Is DocuMystery a New Genre?

"...Where is she now?" is a recent DocuMystery
“…Where is she now?” is a recent DocuMystery

Here at the website we’ve lately been looking at the question “Is DocuMystery a New Genre?” We know it’s a methodology for actually making “no budget” movies, but can its motion picture content be described by the title DocuMystery also?

Case in point are two college film professors: John Henry Richardson (director/writer) and Mark Mockett (co-writer). These professors made a film in 2015 called “…Where is she now?” which chronicles the lives of their actual film students including a young woman name Marita who runs away the night before graduation. Its story reads like a mystery yet it is also a documentary, hence they call it a DocuMystery.

Another documentary with a mystery component that also calls itself a DocuMystery is “The Woodmans” by director Scott Willis. The picture introduces the viewers to the Woodmans family whose dedication to artistic ideas brings them both success and tragedy. The main focus of the DocuMystery is Francesca Woodman, a talented and driven young woman. She is a quite prolific artist who mysteriously kills herself at age 22. Exploring the reasons why the early death become the central focus of the DocuMystery.

Yet another example of a film that calls itself a DocuMystery is entitled “Maratus.” When a Canberra garbage collector takes a photo of a spider in Namadgi National Museum and posts it online, he gets a call from a scientist telling him i might be an undiscovered species. There follows an epic three-year quest to re-find the spider which is why the project is called a DocuMystery.

And yet another motion picture that calls itself a DocuMystery is “Thrillumentary.” “Thrillumentary” is the film that was done to deconstruct and track the “no budget” filmmaking system known as “DocuMystery.” Since this picture was done primarily as a learning tool it was ultimately not completed, stopping at the post production phase. But what was learned by doing the project was remarkable. It is indeed possible to make a feature length movie, working at the rate of only 3 steps a day and having a crew of one.

In the final analysis, the mere existence of 4 films including “Thrillumentary,” “Maratus,” “The Woodmans” and “…Where is she now?” seems to indicate that indeed DocuMystery is its own genre. Additionally all these pictures were done on quite low budgets which seems to affirm that DocuMystery is also a technique for making movies. Are you working on a DocuMystery? We’d love to hear from you.