New Developments in Filmmaking

Posted on 7/3/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



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, and

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

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.

Copyright © 2000 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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