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The Playback

Episode 2: A new style of nature documentary

Take an immersive look behind the scenes of nonficton storytelling.

Samuel Vladimirsky

April 20th, 2023
Episode 2: A new style of nature documentary

When I first watched Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden’s awards season darling, Nuisance Bear, I knew that David Attenborough would have a field day. In a striking directorial debut, the cinematographer couple turned the nature documentary on its head by removing the hallmarks of the form--an omnipotent narrator, a view of planet Earth from the International Space Station, an excruciating runtime. Where another filmmaker might have stopped rolling once the polar bear left the natural landscape to peruse a local garbage dump, Weisman and Osio Vanden found a story that is singular and full of heart.


Featuring: Jack Weisman and Gabriela Osio Vanden

Series Producer: Sam Vladimirsky

Editors: Sam Vladimirsky

Animator: Tricia Cenit

Executive Producer: Sky Dylan-Robbins

Footage: Courtesy of The New Yorker

The Playback is a digital series from the Video Consortium that takes viewers behind the scenes of their favorite nonfiction storytelling, from feature documentaries to The Washington Post's viral TikTok account. Each episode explores a different element of the craft and new episodes are released every other Thursday.

Sam Vladimirsky is a filmmaker & artist whose hunger for a good story has taken him through the underground tunnels beneath the Met, inside the homes of New Yorker cartoonists, and onto remote farms, developing cities, gun ranges, catacombs, and costume shops. A New Jersey native, he is an advocate for the tiny but mighty team, and collaborative storytelling that is fearless and uncompromising. His work has appeared on PBS, Vogue, the British Journal of Photography & more. Most recently, he served as the creative marketing director at the Academy Award®-winning Breakwater Studios. In his previous incarnations, Sam directed documentary shorts for The Billboard Creative, co-taught archaeology at the Dalton School, worked in MoMA’s photography department, and served on the education team at the Met. He graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in History and French and earned an M.A. in Art History from University College London.

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