Rosemary Rotondi and Unearthing the Media Archives


by Rachel Baron | June 8th, 2017

Rosemary Rotondi is an archival film, photo, headlines, and network news researcher. Her credits include Charles Ferguson's Inside Job, Laura Poitras' Academy Award winning Citizenfour, Penny Lane's Our Nixon, and many others. She recently worked as a network news researcher on Laura Poitras' latest, Risk, now screening nationwide.

DCTV Development and Communications Associate Rachel Baron spoke with Rosemary to discuss her life in the archives and our upcoming DCTV workshop.

    Can you tell us about how you structure your research process?

    With each project, it varies. It all depends on the filmmaker’s needs, what decade(s) their documentary film is focused on. What is challenging is when footage and photos are not available for researching online, which means inspiring the archives’ representatives to do internal searches for me.

    What have been some of your favorite projects and why?

    My favorite projects have been Matt Wolf’s documentary Teenage, which is 95% archival and on which I was lead researcher; Citizenfour by Laura Poitras, on which I served as network news researcher; New York in the Fifties by Betsy Blankenbaker, on which I served as archival researcher.

    What do you believe are the most valuable lessons to be learned from our new workshop?

    Colleges and universities and historical societies are the hidden gems of the archival research world. Archival research adds depth and authenticity to a documentary film, and a solid look back into our collective past. What I hope the students learn is that there are wonderful archives which will not break the bank, licensing rates-wise.

There is still space to learn from one of the great masters of archival research! Join Rosemary in Unearthing the Media Archives this Tue 6/13. Register here!