Today, I moderated a panel on the film genre known as Branded Documentary at SilverDocs, the international documentary festival in Washington, DC. We discussed films made by companies to promote their values, be it in “cause” or social responsibility, or just to bring their brand to life in an entertaining way. The purpose of a branded doc is to tell the brand story using the authentic form of documentary, which is based on interviewing, investigation and story-telling. It occurred to me that the explosion of fly fishing films, some independent, and some sponsored by Simms, Scott and other well-regarded companies are taking full advantage of this exciting genre in a highly competitive environment. They blur the line between long-form commercial, branded content, and documentary. The films speak to the heritage of the brands, and of course the fishing. In some cases, the branded docs are environmental films sponsored by multiple brands invested in cold, clear, clean water and the preservation of our fisheries and waterways. Of course, we all grew up watching branded docs–remember Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? That and Marty Stouffer’s Wild America (non-commercial) first filled my heart with the longing to become a naturalist. Thanks to Trout Unlimited, I came across a new short branded doc (long-form commissioned commercial, basically) today by the fly rod maker Scott, and the filmmakers at Felt Sole Media.
This should really be in the Film Craft section of the blog, but ‘meh, its my blog and I can put it where I want it…enjoy.