I have learned something about myself in the past few years that I didn’t know before. It’s about documentaries.
I’ve always thought myself to be a fiction kind of girl. In the world of books and movies both, my first reach is a good mystery, detective story or political thriller. It’s been the case since I discovered Nancy Drew Mysteries in grade school many years ago.
I’m not an escapist. I just love stories. History as a collection of facts and dates bores me to tears. But couched in the rhythm of storytelling, it comes alive and sparks curiosity that drives me to learn beyond even the walls of the story. The same is true with many other subjects from science and weather to nature and philosophy and just about everything in between.
The Thin Line Film Festival in Denton spurred a major paradigm shift when it began a few years ago. I love Denton festivals and attend every one that I can. So even though Thin Line was touted as all docs and not a fiction bone to be had, I wasn’t going to miss a new cool Denton event – at least to check out and say I had been.
I loved it and have never missed Thin Line since. What I learned is that docs tell stories! How dull of me not to have already known that? Maybe, but I’m not alone. I pictured the old 8 mm films from junior high and could not imagine investing one minute of my adult life sitting through one of those every again – especially for fun! But docs are stories with characters and color and worlds that I never knew about and will likely never see without the lens of a doc producer’s camera.
In the years since my novice Thin Line moments, my film-watching and book-reading habits have changed quite a bit. Apple TV and Netflix offer a perpetual library of docs that are as common a selection as any blockbuster for me these days. Doc-style books compete with the mysteries on my shelves, too. In other words, my world has broadened and I am changed.
I look forward every year to the moment Thin Line posts its doc schedule so I can pour over the 70-some-odd films and pick where I’ll go. This year, all kinds of music is integrated into the schedule, too. First on my list is tomorrow night’s opener “When We Were All Broncos” followed by some totally local Denton when Brave Combo plays.