Capturing Reality 2

The NFB (National Film Board of Canada) production on the art of documentary, featuring 33 directors from 13 countries, are being used for debates among filmmakers and with the audience. Here is a quote from a Realscreen article illustrating the never-ending-discussion:

…One of the most conflicting sequences in the film concerned the ethics of documentary filmmaking and how much of a film can be scripted or pre-planned. For instance, in a segment about interviewing subjects, Nick Broomfield (photo) says that he sees a habit has formed with directors who come into subjects’ homes or workspaces and move around their furniture and light the space a certain way to get the optimum effect. While he thinks this is destroying their environment and essentially losing the truth in the situation, Errol Morris admits he’s done it and he stands behind it.

Likewise, director Barry Stevens uses Werner Herzog’s Little Dieter Needs to Fly as an example of fudging the truth. He says that Herzog asked his subject, a man who had been in the Navy, to open and close his front door a number of times to illustrate his need to feel like he’s not locked in. While Stevens says it made a strong image in the film, he also feels it wasn’t true. While some people might say ‘don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story,’ Stevens believes that when it comes to documentaries, you absolutely should let them get in the way…

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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