‘Free Solo’ Team Reflects on Oscar Win as Documentaries Get More Competitive

Variety | 2/27/2019 | Matt Donnelly
Click For Photo: https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/elizabeth-chai-and-jimmy-chin-free-solo-1000.jpg?w=700&h=393&crop=1

On a bustling post-Oscar Monday, “Free Solo” co-directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin arrive for their photo shoot looking like they’ve barely taken a breath since climbing the stage at the Dolby Theatre the night before to accept the award for documentary feature.

The win for the filmmaking couple represents not only their technical triumph for capturing the wire-free climb of Alex Honnold up the sheer granite face of Yosemite’s El Capitan but also the serious feat of edging out stiff competition in a year of such quality contenders in the doc category.

Year - Connection - People - Vasarhelyi - Variety

“This year is about connection for most people,” Vasarhelyi tells Variety, sipping hot water and gazing at her two children, Marina, 5, and James, 3, who have tagged along with their parents to Hollywood’s Milk Studios.

“From ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ to ‘RBG’ to our film, these are communal experiences,” Vasarhelyi adds. “People are in a theater with people they don’t know, and they have this intense experience.”

People - Matter - National - Geographic - Release

Quite a few people, for that matter, considering that the low-budget National Geographic release is hovering near the $20 million mark at the domestic box office. It’s no secret that nonfiction films are in the midst of a renaissance, fetching mid-seven-figure acquisition prices at festivals and captivating audiences on numerous platforms.

“I think it’s got a lot to do with the streaming services,” says Vasarhelyi, acknowledging prolific buyer-producers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. She also credits increasingly sophisticated audiences, which are more prone to accept nonfiction as entertainment and are lured by the high level of talent being drawn to work in the space (like Jordan Peele and his Amazon project “Lorena,” which focuses on the story of Lorena and John Bobbitt).

Category - Citizenfour - NSA - Edward - Snowden

The category has been noticeably hotter since 2014’s “Citizenfour,” about NSA spy Edward Snowden, made international headlines as must-see watercooler fare....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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