Who will be America’s next great documentary filmmaker? We got closer to an answer this week as the six finalists in the Pursuit of the Truth completion were revealed. The six contestants moving forward were revealed to be:
Joshua Ligairi – Plan 241
Chris Bell – Prescription Thugs
Dan Quigley - As Much Truth As One Can Bear (formerly: The Journey of Mina)
Maggie Nilsson – Mine: The Lost Padres Legend
David Rufful - The Dartmouth Review Pleads Innocent
Kelvin Owens - An American Intervention
So now that we’re out of the interview/pitch phase of the competition, things kicked into high gear as each of the six hopefuls have been charged with filming a two-minute sizzle reel for their documentary. Over the next three weeks, each episode will focus on two of the contestants as they go out in the field and try to get the material they need with limited time and resources. Who has what it takes?
This week, the action focused on Maggie Nilsson and David Rufful as they each went to get the material they needed to convince the judges they were worthy of moving forward in the competition. They each faced unique challenges – from problems with location, equipment, and their own documentary subjects.
In New York City, David Rufful assembled a small team consisting of an interviewer, a cinematographer, and a technician to go out and interview two former Dartmouth Review alums, including 2016: Obama’s America director Dinesh D’Souza. For David and his proposed documentary, the interview with D’Souza is a key piece to bringing a big name to support his idea. After all Obama’s America is the fourth-highest grossing domestic documentary of all time.
Of course, not everything went as planned as David and his team made their way across the streets of New York City. Their first interview subject, Emily Esfahani Smith, kept looking away from the Melanie, the interviewer, and directing her answers at David, resulting in some weird visuals for her interview. Later, the team had trouble navigating the streets of New York City and didn’t anticipate the traffic problems that could have potentially delayed their key interview with D’Souza.
Watch what happened with D’Souza in the clip below:
On the other side of the country, in the California desert, Maggie Nilsson and her crew set off to find a cursed mine filled with hidden treasure.
Sound a little unbelievable? If you were watching the episode, you might just believe that the area is cursed with some bad-luck inflicting juju.
First, the rental car that Maggie used couldn’t make it up the desert road to the mine. Then, she lost the battery to her lighting equipment when she tried to get some of the crucial shots of the interior of the mine. She lost crucial daylight and didn’t get all of the images she set out to capture. And then at the end, her main subject, Myron, was unable to nail a crucial line when he related the legend of the cursed mine that he heard as a young man.
Or it could be some of judge’s concerns about her lack of filmmaking experience coming to the forefront.
Watch some of Maggie’s trouble below:
With all the trouble they encountered, will David or Maggie have a shot at moving on to the next round?
Next Week: Josh Ligairi goes to prison and Dan Quigley goes to a bar as they try to become the next great documentary filmmaker!