Directed by Matthew Jacobs and Vanessa Yuille, Doctor Who Am I is a documentary film that follows Matthew Jacobs as he attends American Doctor Who fan conventions for the first time, twenty years after he wrote a Doctor Who TV movie that turned out to be a flop.
The original Doctor Who television series aired between 1963 to 1989 but in 1996 an attempt bring back the show and to appeal to an American audience was made with a television movie. But when the movie screened, it received a mixed reactions from critics and classic Doctor Who fans. The film does have a cult following but a lot of fans have had some problems with how The Doctor is portrayed. The film’s writer Matthew Jacobs has avoided fan conventions, but his friend Vanessa Yuille convinces him to attend some conventions in America. It is here that Jacobs confronts fans that both love and hate his film, as well as the actors and people that worked on the 1996 film.
Doctor Who Am I uses multiple ways to tell its story, such as interviews with Matthew Jacobs, Doctor Who fans, and the actors from the 1996 film consisting of Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook and Eric Roberts. The films also displays footage of Jacobs meeting fans at conventions and in some instances, in their homes. The film also showcases footage from the movie and the television series.
I admired Matthew Jacobs courage to confront die hard Doctor Who fans. Some of them are blunt and tell him the issues they had with his film, but Jacobs takes it in his stride and can often have laugh at his own expense. You can also tell that he is happy to see some are actually a fan of his film is well.
I was also impressed by the fans in the film. They all had their unique stories and ways of expressing their love for Doctor Who. From the fan who builds his own costumes that look exactly like the monsters in the show, to the fan who has signatures of actors who have played The Doctor tattooed on his body. All are passionate and express their love of the franchise in different ways.
The documentary also explores Matthew Jacobs coming to terms with the fact that his legacy in the history of Doctor Who may not all be positive but regardless, being part of its legacy means that he will forever be part of the fan community, and in this film he learns of just how important that is to him.
Doctor Who Am I is more than one man coming to terms with his place in Doctor Who history. It also shows that being part of a fan community doesn’t have to be toxic and that it can be positive. Doctor Who Am I is essential viewing for all fans of Doctor Who and is recommended for anyone who has felt part of a fandom, as being a fan has brought you together with like-minded passionate people.
Doctor Who Am I is now showing as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival until July 31.
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