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ABOVE & BEYOND - Greater Visibility And A Louder Voice: The PGA East Presents A Special Salon To Support Documentary Filmmakers

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The PGA Documentary Screening Salon is a unique program that allows smaller documentaries to reach a wider audience. The monthly curated screenings regularly draw enthusiastic crowds and spur lively discussions with a Q&A and reception afterward. The films chosen can be docs that have a limited distributor, are self-distributed or without distribution at all.

Jill Campbell and Joseph Schroeder lead the Documentary Screening Salon subcommittee, which is part of the PGA East Documentary and Nonfiction Committee. The subcommittee’s members are experienced documentarians, whose mission is to identify quality filmmakers and shine a spotlight on their work, while at the same time providing an exclusive viewing experience for PGA members.

Each of the past four seasons, the Salon has screened several highly acclaimed independent documentaries, including The Wolfpack, Minding the Gap, Quest and Life, Animated. This past year featured The River and the Wall, Roll Red Roll and This Changes Everything. The final screening of 2019 will be for The Hottest August, taking place on August 21. The annual program, which begins in March, is open to all 1,800 members of the Guild’s East region.

When she’s not co-chairing the Documentary Screening Salon, Jill is a director and producer of  independent documentaries, most recently Mr. Chibbs. She finds it very rewarding to be in a position to help filmmakers get more visibility for their projects and introduce her fellow PGA members to docs that might not be on their radar. “It has been wonderful to meet and support other documentary producers in an intimate setting. For anyone involved in documentary filmmaking, this is a great chance to network,” she says.

Joseph also produces documentaries, most notably, Beyond Borders: Undocumented Mexican Americans for PBS. He adds, “The Salon atmosphere truly opens up a venue for communication about the issues raised in a particular film in a way other events may not. It’s great to partner with Jill to create an environment where filmmakers feel free to share their work, and Guild members feel free to connect with it on a personal level.”

The two volunteers put in a lot of time and effort finding the projects they want to screen at the Salon. This includes attending festivals, reading trade publications and reviews, and gathering suggestions from fellow PGA members. It has proved to be a winning formula for both the Guild and the work of these independent documentarians.

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