Making (Ethical) Documentaries




Documentary is widely considered as a reliable medium, a genre which objectivity is often erroneously taken for granted. But as any other moving image production – if not even more so in this instance - documentary is indeed a highly problematic, biased means of representation, particularly when it comes to producing documentaries founded on a sensitive personal subjects, minorities or political issue. To socially ‘document’ a community, a situation, an event, is never a passive agency. It can portray both accurate along with misleading representation as much as it can ‘exploit’ or mutate the reality according to the production’s own purposes. But if accurately done, documentaries can be powerful tools for spreading social awareness, communicate messages and reveal unheard realities.
Chouette Films for instance - a green film production company - puts ethic as the first, vital requirement in their approach to documentary making. Mainly working for the public sector, charities and the academia, the production company’s politics is to provide an aware yet affordable service. Their aim is to produce an aesthetically engaging visual narrative that doesn’t compromise on the principles of a fair representation. Anna Sowa, co-founder of Chouette Films will discuss her experience as a documentary filmmaker while going through the questions on ethics, aesthetic and authenticity so fundamental when coming to documentary making.