What is your opinion on the truth in documentary movies? A producer told me that today it's very modern to make hybrid movies which have a documentary look and the main story is real, but part of the story is made up so that the movie looks better.

    Joke Tax

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    John P. Hess

    There really is no such thing as pure objectivity – everything is told through some lens intentional or not. The best you can do is try to present something from different viewpoints – different takes on a subject to get at the “truth”

    Now documentary filmmaking itself has always had a controversial time with the truth from one of the first documentaries Nanook of the North faking scenes to even Disney’s White Wilderness propogating the myth of lemming mass suicide. So really documentary filmmaking has never been as “truthful” as say Newsreel footage – but that’s not to say newsreels can’t easily be slanted.

    Now to get at what I think you’re driving at – there’s a massive grey area between what is acceptable as “creative license” – even omitting details in a story is a form of story manipulation – but omission is absolutely key for keeping a story engaging and focused. I’m not sure I could make a case for any “rule” as it’s all based on material and intent of the filmmaker.

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