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Documentary Filmmaking


Documentary films are one of the best ways to educate and entertain mass audiences about important and memorable history.  Are you looking to have a documentary story produced to tell an intriguing story about a person, family, business, organization or special event? Does your documentary idea call for an open minded and impartial presentation of all sides of the story?  If so, is the right team to produce your project.

Doug Harris has been producing and directing documentaries since 1999, and has become a recognizable figure in Northern California's filmmaker circles. His films have primarily focused on biographical stories and history that has been overlooked. Doug's career in filmmaking evolved through humble beginnings, as he started out by producing the An Exploration of Our History series of community history films as part of Athletes United for Peace's Digital Technology Academy media arts training program for teens.

In the 2000s, Doug gained notoriety for producing a series of popular sports documentaries legendary heros from his hometown of Berkeley, California.  His production of BOUNCE: The Don Barksdale Story, chronicled the life of the Berkeley sports and entertainment pioneer who became the first black Olympic basketball player to win a Gold Medal (1948), and the NBA's first black All-Star (1953).  The FOX Sports Net documentary received the 2008 Beacon Award from the Association of Cable Communicators for Best Single Program.

In 2009, he formed the Harris/Maddison filmmaking team with Sean Maddison of Comcast SportsNet to produce OUT: The Glenn Burke Story, about the life of Major League Baseball's first openly gay player from Berkeley, who was an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's.  The critically acclaimed documentary was nominated for an Emmy and the G.L.A.A.D. Award.

Harris biggest contribution to the sports documentary genre came by way of his film Basketball Guru: The Pete Newell Story, about the life of former Cal Berkeley NCAA championship coach who had the single biggest impact on the sport of basketball over the span of seven decades.  The documentary was aired on Comcast SportsNet - NBC/Universal and featured a lineup of some of the greatest Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame players, coaches and executives in the history of the game.        

In 2016, Harris produced FAIR LEGISLATION: The Byron Rumford Story, about the life of Northern California's first black assemblyman in the state legislature from Berkeley, who authored the Fair Employment Act in 1959 and the Rumord Fair Housing Act in 1963.  The film profiled California's controversial Proposition 14 when voters repealed the Rumford Fair Housing Act in 1964. The documentary was Doug's first political film, and was presented by KVIE Sacramento and aired on PBS stations around the country during the 2016 General Election.

Photo images, whether archival or contemporary, are strong visual elements needed to produce compelling documentary films.  Acquiring the right photos through research, and bringing them to life through production tools like Adobe After Effects are a big key to documentary film work.

Although VHS is an almost completely dead medium, it's an extremely valuable resource for documentary storytelling.  Old VHS videotapes archives in the basement of family events, vacations, sports games, work and travels can be absolute treasures for documentary storytellers.

One of the biggest challenges for historical documentary productions is finding archival film footage that helps drive the storyline.  Through determination and extensive research, captivating 16mm and 8mm film imagry can be acquired for little or no cost via public domain.

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