Reading Response #5 Mugnani

For this week, I chose to discuss “Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking.” In his piece, Nichols, after differentiating between documentaries of wish-fulfillment (typically fiction) and of social representation (typically non-fiction). Provides numerous case examples as to the importance of ethics in documentary film making and how the line of what’s acceptable is often tinkered with. In terms of class relation, we had a discussion with major relevance to this topic of film ethics as a whole after watching the documentary about the Unabomber. In the interview of Gary Greenberg, we saw a representation of him and his opinion of the Unabomber that was essentially created by the filmmaker. While he held controversial opinions, details like the cut and placement of certain phrases and facial expressions can lead one to think one thing or another about the statements that Greenberg made. The power of film, especially documentary is very powerful. As we saw in the case of the film that destroyed a small town in Spain’s economy due to its mockumentary-style depiction of their culture, producers have a great power in creating perspective in relation to the topics of their films and have to be careful how they go about doing that. In real world relation, I’m currently taking a business ethics class that covers very similar topics and has caused me to think about these ethical questions in film a bit more deeply. It makes me curious as to what kind of ethical standards large production companies have in place as opposed to independent filmmakers. I’ve attached an ethical decision-making model that is somewhat similar to the models we learn in the ethics class.