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February 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 21 Feb 1993 18:26:38 EST
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On Sun, 21 Feb 1993 16:47:27 -0500 <[log in to unmask]> said:
>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.
I'd be interested to hear what it would take for one to consider a docu
project "a collaboration."  After all, the people who we are picturing are
really the "creators" of their lives; we're just by-standers.
One problem may be the way in which we conceive the people who are in the
documentary; they are "subjects" with all that the term implies.  We have
the power; they don't.  On occasion in Film Board of Canada projects the
crew from outside were at the disposal of the local population.  The locals
made the basic decisions about what to shoot and how the editing should
proceed.  The filmmakers were experts in what they were expert in while the
local population were the experts in what >they< were expert in -- their lives.
Easy-to-use camcorders may have relieved some of this problem, but not all
I suspect.  Footage shot by inexperienced people still looks like amateur
footage.  A true collaboration would enlist the skills and knowledge of
all parties.  Like it or not, we're messing with their lives.  Let those who
want to be "creative artists" create fictions and leave others to live their
lives as best they can.
Cal Pryluck, Radio-Television-Film, Temple University, Philadelphia
<[log in to unmask]>  <PRYLUCK@TEMPLEVM>