The Coming War between America and China – the new documentary project from John Pilger
‘Journey’ is an overworked word these days, but I can think of none other to describe the making of a documentary film. Ten years ago, a film of mine could be made in six months, even less. The main work was the research, the journalism. Whenever I felt confident I had the basis of a ‘story’, I would go to the ITV Network in the UK and seek a broadcast commission. If that was forthcoming, ITV would fund the production. The difference now is that I, the film-maker, must raise most of the production money. Also, my documentaries have changed considerably in recent years. They are now made for the cinema as well as TV, and for the internet.
I’ve made three films this way, The War on Democracy (2007), The War You Don’t See (2010) and Utopia (2013). Utopia took more than two years to make.
In raising the money for these films, I’ve been fortunate to find sympathetic philanthropists and foundations, and persuade them to contribute without attaching any editorial strings. But these benefactors are rare, and tracking them down is probably the hardest part of film-making now and, frankly, not the kind of work I ever saw myself doing – I’ve always preferred simply to do the job I knew – journalism. Continue