Reel Life Stories: Documentary Film and Video Collections
in the UC Berkeley Library's Media Resources Center


Independent Documentary Distribution


Feature films and popular non-fiction works on video seem to be sold everywhere these days-from K-MART to museum stores, from mail order catalogs to the Internet. Not all documentary films fall into the realm of the popular mass-marketed goods, however. In fact, the majority of the most provocative, insightful, and socially relevant documentary works are never seen in video rental stores or on the shelves of retail outlets. There are often lamentably few opportunities for the public to see these independently produced works at all, outside of occasional festivals or documentary film screenings on public television.

Unlike mass marketed video, independently produced documentaries are generally distributed by a single distributor that specializes in such works. The catalogs of many of these distributors focus selected topics or works by a select segment of the documentary filmmaking community. The Media Resources Center collection boasts a large representative sampling of the best current and historical works offered by notable "indie" distributors in the US.

Distributors Featured in the Exhibit

  • Bullfrog Films
  • California Newsreel
  • Cinema Guild
  • Direct Cinema
  • Filmakers Library
  • First Run/Icarus Films
  • Frameline
  • National Asian American Telecommunications Association
  • New Day Films
  • Video Data Bank
  • Women Make Movies
  • Exhibit Home Page

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    Media Resources Center
    Last updated 5/5/03.