Documentary or Fiction: The Growing Debate over the “Hybrid” Form

As documentary and fiction filmmakers display a growing interest in experimenting with form—blending the conventions of fiction and nonfiction—they have created a handful of “hybrids” that challenge the way audiences engage with their work. In documentaries, the use of dramatic devices has led to controversy over what constitutes a “legitimate” doc. For fiction, the appropriation of doc conventions has spawned a breed of “reality fiction” that plays with our notion of what is real. Filmmakers Amir Muhammad, (The Big Durian), Christian Johnston (September Tapes) Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) and others discuss their films and explore the ethical issues that arise from them.


Amir Muhammad
Christian Johnston
Jonathan Caouette
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