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on October 15, 2006
Stubbs' book of interviews with contemporary American documentary filmmakers may be useful (even inspirational) for those new to the field, but the author doesn't know her turf. The volume is filled with minor factual errors: film titles are misspelled, interviewees' self-serving statements go unchallenged, and proofreading errors abound. Clearly, Stubbs was learning as she went along, and editorial oversight was minimal.
For better or worse, the book reveals the enthusiasms of a novice. The interviews are superficial, and somewhat adulatory: the writer seldom takes a critical or analytical view of the filmmakers' assumptions and methodologies.
The book may appeal to beginner film students looking for easy-to-read interviews with Ross McElwee and Berlinger & Sinofsky; there are much more informative interviews with Al Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Barbara Kopple, and Ken Burns elsewhere. Caveat lector.