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The Keepers

From 'The Keepers' and Adnan Syed, to Michael Jackson and R. Kelly, a rising tide of documentaries

From 'The Keepers' and Adnan Syed, to Michael Jackson and R. Kelly, a rising tide of documentaries

In 2004, I wrote one of the most personally depressing stories I ever reported after interviewing documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell in what was then the Harlem office of his Roja Productions company.

Bagwell, who had just debuted a brilliant documentary on Martin Luther King, “Citizen King,” said he was shuttering his office to take a job at the Ford Foundation. The job was an important one in which he would direct foundation money to documentary filmmakers, but we talked long into a cold, winter’s afternoon about what a struggle it had become to make documentaries in America.

Fifteen years later, what a different world it is for documentary filmmakers and fans of the...

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