Storytellers: Documentary-style video done well

Sarah Wambold, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA, Jonathan Munar, Art21, USA

Museums tell lots of stories. In our audio tours, our magazines, our catalogues, our blogs, our didactics. Yet the documentary format can be an intimidating and laborious endeavor for many museum professionals. With the rising popularity of documentary films—documentaries now account for about 16 percent of the Cannes film market, compared with 8 percent five years ago, and Netflix producing documentaries for the next wave of its original content drive—audiences seem primed for our content in this format. Furthermore, Americans aged 18 to 64 have doubled their digital video viewing from 13 minutes a day in the second quarter of 2012 to roughly 27 minutes today.

This program presents some of the best video stories produced by museums, which represent a range of topics, techniques, and treatments. The screening is followed by a panel discussion with the producers/directors/videographers for each project, moderated by the program’s organizers to illuminate the approaches, processes, and pitfalls of producing and publishing documentary-style video in museums. Panelists will respond to a range of questions that elucidate their decision-making processes and storytelling techniques, and speak to the potential for this format.

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"The Rise of Documentary Film: The Shocking Truth." The Economist n.d.: n. pag. The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Dec. 2014. <>.