Reality-Based Filmmaking: Journalism and the New Documentary in the Twenty-First Century
The popularity of documentary film in the past ten years has skyrocketed, and recent award-winning documentaries like Inside Job (2010), The Cove (2009), and Super Size Me (2004) are simultaneously entertaining audiences and investigating serious issues like the financial collapse, dolphin hunting, and the fast food industry––issues that in the past might have been covered exclusively in investigative journalism. What explains the public’s growing fascination with documentary? How is documentary film reacting to recent transformations in the media landscape? Is it filling a critical need that journalism is no longer willing or able to meet?
This Mizzou Advantage project leverages key academic resources on campus as well as in the Columbia community to analyze the crossing boundaries between nonfiction storytelling forms, the appeal of advocacy in that storytelling and the cultural and ethical implications of journalism and documentary film’s convergence.
The project culminated in a successful conference, Based on a True Story: The Intersection of Documentary Film and Journalism February 29-March 2, 2012.
An interdisciplinary group of scholars at the University of Missouri––sponsored by the Mizzou Advantage program — partnered with the True/False Film Festival to bring dynamic groups of scholars, filmmakers, producers, and film critics to engage in a series of thoughtful and energetic discussions about the intersections of documentary film and journalism and the implications for America’s media of the future.
Panel discussions and Q&A sessions with renowned filmmakers, journalists and scholars analyzed the intersection of nonfiction storytelling forms, advocacy in that storytelling, and the cultural and ethical implications of the convergence between journalism and documentary film. Hosting the conference in conjunction with the popular True/False film festival heightenedMU’s visibility by establishing it as a center for research in this emerging area.
Media of the Future