Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor II
The ethics of documentaries and films and tv series based on true stories
For many people, true stories are far more compelling than fiction and so there is an ever growing market for documentaires and tv series based on true stories. However, there are some ethical considerations that need to be taken into account.
Firstly, when filming documentaires, do producers have an obligation to represent information as wholly and accurately as possible? We can see the simple of nature documentaries wherein the lion eats the zebra, but the event can be seen as either a victory or a defeat depending on whether the documentary focuses ont the lion or the zebra. Do those who make documentaries have a responsibility to represent both perspectives?
Secondly, what kind of obligations should be held in regards to the subject of a documentary or a film based on a true story? Especially in the case of a tragedy, it is possibly for filmmakers to take advantage of a person’s grief for the sake of the story.