“What you can’t measure, you can’t manage”
Industry Report: Documentary
Audun Amundsen • Producer, GonzoDocs
The 2022 Emerging Producer from Norway advocates for documentary film as an instrument for social and political change
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Audun Amundsen: I produce documentaries because I love telling stories that can have the power to raise awareness and touch people across borders. Documentary film can definitely be an instrument for social and political change. For me a very important part of producing documentaries is also about meeting people, embracing uncertainty, fun problem solving and exploring something incredibly interesting together as a team.
The pandemic had an impact on the entire sector. How did it influence your work as a producer? Have the projects that you work on changed?
I must say that I have been very lucky. I released two films, Newtopia and Help, I’ve gone Viral!, just a week before the pandemic started. It certainly impacted the festival distribution, but I was also already developing a system for online distribution and monetization of my films. A system that can be used in conjunction with the traditional distribution methods. This yielded very good results for me. During the pandemic I got time to develop new projects, and as I write this, I am in Dallas shooting for my next documentary Click the Link Below. I always try to innovate and use every situation positively.
What do you think is the future of the distribution of documentary films?
I think it will be increasingly important for filmmakers to update themselves on the many possibilities online. I have been merging the online marketing industry with the documentary industry and teaching my methods on my site. Audience tracking and targeting, and data gathering are and will be even more important tools for filmmakers in the future, I think. Luckily it is not rocket science, and can be quite quickly learned. I think we should embrace all the opportunities out there and use them simultaneously or specifically according to each project. By the end of the day, it is about reaching as many of your viewers where they are, making an impact and monetize at the same time so you can make more amazing films. What you can’t measure, you can’t manage. And today there are so many tools to help you maximize your efforts. Personally, I am optimistic about the development we are seeing, and curious and excited about how NFTs and the Metaverse will impact the documentary industry.
What projects do you have underway?
I am currently delving into the murky world of money-making gurus online. It is a participatory feature-length documentary where I am following some seriously expensive step-by-step advice to get rich quick. Is it all a huge scam driven by algorithms and hustlers? If not, what’s the key to this new wealthy way of life? The film, Click the Link Below, is backed by the Norwegian Film Institute and several other institutions, and co-produced with Alex Tondowski and Derren Lawford. We aim for release in July 2023.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2023 edition is 31 March 2022.
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