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Getting Real '18: Sharon Wahl Producer of upcoming film Almost and Island

Once again we want to thank Vision Maker Media for their support of ALMOST AN ISLAND. Last week VMM sent ISLAND producer Sharon Wahl to L.A. -- Hollywood! -- to attend a conference put on by the International Documentary Association.

Really enjoyed last week's Getting Real conference in L.A. Thank you to VISION MAKER MEDIA for sending their producers to this event! I learned several things I really needed to know. The presentation on how changes to the tax law will affect independent filmmakers was as scary as a horror movie.

For me, the most shocking part of Siegel's presentation was his interpretation of changes to Section 181. Now, most of you have probably never heard of Section 181, but please bear with me! This could affect you. Basically, the change would mean that expenses for making a film could not be deducted against funding raised for the film (including grants like Vision Maker) until the year of the film's "first release." That is, expenses cannot be deducted against income in the year that they occur.

On the other hand, the presentation on Budgeting made that aspect of grant writing much less scary. My award for most beautiful and most inspiring presentation goes to Sarah Wolozin and Katerina Cizek for "Collective Intelligence: Co-Creative and Emergent Documentaries."

I'm excited to see what kind of art can come out of interactive media as this technology becomes easier to use and accessible to more people. I look forward to seeing people create artworks of a kind I've never even imagined.

I was fascinated by the section on the process of filming Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and the stepsister of Anne Frank, in a virtual-reality "cage" to make her into a hologram that future students can interact with and ask questions of. This process is documented in the 15-minute film "116 Cameras":

Another very moving project they showcased is Question Bridge (2012), a documentary film / art installation in which black men ask questions of each other. "It works like this: first, one person asks a question looking into a camera, as if they are talking directly to another person. Later, another person responds by talking directly into a camera. This question-answer exchange, the Question Bridge, reduces the stress of normal face-to-face conversations and makes people feel more comfortable with expressing their deeply held feelings on topics that divide, unite, and puzzle."

For light entertainment at the end of the day, there was the "documentary game show" GIMME TRUTH -- conference filmmakers submitted 2-minute docs and the audience and panel of "experts" had to decide if they were true or false. People had a lot of fun with this! Perfect geeky entertainment for filmmakers.

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