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February 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 21 Feb 1993 16:47:27 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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I suppose that the way I rationalize this debate in my own head is by viewing
what I do not as journalism at all (my formal training is as a film/videomaker,
not as a journalist), but as "art." (Whatever THAT is!)  In other words, the
finished piece is a manipulation of a medium; my particular medium happens to
be people and events which are not dependent on the camera's presence in order
to exist.  Obviously the moment one chooses a camera angle or makes a shot-
scale decision, any notion of "authenticity" is out the window.  In my present
work, I'm just trying to make the viewer aware of that fact--since many folks
outside of the professional realm really do hang on to the notion that
documentary work is somehow "truthful."  (Maybe journalism has a different
social function as 'reportage.' )
As previously stated, making art by intruding on real people's lives gets a bit
sticky.  I try as much as possible to let subjects direct things within certain
frameworks.  But in no way could one consider it a collaboration.  It does
raise all kinds of interesting questions about creator/subject/viewer
positioning.  Ultimately, I think it's impossible to know who is telling the
story or who the story belongs to or how a story is being received.  For me,
it's just enough that a story exists that one may choose to relate to if one
wishes.  This past week, I had the honor of having lunch with Isabel Allende
who explained to me that most of the seemingly far-out elements of her novels
are based on real events (she was a journalist for many years). So, if the
story speaks, why pigeon-hole it as fictional, factual, etc.?
To answer Cal's inquiry, the Appalachian piece ended up as a technical
disaster, but I learned a lot about my social/human responsibilities as a
Carol Beck
Film Studies, Keene State College