By Ray Pride

Poitras-Schnack-Cook “Field Of Vision” Series Launches First Weekly Mini-Docs

 Co-creators Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook are proud to announce their launch today of Field of Vision, a new, filmmaker-driven documentary unit that will commission and create forty to fifty original episodic and individual short-form nonfiction films each year, pairing filmmakers with developing and ongoing stories around the globe. The program of commissioned short-form documentaries was previewed to great enthusiasm on Sunday night as the opening night of the New York Film Festival’s Spotlight on Documentaries.
Premiering on The Intercept today are the first two films of Field Of Vision‘s first season.
Notes from the Border (9m)
Directed by Iva Radivojevic
A document of the refugee experience on the borders of Europe during the summer of 2015.
God is an Artist (10m)
Directed by Dustin Guy Defa
Art and rebellion in Detroit in the aftermath of artist Shepard Fairey’s summer 2015 arrest for vandalism.
To watch the films, please visit
After today’s launch, one film each week will be published on The Intercept through November. A second season will debut in early 2016. The first two seasons of Field of Vision will feature new works by Kirsten Johnson, Heloisa Passos, Iva Radivojevic, Michael Moore, Shola Lynch, Yung Chang, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, Beau Willimon, Dustin Guy Defa, Jarred Alterman, Jill Magid, Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega, and others to be announced in coming months
Field of Vision will commission a broad range of original nonfiction work: episodic series, thematic approaches to a single topic by multiple filmmakers, deep-dive investigations, fast-responding filmmaker assignments and collaborations with artists from different fields. Field of Vision will also team filmmakers with reporters at The Intercept to combine the power of visual and written reporting.
“We’re honoured to be able to launch Field of Vision with these two incredible films by two exceptional filmmakers who brought a unique and fascinating perspective to these stories,” say Schnack and Cook in a joint statement. “We sent Iva Radivojevic and Dustin Guy Defa out into the field this summer and they returned with works of nonfiction on two very different, emerging stories.”
Continues Poitras, “As part of our launch of Field of Vision, we are thrilled to announce that reporter and culture critic Eric Hynes will conduct interviews with the filmmakers in a column titled ‘Field_Notes.’ The column will offer an in-depth look at the filmmaking process. Here are the first two Interviews with Iva and Dustin. “
About Field of Vision Co-Creators:
AJ Schnack is a filmmaker and writer known for nonfiction feature work including CAUCAS (2013), KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON (2006) and GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) (2003). He is the Founding Director of the Cinema Eye Honors, an annual international award for nonfiction filmmaking. Schnack won the Jury Prize for Direction at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival and is an Independent Spirit Award nominee.
Charlotte Cook is a film curator, writer and producer. Most recently, Cook was the Director of Programming at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, and prior to that was the head of film programming and training at the Frontline Club in London, an organization dedicated to championing independent journalism and freedom of expression. She has also worked as part of the commissioning team at BBC Storyville and with BRITDOC.
Laura Poitras’ most recent film, CITIZENFOUR, won an Academy Award for best documentary, as well as awards from BAFTA, Independent Spirit Awards, and the Director’s Guild of America. She is a Co-Founding Editor of The Intercept along with Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.
About Field of Vision
Field of Vision commissions and creates short and episodic films that use visual journalism to expand how we understand the world. Field of Vision will work with leading filmmakers to take on developing and ongoing stories as they unfold.
About The Intercept
The Intercept, launched in 2014 by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, is dedicated to producing fearless, adversarial journalism. We believe journalism should bring transparency and accountability to powerful governmental and corporate institutions, and our journalists have the editorial freedom and legal support to pursue this mission. The Intercept is a publication of First Look Media.
About First Look Media
Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is a multi-platform media company devoted to supporting independent voices, from fearless investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to arts, culture, media and entertainment. First Look Media produces and distributes content in a wide range of forms including feature films, short-form video, podcasts, interactive media and long-form journalism, for its own digital properties and with partners.
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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon