Open Cinema “connects the docs” with online technology
by Luigi Benetton
Want to check out what might turn into the Netflix of documentary filmmaking?
“It’s closer to Netflix plus live engagement options,” Mandy Leith explains. Leith, the Victoria, B.C.-based founder and director of Open Cinema, has been leading the effort to assemble a combination of online technologies to help documentary filmmakers share their work – and work in progress – using multicity screenings. She calls this hybrid screening and participation platform Connect the Docs. Think of it as an online hub that combines a webinar tool, video streaming and other participation tools designed to connect documentary filmmakers with social justice groups, event hosts, audiences and businesses that want to advertise to these groups.
Leith, whose involvement in documentary cinema goes back decades, decided to bootstrap Connect the Docs after she used her Westphalia to conduct her Get On The Doc Bus tour of Canada. “Nobody else has a tool like this,” she says, “and everybody told me to build it.”
The evolution of Connect the Docs continues on Wednesday, January 28 at 7 p.m. PST for Election Day in Canada when journalist and filmmaker Peter Smoczynski previews his upcoming documentary at a live event in Victoria.
Even if you could make it to the physical venue, the screening is sold out. Participate anyway on Wednesday night at opencinema.ca/live. Check the event page for pop-up screenings in Sidney, B.C., Cortes Island, the University of Victoria and Grand Prairie, Alberta. You can also follow the event on Open Cinema’s Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #elxnfraud. Leith plans to post a summary to her Storify account after the event.