Perceived Ethical Conflicts in U.S. Documentary Filmmaking: A Field Report

22 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020

See all articles by Patricia Aufderheide

Patricia Aufderheide

American University - School of Communication

Date Written: October 2011

Abstract

The documentary genre in film makes distinctive claims to honesty and truth. While filmmakers do not promise objectivity and balance, and while they all recognize that all expression is crafted and not a simple mirror of reality, the form is defined by its claim to say something honestly about something that really happened. Filmmakers’ ethical judgments implicitly or explicitly revolve around this defining feature of the genre. (Aufderheide, 2007)

This article discusses the results of a study on how documentary filmmakers in the U.S. perceive what common ethical challenges are, and how these filmmakers commonly address those challenges in the absence of a formally articulated code of ethics or shared institutional regulations. Ethics is considered as the application of general moral precepts within professional practice.

Keywords: Documentary Film, Ethics

Suggested Citation

Aufderheide, Patricia, Perceived Ethical Conflicts in U.S. Documentary Filmmaking: A Field Report (October 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2119981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2119981

Patricia Aufderheide (Contact Author)

American University - School of Communication ( email )

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Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-885-2069 (Phone)

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