Saturday, October 10, 2009

Un/Certainty: (Lack of) Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking.

NPR's On The Media Posdcast, True Enough: Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking. An interview with Patricia Aufderheide on her study of (and problems with) ethics and truthfulness in documentary films.

Some of the revelations:

"Winged Migration": The birds were not wild birds but raised for the intended purpose of filming them.

"March of the Penguins": Penguins are not monogamous and mate for life, as the film would lead us to believe. (They mate seasonally.)

In "Mighty Times" Supposedly historical footage was reenacted.

From a wildlife documentary shoot:
We tried to shoot a few, and missed both of them. Unbeknownst to me, the [animal wrangler] broke the next rabbit’s leg, so it couldn’t run. So we got one. On the next take, they then asked, “Should we break its leg again?” . . . the DP [director of photography] was sitting there, saying “No, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do it,” but nodding his head yes. I made the decision, let them break it. I regret it. It eats me up every day. I can sort of rationalize this, that it might be killed by a natural predator. But for us to inflict pain to get a better shot was the wrong thing to do.

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