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February 17, 2006


Joe Swanberg

I don't think there is anything wrong with modern audiences questioning the methods of documentary filmmakers. If anything, it will make them more savvy when they watch the news and more likely to questions the techniques of CNN and FoxNews to spin a story using selective interview subjects and slanted editing.

The veil needs to be pulled away from documentary filmmaking once and for all. Documentaries employ all of the same techniques narrative films do, whether they are truthful or not. Human beings with opinions of their own have decided where to place the camera, what footage to leave in and what to cut out, what questions to ask, what the poster should look like, how to market the film, etc, etc, etc.

I think a more skeptical viewing public is the best thing that can happen to TV journalism and documentary film right now. Anything that makes people approach this work with a skeptical mindset is good.

AJ Schnack

I'm all for a more skeptical public, just as I am all for the ability of filmmakers to blur the line between truth and fiction.

I guess my larger question is whether this blurring might ultimately cause a backlash when (inevitably) we have our James Frey moment and some celebrated "non-fiction" film is exposed for being mostly fiction.

There is already some confusion in the idea as to whether nonfiction filmmakers (or writers for that matter) are journalists. The laws of copyrights and releases (both personal and location) are completely unknown based on this confusion. What if someone who makes a "non-fiction" film also declares fair use - and later questions arise as to the film's truthfulness. Do the fair use assertions get thrown out the window? How much fiction is too much?

Wow, this seems like a whole new post...

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