March 20, 2019, 12:31:05 PM

Author Topic: The Documentary Filmmaker  (Read 1244 times)


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The Documentary Filmmaker
« on: October 19, 2018, 07:58:32 PM »
"Anna Broinowski likens the role of the filmmaker to a con artist, using ‘slight of hand’ to trick the audience. Do you think this is true of the documentary filmmaker though?"

I believe the documentary filmmakers and audiences interpretation of 'slight of hand' is what decides if they are truly a con artist. Some argue that any edit to a documentary footage is a 'slight of hand'. I personally believe that a documentary filmmakers job is to create both an entertaining and educational piece for the audience. To accomplish this, edits are required! Just talking about a male lion and how it defends it's pride all in one, uninterrupted shot. Sure it may exist, but with male lions sleeping up to 20 hours a day, not likely.

Personally what I find to be a 'slight of hand' comes from Introduction to documentary (Bill Nichols, 2010) and that is:

"Is it all right to make Miss Michigan look foolish by asking for her opinion about local economic conditions in order to mock the irrelevance of beauty pageants to the damage caused by automotive plant shutdowns in Flint, as Michael Moore does in one scene from Roger and Me?"

I absolutely believe that asking that kind of question in a documentary to a surprised person is something a con artist would do. I would advertise for meetings or at the very least asking first if this is something they want to comment on. The reason for this is not everybody would have strong feels either for or against this sort of thing I surely don't have strong feelings towards everything that happens around me, but again maybe that's just me. Like I mentioned earlier, I believe everybody will have a different interpretation on if a documentary film makers is using 'slight of hand' tricks and all I can say is what I believe the 'slight of hand' tricks makes a documentary film maker a con artist.


Nichols, B. (2010). Introduction to documentary, second edition. Retrieved from

Myhrvold, N. (2018). LIONS: AFRICA'S MAGNIFICENT PREDATORS | Retrieved from