SXSW Film 2014

Is it true? Is it safe?: Ethics in Interactive Doc

As interactivity become part of documentaries, especially web-native docs, old ethics issues get a new twist. How to ensure accuracy? Anonymity? How to assign authorship? Can you promise that no one will track back users' entries to them, or use big data to find them anyway? How much should you try to protect users against their own bad behavior? What’s inappropriate for your project? Learn from filmmakers and film strategists who’ve grappled with this, in projects as diverse as “How to Lose Your Virginity” (true--or are they?--stories of you know what); “The Interrupters” (how can user contributions to online memorials celebrate a life without triggering more violence?); “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” (can immigrants’ own stories get them in trouble?).

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  1. What ethical issues should I think about when I'm making web-native documentary?
  2. What ethical problems arose in online projects related to documentaries?
  3. What kind of trouble can I get into if I don't deal pro-actively with ethics?
  4. What do professionals do to resolve ethical issues in web-native documentary?
  5. What are great examples of successful approaches to managing ethical responsibilities in web-native documentary?



Patricia Aufderheide, Professor, American University

Meta Information:

  • Tags: documentary
  • Event: Film
  • Format: Conversation
  • Track: Documentary
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginning
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