Is documentary cinema connected to reality? And if it is, who has the right to define what a film should be made about, and in what way? In the context of state funding for patriotic cinema, a number of complex questions become urgent. Where is the boundary between documentary cinema and propaganda? Should the director intervene in what is happening in front of their camera? Where is the place of the documentary director in the system of coordinates between art and politics? Does manipulative documentary cinema exist, and how should we write about ‘useful’ films? Are there topics in history which do not lend themselves to unbiased filmmaking? And can we even talk about unbiased documentary cinema? These questions will be discussed by film critics from the US, Denmark, Spain and Ukraine at the roundtable.
Moderator: Daria Badyor, film critic and editor of the Culture section at LB.ua (Ukraine).
Jara Fernández-Meneses (Spain) researches Spanish and European film and cultural policies. She has published in Secuencias. Revista de Historia del Cine, Film Studies, Studies in European Cinemas and New Cinemas. Journal of Contemporary Film. She is currently working as the film programme coordinator at Cineteca (Madrid) and as a contributor to the specialist film magazine Caimán. Cuadernos de Cine.
Lauren Wissot (USA) is a film critic and journalist, filmmaker and programmer, and a contributing editor at both Filmmaker magazine and Documentary magazine. Her work can also be regularly read at Salon, Bitch, The Rumpus and Hammer to Nail. Currently, she serves as the international features programmer at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
Tue Steen Müller (Denmark) has worked with short and documentary films for over 20 years at the Danish Film Board. He has written articles for national and international newspapers and magazines, and co-founded the European Documentary Network. Tue has given documentary courses and seminars in more than 40 countries. He has his own website - together with his fellow Dane Allan Berg - where he posts documentary film news and reviews documentaries: www.filmkommentaren.dk.
Yulia Kovalenko (Ukraine) is a film critic and the managing director of the Cineticle online journal about auteur cinema. She worked as a programmer at the Inoteatr cinema in Odesa. In 2017, she defended her dissertation in cultural studies. She lives in Odesa, and teaches at the Department of Cultural Studies and Art Criticism at Odesa National Polytechnic University.
Header photo: “Almost 10.000 Voters” by Uliana Osovska