I have always been partial to non-fiction. I prefer watching National Geographic or a Discovery to a regular Entertainment channel. It’s just that I have always found stories about aliens and animals much more engaging than 2 women playing petty politics in a house. Truth is definitely stranger and more interesting than fiction.
Documentaries introduced me to people, places and politics all at once, unfiltered. I had to cultivate a lot of patience, but I am glad I did, cause documentaries have got me hooked. Never was I a part of the cool kids club who discussed the latest English sitcoms or a new Sci-Fi release, but thanks to platforms like Netflix, Documentaries are grabbing people’s attention and eyeballs like never before, making them a cool and discussion worthy visual content.
But what has changed? What has a platform like Netflix done that watching an episode of ‘Wild, Wild Country’ has become indispensable?
Traditionally tagged boring, social issue-oriented and lengthy, documentaries were always deemed to be for a niche audience, but not anymore. With many big names and producers going after new age content, from an Olympics doping scandal ( Academy Award Winning Documentary – Icarus by Bryan Fogel) to the docu-series of a controversial Indian Guru Osho ( Wild Wild Country by Maclain and Chapman Way), it is the golden period for documentary filmmakers around the world!
Borrowing elements from non-fiction through cinematic narrative storytelling, editing finesse to the feature-length duration that can be marketed to audiences as a film, documentaries no longer mean 2 hours of factual information at a stretch. They have become more visual, have developed a cinematic value and are getting the backing of big filmmakers to support better execution. They have become more experimental and experiential.
The power and paraphernalia
The main reasons behind documentaries being increasingly produced are increasing acceptance of documentaries by audiences, which is translating to bigger budgets, and increasing platforms for distribution. A platform like Netflix has made the access to both possible. Larger budget allocation to documentary filmmakers with promising themes and stories that have never been told before have become possible. The humongous audience base that Netflix has, can now be tapped by producers of non-fiction content so that happy viewers like myself can watch them!
Picture courtesy: https://static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/best-netflix-documentaries-994×400.jpg
By Riya Chhibber