321 NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN FILMMAKING
July 3, 2000
The following are two new developments in filmmaking that should be of interest to the
still photographer interested in story telling.
Corbis Documentaries is Launched
Corbis has announced a new division - Corbis Documentaries - that will operate as a
production company and develop innovative documentaries for markets in traditional
photojournalism, television, theatres, and the Internet.
The plan is to work with a small team of world-class photographers and filmmakers
and combine the ancient art of storytelling with state-of-the-art, digital multimedia
to create documentaries for television, theatres, and evolving Internet broadcast
Corbis Documentaries will be led by executive producer and managing director David
Turnley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and filmmaker. Turnley has captured
on film many of the most important events of the past two decades. He has published
five books, won the World Press Photo of the Year two times, and received the Pulitzer
Prize for his coverage of the revolutions in Eastern Europe and Tiananmen Square in
1989. Turnley's coverage of apartheid in South Africa and the war in Bosnia earned him
the prestigious Robert Capa Award. After completing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard,
Turnley produced his documentary The Dalai Lama: at Home in Exile, which was aired on
CNN and nominated for an Emmy. He has also shot and produced segments for ABC's
"Corbis Documentaries has a unique opportunity to bring together world-renowned
photojournalists and documentary filmmakers to tell powerful stories with strong
social perspectives," said Turnley. "We want to produce bold, dynamic films whose
images and narratives reflect the human experience and resonate for a worldwide
Working with small, digital video cameras and lean crews, Corbis Documentaries will
create a multi-dimensional body of work that can be leveraged through television
syndication, high-quality books of still photographs and text, interactive Web and
multimedia applications, and traveling exhibits to bring these stories to people
around the world.
"Corbis Documentaries will be crafted with the most streamlined and cost-efficient
production and post-production methods," said Steve Davis, president and CEO of
Corbis. "Given the increasing demand for programming due to the proliferation of cable
television and emerging Internet outlets, there is tremendous potential to leverage
these powerful documentaries across all media for worldwide audiences."
The new division will produce two feature-length documentary films this year,
including "La Tropicale," shot and produced by Turnley, and "Dream Keepers," shot and
produced by John Goheen, four-time NPPA Photographer of the Year and winner of 12
Emmys. Set to begin shooting in June, "La Tropicale" will provide a unique look at Cuban
culture through the prism of popular dance in Havana. "Dream Keepers" will provide a
compelling glimpse at the aspirations of four young Navaho runners and their lives on
a reservation in the American southwest.
Short Films For The Net
The Los Angeles Times reported that there is a startling resurgence in demand for short six
minute films to be used on the net.
Agents are looking for people who can produce such films. Hollywood moguls are
backing such projects with million-dollar investment. Students at USC, UCLA and other
film schools are being offered stock options for projects previously worth little more
than a few units of college credit.
Shorts are in demand because few people are willing to sit at their computer screens
for anything long. The demand is expected to continue and grow until high speed
access spreads and computers converge with television.
Web sites showing short films include Ifilm.com, Atomfilms.com and Nibblebox.com.
Ifilm doesn't pay for shorts, but they have received over 1,500 submissions in the
last year because filmmakers are happy just to find an audience.
Atomfilms has received more than 6,500 submissions over the past year and typically
pays between $500 and $2000 for works they acqurie. The filmaker also gets 300 shares
of still privately held company stock.
Nibblebox will help students with proposals or raw outlines. When they find a
proposal that interests them the author is loaned a camera and computer equipment, given
a production budget, and paired with a Hollywood mentor who will help on the project.
Co-CEO David Bartis says the company plans to have up to 50 ideas in development at
any given time.
Some entrepreneurs believe that even when feature length movies can be delivered over
the net, there will still be a growing demand for shorts as people look for
entertainment or information in their increasingly hectic days.
None of these sites is profitable and it is unclear how long they can sustain their
For more information about the rebirth of short films go to http://www.latimes.com.
Register (it's Free), go to the archives and search for "Short Film Reborn". The
article by Greg Miller was published on June 19, 2000.