The Great White Whales of Music Docs
Every director and producer has a great white whale: the groundbreaking, fascinating, inspirational music documentary that just couldn't get made. Maybe the band got camera shy; maybe the music rights were controlled by an out-of-control lawyer; maybe the topic was too hot for film. Whatever the problem, this panel will feature producers and directors who will share war stories from their own failed projects and discuss their unmade/unfunded dream music documentaries. We'll also dish about famous forbidden footage (from bands like the Rolling Stones, Guns N Roses and more) and the prospects of those vaults being opened in our lifetimes. And we'll ask the audience to share their most desired music documentaries, the films they'd stand in line for at the theaters if only they could be made!
Warren Cohen is a two-time Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer at VH1 in the News & Documentary division. He is responsible for developing series, specials, reality programs and documentaries for the network’s VH1 Rock Docs franchise. VH1 Rock Docs are feature-length films that tell unique stories of artists and music from a wide range of genres, styles and musical perspectives. He is also responsible for managing the network’s daily video news coverage as well as working on next-generation multiplatform TV initiatives.
Ilko Davidov is a Director/Producer and Editor at BulletProof Film, Inc., and Co-Director of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest)
Mark Ford is a writer/producer/director from Los Angeles. He started his career at CNN and has produced more than a hundred hours of television though his company, Creature FIlms. His pop culture credits include VH1's "Behind the Music" and MTV's "Laguna Beach." He has directed feature length documentaries about NWA, Notorious BIG, and Aerosmith, among others.
Amir Bar-Lev's directorial debut, Fighter, was released theatrically by First Run Features in the Fall of 2001 and aired on IFC. The film was named one of the top documentaries of the year by Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice. It won six international festival awards and was called "brilliant," by The New Yorker, "enthralling" by the New York Times, and "one of the best documentaries of this year or any other" by Rolling Stone.
His second film, My Kid Could Paint That, was released internationally by Sony Pictures Classics in 2007, with broadcast on Starz, A&E and BBC. The Philadelphia inquirer described it as "Fascinating... A thought-provoking look at the world of abstract art, the relationship between a reporter and his/her subject, and, just for the heck of it, the nature of truth." The London Telegraph named it one of the top 100 films of all time.
Bar-Lev traveled to New Orleans nine days after Hurricane Katrina and began filming a young married couple, both crack dealers, with a heroic story of survival during the storm. Bar-Lev served as co-producer on the resulting film, Trouble The Water, which was a 2009 Academy Award Nominee. Trouble the Water also took the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award at Full Frame, a Special Jury Mention at Silverdocs, won the IFP Gotham Award for Best Documentary, and was nominated for the PGA Documentary award, and the NAACP Image Awards Best Documentary.
Bar-Lev also directed The Tillman Story, a feature documentary about NFL safety Pat Tillman, who joined the Army Rangers in 2002 and was killed in a friendly fire incident two years later. The film was released nationwide by The Weinstein Company in August of 2010. The Tillman Story was named the top documentary of 2010 by The San Francisco Critics' Circle, The Florida Critics' Circle, and The St. Louis Critics' Circle, and was nominated for ten additional critics' circle prizes, the National Board of Review Documentary award, the PGA Documentary award, and the Cinema Eye Audience Choice award.
Most recently, Bar-Lev directed the Re:Generation Music Project, featuring collaborations by artists such as Ralph Stanley, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Scrillex, and Mark Ronson, among others. The project was a presentation of Hyundai in association with the Grammy's.