Sheffield Doc/Fest Session: Dangerous Storytelling — Documentary Filmmaking and the Safety of Subjects

Talk Tuesday 9 June 2015, 10:15 AM

Sheffield Doc Fest

Heading to Sheffield Doc/Fest this year? Not only does the programme contain a fantastic selection of documentaries, but everyone with a full festival pass also has access to the diverse and inspiring conference programme. We have produced a conference session, Dangerous Storytelling: Documentary Filmmaking and the Safety of Subjects, which will place at the ITV Town Hall Council Chamber at 10:15 AM on Tuesday 9 June.

The relationship between filmmaker and subject is a topic hotly debated by film directors, academics, and journalists. Methods such as undercover filming, encrypted communication and Skype allow filmmakers to reach individuals who may otherwise be reluctant to speak or difficult to meet in person. However, unprecedented access to a compelling story can come with a risk to the individuals at the centre of the film. How can documentary makers without a journalism background practice safe investigative work? When the telling of a story has potential consequences, how can a filmmaker ensure the protection of their subjects? We will be joined by Orlando von Einsiedel, Kim Longinotto, Julianna Ruhfus, and Beadie Finzi to discuss circumstances in which the presence of a camera is risky business.

The panelists:

Beadie Finzi (Chair)
Beadie Finzi is one of the founding directors of BRITDOC, a non profit film foundation supported by Channel 4 Television, Ford Foundation and Bertha Foundation as well as a number of US and European foundations. Having worked in documentary for the past 20 years, Beadie is in heaven in her role at BRITDOC – whose mission is to befriend independent filmmakers, fund great films (120 to date), broker new partnerships, build new business models, share knowledge and develop audiences globally.

Kim Longinotto
Kim Longinotto is an award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker. Best known for her unobtrusive observational style and focus on female subjects crossing a multitude of international boundaries, Kim was the subject of a two-week career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2009 and was awarded the Inspiration Award by Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2010. She has directed 20 documentaries, a selection of which include Eat the Kimono (1989), Rock Wives (1996) Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007). Rough Aunties (2008) won the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. Her most recent films Pink Saris (2010) and Salma (2013) are set in India.

Orlando Von Einsiedel
2014 saw the completion of Orlando von Einsiedel’s debut feature length documentary, VIRUNGA, focusing on the conservation work of rangers within Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Winning 40 international awards, it showcases Orlando’s ability for drawing out intimate and personal stories in challenging locations. Orlando previously directed award-winning films spanning Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Arctic, covering a diverse range of stories. He has been nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Directors’ Guild of America Award, and an Independent Film Spirit Award.

Juliana Ruhfus
Juliana Ruhfus is the senior reporter for Al Jazeera’s ‘People & Power’ investigative and current affairs strand where she has worked since 2006, when her film on Liberian ex-combatants launched the channel’s programming content. Nearly 30 films later she has gone undercover in Turkmenistan and in Cambodian orphanages, produced the five part ‘Corporations on Trial’ series, and her two-part investigation into the trafficking of Nigerian women into the Italian sex-trade is one of the most-watched People & Power shows in its history. In 2010, she was awarded the Ochberg Fellowship, and in 2011 she received a scholarship for Harvard’s Global Trauma Program. She is currently on the European board of directors for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma. In 2003, and again in 2007/08, Juliana has also worked as an expert consultant for the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee monitoring violations of the arms embargo on Somalia.