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Present Tense: Notes On American Nonfiction Cinema, 1998-2013


Present Tense: Notes On American Nonfiction Cinema, 1998-2013


In the past fifteen years, nonfiction cinema has experienced something of a renaissance in America. A slew of formally ambitious films have emerged, spanning from 1998, when future Hollywood director Bennett Miller’s low-fi The Cruise proved that digital video could be theatrical with a narrative hook and a compelling subject/star, to 2013, when two Harvard-connected masterpieces, Leviathan and The Act of Killing, received massive critical success, which felt like the crashing of long-building tidal wave. Examining these films and many others that came between them, Present Tense: American Nonfiction Cinema, 1998-2013 is a year-to-year, personal journey through this era from filmmaker Robert Greene. Featuring essays and interviews with those on the front lines, Present Tense is an exploration of how documentary filmmakers, enabled by cheap technology and driven to create films at all costs, boldly embraced the most exciting narrative and formal techniques of the past to create a true, undeniable movement.

Coming February 2015


Robert Greene is a filmmaker and writer. He directed Actress (2014), Fake it So Real (2011) and Kati With An I (2010). He’s edited films as diverse as Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip and Douglas Tirola’s Hey Bartender. Robert writes about documentary for several places, including Sight & Sound.

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