Truth, Manipulation, and the Fictionalizing of “Reality”

In documentary film, a truth only exists after it has been filtered through the eyes and editorial choices of the filmmaker. Even for directors who follow the vérité model, objectivity is an illusory construct. The panel will probe the thoughts of some of the documentary film world’s most preeminent voices on the issues of objectivity, subjectivity, journalistic integrity, and narrative manipulation. When a filmmaker inserts him or herself in a documentary frame and narrative, how does that “performance” influence the content? To what extent does a filmmaker feel a moral obligation to protect his or her subject? How does this obligation (or lack thereof) affect the filmmaking process? Are “setups” or reenactments justifiable if they replicate perceived reality or subjectivity? How have our panelists been impacted by the proliferation of first-person narratives? How do pressures from the marketplace or funding sources bear on the crafting of the work? This panel promises to be a memorable and illuminating event.

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]