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Which Documentaries Could Be Remade as Narrative Films?

By Christopher Campbell | Spout January 24, 2012 at 4:02PM

It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes documentaries are adapted, or remade, into narrative films. That’s what we call the fully dramatized versions anyway, ignoring the fact that docs have narratives too. Past examples include Werner Herzog’s "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," which the filmmaker turned into Rescue Dawn, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s "Party Monster," which the duo made into a film of the same name, and I include biographies like Rob Epstein’s "The Times of Harvey Milk" even though it wasn’t directly related to Gus Van Sant’s biopic Milk.
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It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes documentaries are adapted, or remade, into narrative films. That’s what we call the fully dramatized versions anyway, ignoring the fact that docs have narratives too. Past examples include Werner Herzog’s "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," which the filmmaker turned into Rescue Dawn, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s "Party Monster," which the duo made into a film of the same name, and I include biographies like Rob Epstein’s "The Times of Harvey Milk" even though it wasn’t directly related to Gus Van Sant’s biopic Milk.


This is a subject I’ve written about multiple times before, but it always comes up because so many docs are announced as getting remakes that haven’t (yet, if ever) seen the light of day. Titles that have been optioned or even bought include "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," "Racing Dreams," "The Bengali Detective," "Page One: Inside the New York Times," Hands on a Hard Body," "Crazy Love," "Young @ Heart," "Murderball," "Bra Boys," "Chicago 10" and the "Paradise Lost" films.

Now we can add two more to the bunch, through separate bits of news out of Sundance. Current competition title "Indie Game: The Movie," which is about independent video game designers, has been picked up by HBO and producer Scott Rudin as inspiration for a fictional comedy series. This is similar to a deal HBO made at last year’s fest to adapt "Knuckle" into a series.

Continue reading the discussion at the Documentary Channel Blog

This article is related to: Documentary, Discussions, Sundance 2012