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TIFF’s Documentary Programmer Thom Powers tries to explain the genre’s recent boom
In 2018 alone, three documentaries — Won’t You Be My Neighbor, RBG, and Three Identical Strangers — have exceeded $10 million at the domestic box office, a remarkable trend considering only 25 other documentaries have reached this milestone in the past 35 years. To find out what is leading to this sudden increase in the genre’s popularity, Rob and Geoff are joined by Thom Powers, a TIFF programmer and the host of the documentary-themed podcast Pure Nonfiction.
Powers discusses how “documentary” went from a dirty word to a financially viable genre, how Netflix helped expand the art form, and the technological innovations that have changed the genre for the better.
He then goes through some of the more anticipated documentary titles coming to TIFF next month, including Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, Werner Herzog’s Meeting Gorbachev, Alexis Bloom’s Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, John Chester’s The Biggest Little Farm, E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo, and Errol Morris’ American Dharma.
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