By Gregory Crofton
If you like documentaries a lot, you might have heard about him — Doug Block. He runs The D-Word web site, a resource and forum for those who work in the documentary industry, and his most recent films include “51 BIRCH STREET” and “THE KID GROWS UP.”
“51 BIRCH STREET” is gripping tale that uncovers the intimate, and not so intimate, details of his parents marriage. It also documents his relationship with his father. “THE KID GROWS UP” tells the story of his daughter growing up and leaving for college. It also shows his wife suffering through a serious bout of depression.
Many artists look to their own lives for inspiration and material. Mr. Block is certainly one of those artists. But is there anything left for Block to draw from? Plenty. For years to pay the bills Block has documented weddings. Some of those relationships worked out, some probably did not. “112 WEDDINGS,” it seems, will bring those stories to the screen.
“The results, as you might imagine, are totally fascinating,” Block wrote on his Around the Block blog in October. “I’ve never ever experienced so much advanced interest in one of my films. HBO, BBC and other broadcasters are already on board.”
Personal memoir-type docs have been around at least since 1985 when Ross McElwee’s influential “SHERMAN’S MARCH” was released. But Block has been able break new ground within the genre. And, interestingly, he helped Sarah Polley, the actor, now well-known for her directing work, come up with ways to construct “STORIES WE TELL,” Polley’s attempt to learn about her mom’s life, who died from cancer at a young age.
You can read about how these two filmmakers came to work together in an article by Carrie Nelson at Stranger Than Fiction.