Netflix this morning held a TCA panel in which several of its trophied documentary filmmakers talked about their experience having projects distributed by the streaming service. Not surprisingly, they raved about it.
Jill Bauer, director-producer of Hot Girls Wanted, told TV critics that the last time she was on her way to Los Angeles, when the driver of her car found out she had a docu on Netflix, “he went into this whole thing about never watching documentaries before Netflix. There is so much discovery on that platform,” Bauer enthused. Hot Girls is about the professional amateur porn business, following a recruiter in Miami who recruits 18- and 19-year-old girls off Craigslist and offers them a free trip to the city in exchange for porn film work. “And…this is not in any way like a plug, but…the girls in the film don’t watch films on anything but Netflix – same with their friends,” Bauer said.
Topping that, Orlando von Einsiedel, director of Virunga, said signing with Netflix was “an obvious choice” because it means his documentary “went to 50 countries and 53 million homes.” And a few weeks ago, he said he went back to the setting for the Oscar-nominated story of rangers risking their lives to save the African national park and, climbing a volcano there, came across a group of tourists “and every single one of them had seen it on Netflix. We hear stories on that all the time.”
Comedian Tig Notaro, subject and executive producer of autobiographical Tig, said she had no idea what she was getting into when she agreed to let filmmakers follow her cancer diagnosis and search for humor in the news. She explained she’s “only been on the street once since the movie came out” and “when I was parking the car I saw a bunch of kittens for adoption and walked over to check that out and was holding this kitten and people were going ‘Oh my gosh!’ and I thought, ‘Yes, she’s cute’, and the ‘Oh my gosh!’ was about me and not the cat. It was an odd feeling. It seems like everyone’s hearing about it and there is definitely a vibe.”
Many questions later, the documentarians were asked about their next projects. They answered with varying degrees of detail and candor. When it got to be Notaro’s turn, she answered, of her future plans, “Again, I have a kitten.”