SXSW 2023

Making Music Docs That Aren’t One Note


Join Firelight Media for a conversation featuring BIPOC filmmakers whose documentaries go beyond one-note celebrity profiles to interrogate the power of music and musicians to shape and advance culture. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Nelson (‘Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool’) will be joined by a new generation of documentary filmmakers including Sabaah Folayan (‘Look at Me: XXXTentacion’) who are leveraging the increasingly popular music doc genre to explore urgent issues such as mental health, immigration, and intimate partner violence. The panel will explore the craft behind making music documentaries and will provide a behind-the-scenes look at how filmmakers can work with artists, their families, and their estates to create truthful and balanced portraits of their subjects.

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  1. How can filmmakers collaborate with artists to create authentic and balanced films that honor their subject as well as the larger culture?
  2. What are the craft elements that make music documentaries so compelling, and how can other content creators learn to master them?
  3. How can film, music, and social media campaigns be used to address urgent social issues and effect positive change?



Justin Sherwood, Communications Director, Firelight Media

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Creating Film & Episodics
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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