intensive experience, designed to bolster their capacity to succeed professionally and creatively at the beginning stage of their career. The curriculum is built around four core principles:
Professional and Skills Development
Through a series of master classes with professional filmmakers and hands-on workshops with Youth FX educators, students engage in topics ranging from concept development, filming and editing, to marketing and distribution.
The Carey Institute’s 100-acre campus surrounded by nature is an ideal setting for creative thought. The program includes daily outdoor excursions to boost creativity and time for self-reflection in an inspiring environment. This processes enhances master class discussions and informal exchanges.
Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Exchange
The opportunity to learn from and share ideas with fellow participants was a program highlight for 2016 NeXt Doc alumni. The process of sharing ideas and receiving critical feedback is a personal experience. Through scheduled screening sessions and informal exchanges, NeXt Doc challenges young filmmakers to talk about their work, give and receive critical feedback, learn from each other's experiences and brainstorm new ideas.
Equitable access to resources is a barrier to diversity in documentary filmmaking. Networking with others in the field and supporters of the documentary film is critical to securing resources. NeXt Doc connects young filmmakers to mentors and advisors already established in the field. These connections form the beginning of their professional network after NeXt Doc ends.
2016 Pilot & NeXt Doc 2017
The NeXt Doc Pilot in May 2016 was a one-of-a-kind experience. Working with Pollard, Radivojevic and McNally, as well as the NeXt Doc team, participants learned about and gain hands-on experience in creative narrative development, cinematography, editing, and interview skills. They also had the opportunity to screen and gain feedback on current work in their portfolios. Pollard and Radivojevic also hosted public film screenings and Q & A’s. Building upon the pilot's success, the NeXt Doc team will present NeXt Doc 2017 this coming June at the Carey Institute campus.
NeXt Doc 2016 Presenting Filmmakers
“One of the important things that I learned years ago was the importance of passing on knowledge. Any knowledge that I have, I feel a real responsibility to pass it on to young people. I think NeXt Doc is a great way to introduce them to the world of documentary filmmaking; to create a new army of young people to continue the tradition that I have been on for many, many years, and to take it to another level to make films that even challenge the ones I make.”
“A large part of documentary filmmaking is building relationships: relationships with images, relationships with protagonists, and collaborators... and that also includes circling back and sharing knowledge with the next generation of storytellers. I'm excited to share, in the same way others have shared with me in the past.”
Caitlin McNally is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. She was a 2016 Carey Institute for Global Good Non Fiction Resident, and a 2013-14 Investigative Reporting Program Fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has numerous years' experience working with PBS's flagship current affairs series, FRONTLINE, as well as other major US and international documentary outlets. Currently, she is a senior producer with National Geographic Studios.